We Wish You A Metal Xmas And A Headbanging New Year review by Various

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  • Released: Oct 13, 2008
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.1 (45 votes)
Various: We Wish You A Metal Xmas And A Headbanging New Year
9

Sound — 9
After seeing one too many Clay Aiken or Celine Dion Christmas albums staring at me in Best Buy, I've become a little leery of any contemporary holiday record in the past. These particular types of releases tend to scream commercialism and the producers do very little to bring anything new to standard carols. Well, that was until We Wish You A Metal Xmas And A Headbanging New Year came to my attention. My gut reaction was too be scared by what might pour of my speakers, but this Christmas album was not only far from a disappointment, it's possibly one of the most satisfying surprises of 2008. With a guest list that includes some of the most iconic names in rock (Tony Iommi, Steve Morse, Lemmy Kilmister, and Alice Cooper among others), each track on We Wish You A Metal Xmas is a distinct entity that completely fits the players behind it.

Twisted Sister's 2006 album A Twisted Christmas undoubtedly had a hand in inspiring We Wish You A Metal Xmas, and Dee Snider's spin on carols was a fun listen in its own right. I wouldn't go so far as to say that We Wish You A Metal Xmas takes itself terribly seriously, but good Lord, a lot of time was spent in the arrangements. With such musical dynamos as Billy Sheehan, John 5, and George Lynch lending their talents to the songs, the album is both technically impressive and, more importantly, filled with grooving hooks and jaw-dropping solos. There are some tracks that are more impressive than others (usually the result of whoever is on vocals), but as novelty albums go, We Wish You A Metal Xmas is a solid offering.

The highlight of the CD is easily God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, performed by Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Rudy Sarzo, and Simon Wright. You can tell that it's the English traditional underneath it all, but the band completely transforms the song to sound like something from the heyday of Black Sabbath. The lead riff is dark and foreboding, oozing Iommi's brilliance all over the place. Of course, Dio sounds as good as he did on Holy Diver and provides the track with a larger-than-life narrative.

Alice Cooper's take on Santa Claws Is Coming To Town (yes, Claws) is morphed into more of a nightmarish soundscape, particularly in the introduction. Although the song does tend to take a turn for the more traditional version during the middle, guitarist John 5 provides enough crazy solo work to keep your attention. Queensryche's Geoff Tate ably delivers a sped-up, metalized Silver Bells, while Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmister opts for a straightforward, Chuck Berry-ish Run Rudolph Run (with Dave Grohl and Billy F. Gibbons). Providing the only ballad of the bunch is Tommy Shaw with Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (backed by Steve Lukather, Marco Mendoza, and Kenny Aronoff), and it's a respectful and impressive version of the John Lennon classic.

Each song conforms to the players' own styles, and usually that produces stellar resultsat least most of the time. Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer has always been good, cheesy fun, but it tends to get a tad drawn out with Ratt's Stephen Pearcy on vocals. While the guitars sound great thanks to the gritty Les Paul work of Tracii Guns, Pearcy basically just talks more than anything and it tends to get a bit dull after awhile - especially considering it follows Oni Logan's brilliant vocal work on Deck The Halls.

Lyrics — 10
There are no original compositions on We Wish You A Metal Xmas, which is probably for the best. These days contemporary artists tend to sound either overly preachy or cheesy when put in charge of writing a holiday song. In any case, you'll likely recognize all of the tracks, which include a good mix of religious and secular holiday songs.

Overall Impression — 9
Some listeners will immediately feel uncomfortable in hearing respected metal musicians take on tunes that everyone from Pat Boone to John Denver has tackled in the past. It's better to just listen to We Wish You A Metal Xmas with a completely open mind, and I can promise you that at the very least you'll be left impressed by the amazing guitar work. And I don't just mean the solos - these musicians took a lot of effort to take tired songs and inject them with some fresh, new ideas underneath the choruses and verses. The concept could have fallen flat with a bad batch of musicians, but it's very hard to go wrong when you've got the likes of Dave Grohl and Tony Iommi on board.

75 comments sorted by best / new / date

    evertonianBG
    esyrnyk wrote: How come Slipknot or Rob Zombie didn't get put in there, that would be f**king hilarious
    Why would they want to ruin that album ?
    HardRockKid
    silent night is so amazing the vocals are more humourus than anything but the instramentation is amazing scott ian is amazing on rythym and the song is morphed for a slow symphony like ballad to a trash metal joy ride.
    lyonk55
    Why is everythig on here about metal reduced to an argument about metalcore and nu metal? It's all metal of some kind whether you like it or not. Anyway, haven't heard it, but it sounds like a good idea!
    MYGeR
    Unforgiven87 wrote: esyrnyk wrote: elprimodejesus wrote: thereverendsoup wrote: Limp Bizkit and Trixter were metal...just not necessarily good. Except that it's not at all like saying Cynic is terrible jazz with metal influence. Metalcore came out of the hardcore scene. Not the metal scene, which has largely rejected it, just like they generally rejected nu-metal and hair metal. It takes more influence from 90's hardcore and emo than from actual metal. For example, breakdowns as they're used in metalcore are an exaggerated form of something that's been done since about the early 80's in hardcore, and metal influence in hardcore has been around since bands like Bad Brains, Reagan Youth, Nausea, and many, many others were doing it at about the same time period (and for the record, no one called any of these bands metal bands). The haircuts came from the San Diego scene that spawned bands like Swing Kids (whose members you might know from bands like The Locust, Holy Molar, Some Girls, and a lot of other bands). As for the metal influence as it's currently used, that comes from mathcore bands, like Botch and Converge and from hardcore bands like Heroin, Angel Hair, pg.99, and Orchid. My point is, metalcore just incorporates metal into hardcore much like Cynic incorporates jazz into metal. There is very little actual connection between metalcore and metal. Limp Bizkit is nu-metal. A style that combined hardcore, hip-hop, and very small amounts of metal into something that's about as false as it gets. Trixter is hair metal, which is essentially power pop with metal influence. Not metal. Except for the fact that this does not apply to all bands. As I Lay Dying's Nick Hipa is a metalhead, but he grew up around the hardcore scene so he incorporates both elements into his music, but it's obvious that the metal prevails. Given that there are "hardcore bands playing metal" like Hatebreed and Converge, there a plenty (if not more) of "metal bands playing hardcore" such as Unearth, As I Lay Dying, Lamb of God, Shadows Fall, Through the Eyes of the Dead (deathcore but no big difference), and All That Remains. The main influence on the majority of metalcore bands is metal, so therefore metalcore is metal, just with an American twist. you guys must have a shitload of spare time if you decide to spend it writing big long quotes and shit like this, piece of advice for you, don't, people like myself will start thinking you have no life you must have a shitload of time to read said quotes, then post your own quote in response to those quotes. and yes i have alot of time on my hands at the moment cause its the ****ing holidays =D
    I LOVE quotes ! And amazing album... "Santa claws is coming to tooooowwwwn hahaha"
    elprimodejesus
    Unforgiven87 wrote: you must have a shitload of time to read said quotes, then post your own quote in response to those quotes. and yes i have alot of time on my hands at the moment cause its the ****ing holidays =D
    Body-M
    wtf , where's the classic Jingle Bells ...anyway awesome album , good work
    Toxtoth_O_Grady
    elprimodejesus wrote: thereverendsoup wrote: elprimodejesus wrote: -100 metalcore a.k.a hardcore metal is metal No, it's not. It's generally just terrible hardcore with metal influence. Saying that stuff is "metal" is like saying Limp Bizkit and Trixter were "metal." That's like saying Cynic is just terrible jazz with metal influence (which is not true of course).
    When they just terrible, right.
    Mushroom08
    You two guys definitely need girlfriends.
    hi 5!!!! haha.. im sick of the fights with people and all diffrent subgenres of metal.. ITS ALL METAL! get over it -_-
    Unforgiven87
    esyrnyk wrote: elprimodejesus wrote: thereverendsoup wrote: Limp Bizkit and Trixter were metal...just not necessarily good. Except that it's not at all like saying Cynic is terrible jazz with metal influence. Metalcore came out of the hardcore scene. Not the metal scene, which has largely rejected it, just like they generally rejected nu-metal and hair metal. It takes more influence from 90's hardcore and emo than from actual metal. For example, breakdowns as they're used in metalcore are an exaggerated form of something that's been done since about the early 80's in hardcore, and metal influence in hardcore has been around since bands like Bad Brains, Reagan Youth, Nausea, and many, many others were doing it at about the same time period (and for the record, no one called any of these bands metal bands). The haircuts came from the San Diego scene that spawned bands like Swing Kids (whose members you might know from bands like The Locust, Holy Molar, Some Girls, and a lot of other bands). As for the metal influence as it's currently used, that comes from mathcore bands, like Botch and Converge and from hardcore bands like Heroin, Angel Hair, pg.99, and Orchid. My point is, metalcore just incorporates metal into hardcore much like Cynic incorporates jazz into metal. There is very little actual connection between metalcore and metal. Limp Bizkit is nu-metal. A style that combined hardcore, hip-hop, and very small amounts of metal into something that's about as false as it gets. Trixter is hair metal, which is essentially power pop with metal influence. Not metal. Except for the fact that this does not apply to all bands. As I Lay Dying's Nick Hipa is a metalhead, but he grew up around the hardcore scene so he incorporates both elements into his music, but it's obvious that the metal prevails. Given that there are "hardcore bands playing metal" like Hatebreed and Converge, there a plenty (if not more) of "metal bands playing hardcore" such as Unearth, As I Lay Dying, Lamb of God, Shadows Fall, Through the Eyes of the Dead (deathcore but no big difference), and All That Remains. The main influence on the majority of metalcore bands is metal, so therefore metalcore is metal, just with an American twist. you guys must have a shitload of spare time if you decide to spend it writing big long quotes and shit like this, piece of advice for you, don't, people like myself will start thinking you have no life
    you must have a shitload of time to read said quotes, then post your own quote in response to those quotes. and yes i have alot of time on my hands at the moment cause its the ****ing holidays =D
    Unforgiven87
    SkyValley wrote: Pretty cool but they shoulda called it CHRISTMASSACRE
    lol, good call. they could classify it as a new subgenre of metal, christmascore or something lol, santacore
    rafa7008
    h3llh4mm3r wrote: elprimodejesus wrote: thereverendsoup wrote: Limp Bizkit and Trixter were metal...just not necessarily good. Except that it's not at all like saying Cynic is terrible jazz with metal influence. Metalcore came out of the hardcore scene. Not the metal scene, which has largely rejected it, just like they generally rejected nu-metal and hair metal. It takes more influence from 90's hardcore and emo than from actual metal. For example, breakdowns as they're used in metalcore are an exaggerated form of something that's been done since about the early 80's in hardcore, and metal influence in hardcore has been around since bands like Bad Brains, Reagan Youth, Nausea, and many, many others were doing it at about the same time period (and for the record, no one called any of these bands metal bands). The haircuts came from the San Diego scene that spawned bands like Swing Kids (whose members you might know from bands like The Locust, Holy Molar, Some Girls, and a lot of other bands). As for the metal influence as it's currently used, that comes from mathcore bands, like Botch and Converge and from hardcore bands like Heroin, Angel Hair, pg.99, and Orchid. My point is, metalcore just incorporates metal into hardcore much like Cynic incorporates jazz into metal. There is very little actual connection between metalcore and metal. Limp Bizkit is nu-metal. A style that combined hardcore, hip-hop, and very small amounts of metal into something that's about as false as it gets. Trixter is hair metal, which is essentially power pop with metal influence. Not metal. Except for the fact that this does not apply to all bands. As I Lay Dying's Nick Hipa is a metalhead, but he grew up around the hardcore scene so he incorporates both elements into his music, but it's obvious that the metal prevails. Given that there are "hardcore bands playing metal" like Hatebreed and Converge, there a plenty (if not more) of "metal bands playing hardcore" such as Unearth, As I Lay Dying, Lamb of God, Shadows Fall, Through the Eyes of the Dead (deathcore but no big difference), and All That Remains. The main influence on the majority of metalcore bands is metal, so therefore metalcore is metal, just with an American twist. You two guys definitely need girlfriends.
    I lol'd
    h3llh4mm3r
    Pukka-VCU wrote: electricwizard_ wrote: i actually grew out of metal like a year ago Who in the **** grows out of metal.... You were never a metalhead to begin with, don't lie.
    Agreed. Metal is not a disease that needs to get cured.
    h3llh4mm3r
    elprimodejesus wrote: thereverendsoup wrote: Limp Bizkit and Trixter were metal...just not necessarily good. Except that it's not at all like saying Cynic is terrible jazz with metal influence. Metalcore came out of the hardcore scene. Not the metal scene, which has largely rejected it, just like they generally rejected nu-metal and hair metal. It takes more influence from 90's hardcore and emo than from actual metal. For example, breakdowns as they're used in metalcore are an exaggerated form of something that's been done since about the early 80's in hardcore, and metal influence in hardcore has been around since bands like Bad Brains, Reagan Youth, Nausea, and many, many others were doing it at about the same time period (and for the record, no one called any of these bands metal bands). The haircuts came from the San Diego scene that spawned bands like Swing Kids (whose members you might know from bands like The Locust, Holy Molar, Some Girls, and a lot of other bands). As for the metal influence as it's currently used, that comes from mathcore bands, like Botch and Converge and from hardcore bands like Heroin, Angel Hair, pg.99, and Orchid. My point is, metalcore just incorporates metal into hardcore much like Cynic incorporates jazz into metal. There is very little actual connection between metalcore and metal. Limp Bizkit is nu-metal. A style that combined hardcore, hip-hop, and very small amounts of metal into something that's about as false as it gets. Trixter is hair metal, which is essentially power pop with metal influence. Not metal. Except for the fact that this does not apply to all bands. As I Lay Dying's Nick Hipa is a metalhead, but he grew up around the hardcore scene so he incorporates both elements into his music, but it's obvious that the metal prevails. Given that there are "hardcore bands playing metal" like Hatebreed and Converge, there a plenty (if not more) of "metal bands playing hardcore" such as Unearth, As I Lay Dying, Lamb of God, Shadows Fall, Through the Eyes of the Dead (deathcore but no big difference), and All That Remains. The main influence on the majority of metalcore bands is metal, so therefore metalcore is metal, just with an American twist.
    You two guys definitely need girlfriends.
    Pukka-VCU
    electricwizard_ wrote: i actually grew out of metal like a year ago
    Who in the **** grows out of metal.... You were never a metalhead to begin with, don't lie.
    guitarfreak222
    elprimodejesus wrote: thereverendsoup wrote: Limp Bizkit and Trixter were metal...just not necessarily good. Except that it's not at all like saying Cynic is terrible jazz with metal influence. Metalcore came out of the hardcore scene. Not the metal scene, which has largely rejected it, just like they generally rejected nu-metal and hair metal. It takes more influence from 90's hardcore and emo than from actual metal. For example, breakdowns as they're used in metalcore are an exaggerated form of something that's been done since about the early 80's in hardcore, and metal influence in hardcore has been around since bands like Bad Brains, Reagan Youth, Nausea, and many, many others were doing it at about the same time period (and for the record, no one called any of these bands metal bands). The haircuts came from the San Diego scene that spawned bands like Swing Kids (whose members you might know from bands like The Locust, Holy Molar, Some Girls, and a lot of other bands). As for the metal influence as it's currently used, that comes from mathcore bands, like Botch and Converge and from hardcore bands like Heroin, Angel Hair, pg.99, and Orchid. My point is, metalcore just incorporates metal into hardcore much like Cynic incorporates jazz into metal. There is very little actual connection between metalcore and metal. Limp Bizkit is nu-metal. A style that combined hardcore, hip-hop, and very small amounts of metal into something that's about as false as it gets. Trixter is hair metal, which is essentially power pop with metal influence. Not metal. Except for the fact that this does not apply to all bands. As I Lay Dying's Nick Hipa is a metalhead, but he grew up around the hardcore scene so he incorporates both elements into his music, but it's obvious that the metal prevails. Given that there are "hardcore bands playing metal" like Hatebreed and Converge, there a plenty (if not more) of "metal bands playing hardcore" such as Unearth, As I Lay Dying, Lamb of God, Shadows Fall, Through the Eyes of the Dead (deathcore but no big difference), and All That Remains. The main influence on the majority of metalcore bands is metal, so therefore metalcore is metal, just with an American twist.
    WITH AN AMERICAN TWIST? MY GOD YOU AMERICANS ARE SO UP YOURSELVES, THERE ARE METALCORE BANDS WHO ARENT AMERICAN. PARKWAY DRIVE, I KILLED THE PROM QUEEN AND BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE ARE METALCORE AND NONE OF THEM ARE FROM AMERICA..
    esyrnyk
    How come Slipknot or Rob Zombie didn't get put in there, that would be f**king hilarious
    b4t3man
    I remember reading about this album in MetalHammer. I was a bit wary but I think I might purchase it now.
    irving297
    its suprisingly awesome "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" sounds god-like. "Silent Night" is pure evil.
    tedstigers
    It is actually pretty good. "Little Drummer Boy" is awesome, and several of the songs will be instant favorites. The production is really good too!
    XxPreisserxX
    MetalUpYourRear wrote: protesthehero wrote: no august burns red? their carol of the bells song or whatever is pretty damn metal. .....WHAT?!?! August Burns Red is nowhere near metal enough to be even considered for an album alongside Ronnie James Dio, Geoff Tate, and Jeff Scott Soto!!!! What the hell are you thinking?!?!?!?!
    Dude, first hear the song and then give your opinion, I heard that song and It's great, It's all instrumental so even if you're one of who don't like hardcore scream or lows, you can still love that song.
    AJRAD
    LazyLatinoRocke wrote: irving297"Silent Night" is pure evil.The title makes me think of Silent Night, Bodom Night.
    so im not the only one
    DukeFame
    So far it seems I'm the only one that feels this is lame.Christmas songs are lame, both musically and lyrically. The last thing i need to hear is "metal" songs about Christ which is totally un-metal anyway.All around bad idea .
    raj_j_i
    I wish King Diamond's 'No Presents For Christmas' was on this. That would have made it both funny and metal!
    benjaminr
    PsYkO_kiLLa90 wrote: how do you have a metal christmas? isnt metal like anti-christmas?
    Obviously not familiar with "Christmas with the Devil"
    esyrnyk
    elprimodejesus wrote: thereverendsoup wrote: Limp Bizkit and Trixter were metal...just not necessarily good. Except that it's not at all like saying Cynic is terrible jazz with metal influence. Metalcore came out of the hardcore scene. Not the metal scene, which has largely rejected it, just like they generally rejected nu-metal and hair metal. It takes more influence from 90's hardcore and emo than from actual metal. For example, breakdowns as they're used in metalcore are an exaggerated form of something that's been done since about the early 80's in hardcore, and metal influence in hardcore has been around since bands like Bad Brains, Reagan Youth, Nausea, and many, many others were doing it at about the same time period (and for the record, no one called any of these bands metal bands). The haircuts came from the San Diego scene that spawned bands like Swing Kids (whose members you might know from bands like The Locust, Holy Molar, Some Girls, and a lot of other bands). As for the metal influence as it's currently used, that comes from mathcore bands, like Botch and Converge and from hardcore bands like Heroin, Angel Hair, pg.99, and Orchid. My point is, metalcore just incorporates metal into hardcore much like Cynic incorporates jazz into metal. There is very little actual connection between metalcore and metal. Limp Bizkit is nu-metal. A style that combined hardcore, hip-hop, and very small amounts of metal into something that's about as false as it gets. Trixter is hair metal, which is essentially power pop with metal influence. Not metal. Except for the fact that this does not apply to all bands. As I Lay Dying's Nick Hipa is a metalhead, but he grew up around the hardcore scene so he incorporates both elements into his music, but it's obvious that the metal prevails. Given that there are "hardcore bands playing metal" like Hatebreed and Converge, there a plenty (if not more) of "metal bands playing hardcore" such as Unearth, As I Lay Dying, Lamb of God, Shadows Fall, Through the Eyes of the Dead (deathcore but no big difference), and All That Remains. The main influence on the majority of metalcore bands is metal, so therefore metalcore is metal, just with an American twist.
    you guys must have a shitload of spare time if you decide to spend it writing big long quotes and shit like this, piece of advice for you, don't, people like myself will start thinking you have no life
    gh0sthack
    SkyValley wrote: Pretty cool but they shoulda called it CHRISTMASSACRE
    lol, From First To Last.
    kleifheit13
    how do you do a review on this and not mention silent night by chuck billy and scott ian?
    Jondy
    ^if you can't figure out twisted christmas by ear you might want to give up now.
    Life Is Brutal
    Could anyone tell me where to get tabs for "A Twisted Christmas?" And Christmassacre is awesome lol.
    GregC123
    SkyValley wrote: Pretty cool but they shoulda called it CHRISTMASSACRE
    haha that's fukin awesome
    MetalUpYourRear
    protesthehero wrote: no august burns red? their carol of the bells song or whatever is pretty damn metal.
    .....WHAT?!?! August Burns Red is nowhere near metal enough to be even considered for an album alongside Ronnie James Dio, Geoff Tate, and Jeff Scott Soto!!!! What the hell are you thinking?!?!?!?!