“Monster Ballads Xmas” by Various Artists

Artist: Various Artists
Title: “Monster Ballads Xmas”
Label: Razor & Tie Music
Release Date: 9/11/2007
Genre: Holiday Rock
Rating: 4/5

So you’ve outgrown your “Alvin & The Chipmunks Christmas” album and with age you were more inspired by the heavier side of things which makes a “Celine Dion Christmas” practically useless when you need a dose of holiday tunes with a little Metal edge to them. Well look no further boys and girls because the folks that gave us “Monster Ballads” have delivered a present wrapped in leather and spikes in the form of “Monster Ballads Xmas”. The premise is a whole lot of fun since it takes a number of the eighties Hard Rock heroes and lets them deliver the jingle and the jangle in a distinctive Metal fashion. It begins with Skid Row and while a couple of the lines are changed around the song is a quasi-Punk jam that was quite interesting and the perfect way to open the CD. Winger follows next with his rendition of John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)”, and I admit that I was hesitant at first but found the manner in which Kip and company did it to be a great success. I am sure John smiles from the beyond with how classy this one was done. Jani Lane’s contribution didn’t appeal to me much since it was very close to the way Twisted Sister did it on their full-length Christmas album and we get a sample of it next. Metal fans should look into that release as a must have for the Heavy Holidays without a doubt.

Some of the other highlights include great versions of time honored Christmas classics by Queensryche, Dokken and LA Guns; these three bands really surprised me with the manner in which they delved into the spirit of the season and the results were really good. We get to hear from Nelson which was a surprise and while the larger Metal audience sighs “who cares” at this aspect the brothers did a fair job of their contribution. I also liked that they included Stryper’s double bass pounding version of “Winter Wonderland” but was sad it was the live version as opposed to the studio version. Of course the entire release is not boughs of holly and there was bound to be a couple of pieces of coal in the stocking for those who have not been as good as they had thought. These lumps come in the way of the dreadful rendition of “Silent Night” by Faster Pussycat, which sounds more along the lines of Marilyn Manson than the lively sound that they usually have and then a lazy croon by New Wave Punk’s Billy Idol. If “Christmas Love” is how the rest of the album sounds then I am not too sure that I want to hear it.

Overall this is a lot of fun and would make the perfect addition to any rockers holiday gift list. There are more hits than misses available so when you are not kissing under the Mistletoe while Cinderella plays “Blue Christmas” you can get to “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” with Firehouse. If a lump of coal comes on or just a track you are not too fond of use the time to write some holiday emails or perhaps get another glass of eggnog. My hope is that this is only the first of such compilations since it worked rather well when it came down to it and definitely could merit a second and third part should the songs that work best exist for use. Have a Happy Holiday and a Metal New Year……….

Track Listing:
1. Jingle Bells – Skid Row
2. Happy Christmas (Was Is Over) – Winger
3. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Jani Lane of Warrant
4. I’ll Be Home For Christmas – Twisted Sister & Lita Ford
5. White Christmas – Queensryche
6. Run Rudolph Run – LA Guns
7. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree – Firehouse
8. Naughty, Naughty Christmas – Danger Danger
9. Blue Christmas – Tom Kiefer of Cinderella
10. Jingle Bell Rock – Nelson
11. Silent Night – Faster Pussycat
12. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Dokken
13. Happy Holiday – Enuff Z’Nuff
14. Winter Wonderland – Stryper
15. Christmas Love – Billy Idol

Official Website: http://www.razorandtie.com

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