‘We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year” is undoubtedly the perfect CD for all the metal fans out there who also happen to be crazy about Christmas music. The title says it all, accurately describing the tone of the album. Fundamentally, it is a selection of classic Christmas songs remixed in the style of the metal genre.
The cover art of the CD case immediately grabs your attention with its images of skulls wearing Santa hats, you are certain to take a second glance. However, if the art does not lure you into purchasing the product, perhaps the names of the artists will.
Legends such as Alice Cooper, Ronnie James Dio and Lemmy Kilmister sing songs like ‘Run Rudolph Run,” ‘Santa Claws is Coming to Town” (no, that’s not a typo) and ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”
The opening song on the album, ‘We Wish You a Merry Xmas,” begins with soft harmonies mimicking the sound of a church choir. After about 15 seconds, a roaring electric guitar enters, revealing the true essence of the CD. A gruff soloist singing the melody replaces the previous harmony and proceeds to alternate lyrics between ‘We wish you a merry Christmas” and ‘We wish you a metal Christmas” for the remainder of the song.
One song that distinctly stands out from the others on the CD is ‘Santa Claws is Coming to Town.” Eerie sound effects at the beginning of the song evoke images of a formidable Santa emerging from the fog on Christmas Eve. Lyrics like ‘He knows where you live,” and
‘He knows that your window’s open” create a new image of Santa that most people are unfamiliar with. The menacing tone established in the beginning of the song carries throughout when Cooper eerily sings of children who will ‘build a toy town around the tree and then they’re gonna burn it down.”
Another song that especially displays the aspects of metal used in this album is ‘Silent Night.” Singer Chuck Billy produces a sound that resembles something between a scream and a belch, while simultaneously managing to keep some sense of pitch. It is ironically intimidating when he sings lyrics such as ‘Son of God, Love’s pure light” in a monstrous voice. The climax arrives when Billy puts extra emphasis on ‘Jesus, Lord at thy Birth,” spurring the tempo forward at a quicker pace until the end of the song.
Clearly, this is not the typical family friendly holiday CD. The artists take a great deal of artistic license, screaming lyrics when they feel it is appropriate, altering some lyrics, incorporating a guitar solo in every song and adding some minor tones periodically. In some instances, these adjustments make the songs seem better suited as Halloween carols rather than Christmas carols.
In general, with the exception of a few songs, I was surprised the album was not more intense. The cover and title of the album suggest that the music is nothing but metal. However, I found many of the compositions to be more subdued something I would classify as rock. Nevertheless, metal fans, and even some who despise metal, are sure to at least find this album amusing. It is worth listening to for an hour of entertainment and a nice change from the same old carols replayed on the radio this time of year.
Dickerson is a member of the class of 2012.