While holiday traditionalists cozy up to their TV sets to watch It’s a Wonderful Life or adorn trees with a bevy of tastefully coordinated ornaments, there’s an oft-forgotten section of the population out there who have chosen a very distinct way of celebrating the holiday season. Instead of opting for that dusty ol’ LP from Bing Crosby & The Andrew Sisters, these rare specimens reach for their own Flying Vs to provide the soundtrack.
Even Santa isn’t injecting the right dose of brutality to Xmas, so they would rather call upon Eddie The Head or – oddly enough – Charlie Brown. These novel practices indicate that the rock and heavy metal community continues to think outside the box to reinvent the holidays in a way that only riff devotees can.
Ultimate-Guitar.com has been scouring the web for the past few weeks in search of some of the most unique and jaw-dropping metal twists on Xmas out there. We didn’t quite realize just how important it is for some of you to include KISS or mosh pits into your holiday ritual. You may already be familiar with a few of our finds (“Raining Blood” light show, anyone?), but there are plenty floating around that were hidden treasures – and some that need to remain hidden for a long, long time. The UG community is encouraged to suggest their own ways of transforming Xmas into a holiday that the late, great Dimebag Darrell would raise a glass of his Black Tooth Grin to in honor. Our hope? That someone, somewhere out there has crafted a tree topper in the shape of a miniature, devil horns-brandishing Ronnie James Dio. Make our Xmas wish true. In the meantime, at least we’ve got the gift that keeps on giving: a Slayer light show.
This is the clip that has been cycled and recycled around the Internet for the past few months – and with good reason. The Slayer fan to end all Slayer fans used Lightorama Controller to synchronize his traditional house Xmas lights to Slayer’s “Raining Blood.” On the YouTube link he declares that the whole process “took a long time to do.” It undoubtedly did, but considering it’s one of the most watched Xmas clips for 2010 – metal-themed or otherwise – we plan on making the “Slayer Christmas Lights Lightorama” video a part of our holiday ritual.
Party Like It Was 1987: Jib Jab’s “Holiday Rock” E-Card
The Xmas videos are aplenty thanks to the monstrous power of YouTube, but there aren’t that many that have the interactive touch. Jib Jab, the digital entertainment studio most well known for its flash movies during the George W. Bush era, is giving us all a chance to live out our hair metal rock dreams via a “Holiday Rock” video. You have the option of uploading photos of one to five people, whose faces will then be inserted into big-haired, marionette-looking rockers that perform amped up versions of “Jingle Bells” and “Deck The Halls.” Cheesy? Yes. Oddly satisfying? Extremely.
Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!
From The “You Must Really Enjoy Video Games” File: “Christmas Light Hero”
Featuring a pretty adorable, shades-wearing kid bundled up in his coat and ready to rock out, the “Christmas Light Hero” could be considered the family-friendly, rock-themed Xmas light show. According to “kumbaric,” the YouTube user that posted the clip, you can actually play along to the Guitar Hero light show with a Wii wireless controller. Granted, the “Christmas Light Hero” version seems to be only workable on the Easy level (kudos, though, for the Eric Johnson “Cliffs of Dover” track), but the construction is still an impressive feat. Next year we’re hoping that kid in the video throws his hat in the ring to play “Though The Fire And Flames” – on Expert, of course.
There’s A Holiday Keepsake For Every Floyd Fan: The Pink Floyd Christmas Stocking
While holidays can be somewhat divisive in terms of religion, we learned via the site Cafe Press that the power of rock knows no creed. Well, at least if you’re into Gilmour and Waters. There’s a fairly open market on Cafe Press, which gives the public an opportunity to make/sell/buy unique t-shirts and gifts. The item that caught our eye? A Pink Floyd Xmas stocking. What’s so unusual about that, you may ask? Well, “Pink Floyd” is written in Hebrew. The maker gets an “A” for originality, but with no graphics and stark white coloring the execution doesn’t necessarily conjure up holiday spirit of any kind. Work in some imagery from The Wall and we may not only take notice, that wacky stocking may just be deemed our favorite mantel centerpiece.
Snoopy Turns It Up To 11: “A Charlie Brown Heavy Metal Christmas”
Peanuts’ purists will be calling blasphemy on this clip, but we have to admit the mash-up works oddly well. A Charlie Brown Christmas suddenly takes a turn for the louder/angrier when the Tourniquet song “Perfect Night For A Hanging” replaces the usual dialogue during the band rehearsal scene. Even more disturbing – and oddly appropriate – is the fact that little Lucy is given the duty of taking on the manly, gruff vocals. The song has Christian themes (the hanged man refers to Judas Iscariot), but the lyrics take a backseat to the spectacle of Linus seemingly moshing and Pig Pen banging the holy hell out of his upright bass.
A Holiday Song For The Next Generation: Corey Taylor’s “X-M@$”
Are you sick of radio stations regurgitating version after version of that tired ol’ “Jingle Bells” If so, we must immediately advise you to stream the latest holiday offering, courtesy of none other than Slipknot/Stone Sour vocalist Corey Taylor. Don’t expect too much talk about snow dashing in this one,” as Taylor’s track “X-M@$” is the epitome of any anti-holiday track. All you cynics should take twisted delight in lyrics such as: “If I ain't drunk then it ain't Christmas; You know where to stick those jingle bells; If I ain't hammered it ain't Hanukkah; And all you motherfuckers go to hell.” We can’t wait to see the light show to accompany this one.
Gene Simons Is A Xmas Angel: “Merry KISSmas 2009”
Back in 1976 photographer Neal Preston captured KISS as the lithe Xmas spirits that they are…well, were. The shoot was originally for a mock Xmas chard to be published in Creem Magazine, but KISS fans like YouTube user Nick Diaz doesn’t want it to be forgotten in the annals of Gene Simmons’ colorful history. “Merry KISSmas 2009” features photos from the 1976 Preston shoot, all set to the soundtrack of “When You Wish Upon A Star” (taken from Gene Simmons’ 1978 solo record).
Not Your Parents’ Xmas Tree: Rock and Heavy Metal Ornaments
If an airy KISS tribute video doesn’t do it for you, may we suggest a KISS Demon and/or Star Boots ornament? Culturally savvy artists and designers are finally realizing that Xmas trees can get saturated with toy soldiers, angels, and snowmen ornaments. You can almost hear them now: “What could this beautiful fir use? Of course. A miniature version of Zakk Wylde’s Bullseye Les Paul!” Squidoo.com has links to that ornament and plenty of decorative instruments, including a red Warlock, a cherry red Stratocaster, and even a few drum models. We give the company bonus points for including a Razor in honor of Dimebag.
Anatomical Organs Make For Great Christmas Lyrics: “The 12 Days of Metal Christmas”
It’s been pleasing to hear so many metal bands take on traditional holiday songs over the past few years, with the record We Wish You A Merry Xmas…And A Headbanging New Year! featuring heavy hitters like Lemmy, Alice Cooper, and Ronnie James Dio. The site Metal Injection brought a bit more edge to the classic ”The 12 Years of Christmas” when it rounded up artists like Guy Kozowyk from The Red Chord, Cory Brandan of Norma Jean, Oderus from Gwar, and Jib Jab-like caricature versions of Axl Rose and James Hetfield. With the addition of lyrics about rusty knives going through spleens, we give you the newest Xmas treasure: “The 12 Metal Days of Christmas”.
A Xmas Card Your Grandma Will Never Forget: “Little Dead Girl”
Your mom may have preached the importance of sending out Xmas cards, but it’s hard to get excited about snow-laced landscapes and roaring fireplaces on the cover year after year. If you’re looking for a card that resembles something you might see on a King Diamond album cover, check out the “Little Dead Girl Christmas Card” on Zazzle.com. Donning the cover is doll-like figure with a skeletal facade, while the inside reads like a King Diamond lyric: “Does Santa bring toys to dead boys and girls?” How can mom not love that?
Dave Demands Holiday Spirit: “Megadeth Xmas Card Contest”
One of our favorite traditions has been Iron Maiden’s annual Xmas card contest, but for whatever reason the competition seems to be MIA in 2010. Luckily the boys in Megadeth have picked up the slack over the past few years and once again have looked to their fans to generate some ingenuity this season. Last year’s winner morphed Vic Rattlehead into a jolly, weapon-toting St. Nick. At the time of this article the 2010 winner had not yet been announced, but his or her Xmas morning will be graced with a phone call from one Mr. Dave Mustaine.
Yuletide Zeppelin I
Mashups have made fairly common appearances on sites like YouTube, but to find quality ones is often a chore. We came across one particular video that put us in the holiday spirit – and reinforced the awesomeness of Jimmy Page – all at the same time. “Yuletide Zeppelin” mashes a variety of classic Zeppelin cuts with holiday standards, with the “Kashmir”/”Jingle Bells” hybrid being a must-listen moment.
And last but not least we commend those who aren’t afraid to display their Xmas metal pride outside of the world of YouTube or their general neighboring community for that matter. SantaMosh.com is exactly what it sounds like: a group that gives Santa the opportunity to mosh in very public places. Victory Records spearheaded the project, which targets subways, parks, and pretty much anywhere else as potential mosh location sites. SantaMosh.com has come a long way since its debut video (most of the moshing on that video was done in front of a green screen), and we can only imagine what it will have in store for innocent bystanders next year. Possibly a flash mosh mob? The Xmas spirit can shape in all forms – even a spastic, potentially violent, arm-flinging Santa.