“We Wish You A Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year” by Various Artists

Artist: Various Artists
Title: “We Wish You A Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year”
Label: Armoury Records
Release Date: 10/13/2008
Genre: Holiday Metal
Rating: 4/5

I’ve been a fan of the holiday juggernaut that is the Trans-Siberian Orchestra for several years now, but there was no way that my experience with that would have prepared me for how Twisted Sister would deliver their “Twisted Christmas” release. I bring them up as it originally hit me as one of the most absurd items in reviews to do pile but after several listens I found myself intrigued at just how well the conventional Metal vibe worked when crafted together with Holiday classics that they chose. It was an album that left you hungry for more and that made the arrival of the “We Wish You A Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year” release something I was eager to dig into. The players on this one are as vast as the Metal genre itself and as result finds legends like Alice Cooper and Ronnie James Dio performing along with the likes of diverse quality players like Steve Lukather and Ray Luzier and many, many more. The vibe of this release is rather heavy which was good and I admit it that it almost felt like a Motorhead track when Lemmy gave it a go at “Run Rudolph Run”. Shock master Alice Cooper and John 5 delivered the creepiest “Santa Claws Is Coming To Town” I’ve ever heard and believe me at the end of this one, the fact that he knows when you are sleeping and knows when you are awake will scare the Charles Dickens out of you. Winners come shining through during a few numbers like “Silver Bells” which has a powerful modern Metal drive to it and Geoff Tate singing and I felt the same way about the albums opening title track that gave us the magical voice of Jeff Scott Soto, a singer I have always been able to enjoy. Dio is at his ominous best with Mr. Iommi and company for “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and the best way to describe this one is as imagine the band Heaven And Hell doing the track. Weird huh, but it does work on some levels. I had to say that I was put off by the Death Metal growls of Chuck Billy and Thrash treatment given to “Silent Night”, as this is a track that I like to much to see given such a reworking. Of course there are some who might enjoy the chance to finally hit the circle pit to this one, so here you go folks. Former Judas Priest/Iced Earth front man extraordinaire Tim Owens hits it out of the park with “Santa Claus Is Back In Town” and he sounds like he is having a blast and the same can be said for King’s X vocalist Dug Pinnick during “Little Drummer Boy”.

It wouldn’t be fair for me to ruin every single surprise on the album so I shall leave the remaining tracks to your own surprise as you unwrap this present with glee after you taking it from the spiked leather stocking that is hanging on your mantle. It does end with a rousing rendition of John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” and I love this tune and felt the guitarist/singer did a fantastic job of it. He is joined by Toto’s own Steve Lukather who can deliver the goods in any situation it seems. This fun release comes with a booklet loaded with photos of the cast who delivers it but no real liner notes. There is a slip-case cover for it that is adorned with Santa Claus hat wearing skulls and it doesn’t get much more Metal than that. If you enjoyed what Twisted Sister left under the tree for the last holiday then I am pretty certain that this holiday headbanging treat will be just the kick that your eggnog needs.

The Players: “We Wish You A Merry Xmas” (Jeff Scott Soto, Bruce Kulick, Bob Kulick, Chris Wyse, Ray Luzier); “Run Rudolph Run” (Lemmy Kilmister, Billy E. Gibbons, Dave Grohl); “Santa Claws Is Coming To Town” (Alice Cooper, John 5, Billy Sheehan, Vinny Appice); “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” (Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Rudy Sarzo, Simon Wright); “Silver Bells” (Geoff Tate, Carlos Cavazo, James Lomenzo, Ray Luzier); “Little Drummer Boy” (Dug Pinnick, George Lynch, Billy Sheehan, Simon Phillips); “Santa Claus Is Back In Town” (Tim “Ripper” Owens, Steve Morse, Juan Garcia, Marco Mendoza, Vinny Appice); “Silent Night” (Chuck Billy, Scott Ian, Jon Donais, Chris Wyse, John Tempesta); “Deck The Halls” (Oni Logan, Craig Goldy, Tony Franklin, John Tempesta); “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” (Stephen Pearcy, Tracii Guns, Bob Kulick, Billy Sheehan, Greg Bisonette); “Rockin’ Around The Xmas Tree” (Joe Lynn Turner, Bruce Kulick, Bob Kulick, Rudy Sarzo, Simon Wright); “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” (Tommy Shaw, Steve Lukather, Marco Mendoza, Kenny Aronoff).

Track Listing:
1. We Wish You A Merry Xmas
2. Run Rudolph Run
3. Santa Claws Is Coming To Town
4. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
5. Silver Bells
6. Little Drummer Boy
7. Santa Claus Is Back In Town
8. Silent Night
9. Deck The Halls
10. Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer
11. Rockin’ Around The Xmas Tree
12. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

Official Website: http://www.myspace.com/metalchristmas

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