Title - 'We Wish You a Metal Xmas...' (Eagle Records)
Artist - Various
When rockin' around the Christmas tree just ain't enough, Armoury Records presents "We Wish You A Metal Xmas & A Headbanging New Year", an all hard rock and metal compilation of everyone's favorite holiday songs which features the likes of Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), Geoff Tate (Queensryche), Ronnie James Dio, Lemmy, Alice Cooper, Billy F. Gibbons (ZZ Top), George Lynch (Dokken) and more!
Of course it's silly. And hilarious and creepy; but just about worth it! I do think there is a bit of a hard slog around the middle, and perhaps a couple selections and/or singers would've been better off substituted for others, but it's fun enough.
Alice Cooper lends his particular brand of funhouse creepiness to Santa Claws (sic) is Coming to Town, and although I've always thought that "demon growling," popular in certain sub-genres of metal, is laughably ridiculous virtually every time I've heard it, Testament's Chuck Billy growls a special poignancy to Silent Night. The team of Dio and Iommi seem to define "Darkness" with their rendition of God Bless Ye Merry Gentlemen. And of course, Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer is always a lot of fun, regardless of who does it, but the "metal" treatment here makes it even more of a toe-tapper.
Arguably, there are only two truly "heavy metal" tracks on this album: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and Silent Night. The rest might be better classified "hard rock," a few even "pop rock." However, there ARE a lot of excellent guitar jams throughout, and though the songs are readily recognizable when the vocals start, the musical interpretations of many selections make this a refreshing alternative to the same old inescapable pap-crap that permeates the airwaves, malls and other public places the first four weeks of December. (R.L.)