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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'Metal X-Mas (2CD Special Edition)'
Artist - Various

There's nothing sweet, sentimental or ring-a-ding-ding when Lemmy Kilmister, the late Ronnie James Dio, Chuck Billy, Tony Iommi and other metal and hard rock luminaries put their mark on traditional Christmas music!

Instead there are growls, shrieks, creepy crooning, sonic chords, screaming guitars and emphatic pa-rum-pum-pum-pahs. And so, to prove it, we now have a revised and updated (for 2010) 'We Wish You a Metal Xmas & a Headbanging New Year.' It also comes this time around with another disc containing four new tracks: 1. O Christmas Tree (Doro Pesch, Michael Schenker, Tony Franklin, Frankie Banali), 2. Auld Lang Syne (Girlschool), 3. Frosty The Snowman (Steve Lips Kudlow, Bumblefoot, Chris Chaney, Kenny Aronoff), and 4. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer (Dez Fafara, Doug Aldrich, Blasko, John Tempesta).

In a metal Christmas world, Alice Cooper's ghoulish "Santa Claws is Coming to Town" makes you want to hide under the bed. When Santa visits Alice, he breaks the toys and burns down the toyland town. "Silent Night" becomes downright unholy when growled menacingly by Testament's Chuck Billy. Vocal giant, the sadly-now-departed Ronnie James Dio imbues "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" with a dark power that's magnified by the melancholy chords of longtime collaborator and guitarist Tommy Iommi.

Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmister shouts with enthusiasm on "Run, Rudolph, Run," but his distinctive gravelly voice somehow comes off gargly. Tim 'Ripper' Owens yowls a rousing version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" while Styx's Tommy Shaw wails John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" with more grit and funk than the original.

Also getting a metal makeover are "Silver Bells," "Deck the Halls," "Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer," and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree." [RDO]