Published Dec 23, 2009Naming the top Christmas metal albums is a trick. They all suck. Either dogged down with a crap, rushed production or goofy ideas, there's yet to be a decent metal Christmas album. However, we honestly think there could be: 3,000 metal bands have sung about nothing but religion and that generally sounds pretty bad-ass. But, man, so far, no good.
So here's a quick rundown of the ten worst offenders, which involved me writing out a list of metal Christmas albums, closing my eyes, slamming back whiskey and choosing blindly. Like I say, they all suck.
Various Artists - We Wish You a Metal Xmas and A Headbanging New Year (2008)
This one holds a special place in my heart as being the first metal-related Christmas album I slogged through. I thought it was funny to hear Lemmy sing "Run Rudolph Run" and novel to hear sexy Stephen Pearcy croon through "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" - at first. But soon enough - and I mean, before about 35 minutes of this crud had played - I realized it's a one-joke disc with no return value. The record labels must have thought it was great, too, because I think I got about four copies of this thing free of charge. 'Tis the season, I guess.
Various Artists - And Christmas for All! The Holiday Tribute to Metallica (2007)
Fuck it: I haven't even listened to this one because the very concept of it confuses me. Metallica tribute album? Metallica songs turned into Christmas carols? Is this music for kids, like those lullaby CDs? What the fuck is this? Too much to wrap me noggin' around here, but I'll place good money on it sucking and move on to something else.
Rob Halford - Halford III - Winter Songs (2009)
Ol' Robbie blew our minds when he announced he was releasing a CD of metalized Xmas tunes. When he said that he was going to release a second disc of that crap, no one could believe it. We all made jokes. Some particularly stubborn metalheads finally stopping making fun of his sexuality to... ah, scratch that.
Twisted Sister - Twisted Christmas (2006)
Hey, here's a way to kick-start a miserable, middling career: release a poorly produced album of "rocking" Christmas carols that sound like street-rawk lite, performed by dudes old enough to be my dad, wearing my mom's clothes. So this is somewhere around Miley Cyrus levels of intensity. Or, if we're being kind, Enuff Z'nuff. I mean, either way. The live DVD release did not help.
Various Artists - Monster Ballads Xmas (2007)
WTF, again? This is so confusing. I was always too annoyed at the concept to even put this on. Ballads about Christmas? Christmas carols turned into ballads? A full CD of metal bands not playing heavy? Well, reports say that only about half of this is even ballads, which puzzles me further. The whole deal is just weird, and there's just too much more important stuff to do than listen to this.
Various Artists - We Wish You a Hairy Christmas (2003) / Metal Christmas (1996)
Uh, speaking of not listening to stuff, maybe next year I'll get around to these ones. The former does feature Every Mother's Nightmare, which I was kinda stoked about before I realized the band I was thinking of was actually Mutha's Day Out, an ill-fated rock/rap band who put out one disc in '93, which I actually liked even though I was listening to a shit ton of Cathedral and Napalm Death at the time. The latter has Carlos Creator, who just happens to be, according to the front cover of the disc, "Spain's No. 1 Rock Guitarist." Like I say, maybe next year.
Blackmore's Night - Winter Carols (2006)
This renaissance fair crud from a dude who can lay down the heaviest of the heavy riffs doesn't fly too far, but hearing Ritchie Blackmore pluck his way through "We Three Kings" is just insane enough to work. There's a reason this shit starts at $75 on Amazon. We just have absolutely no idea what that reason is. We're guessing it's something to do with Japan, though.
Gary Hoey - The Ho! Ho! Hoey Series
Hey, who doesn't want to hear guitar, uh, "god" Gary Hoey wank his way through a bunch of Christmas tunes? I'll tell you who - every metalhead who has only ever heard this dude's name while talking obscure metal trivia with the pals. And even then, only, like, three hours into said discussion once there's not many more metal dudes who were on labels like Shrapnel and Surfdog left to talk about. People don't listen to Gary Hoey. They raise a glass to him with a knowing grin, and say his name as metaphor for the unlistened-to, the forgotten. Like metal Christmas albums.