Sunday, December 05, 2010

Real Time Review: Merry Xmas and a Headbanging New Year


There hasn't been anything released this year in the holiday or Christmas vein other then Corey Taylor's stupid song. But I realized in all this time I never fully listened to We Wish You a Merry Xmas and a Headbanging New Year that was released a couple of years ago. Sure I'd heard snippets but never listened to the whole thing. Probably because I had it stuck in my head that it was going to be crap.For those unfamiliar this was a collection of traditional and not so traditional favorites reinterpreted by people in the hard rock and metal scene. So this will be my first thorough listen and what a better way to close out the year for real time reviews then this. So after the jump let's check it out.

We Wish You a Merry Xmas: Apparently the Kulick Brothers have alot to do with this album as they're credited on most of the tracks. What we have is Jeff Scott Soto of Yngwie and the movie Rock Star fame.There is a nice balance of traditional and then just balls out all over the place riffing. It's funny to hear a metal singer sing the line 'Oh bring us a figgy pudding'.

Run Rudolph Run: Lemmy from Motorhead, Billy Gibbons of ZZtop,and Dave Grohl of Foo fighters/Nirvana fame. This should be interesting due to the eclectic nature of the musicians involved. If I remember right this song was a Chuck Berry tune back in the 50's. Not that I would know because I wasn't born then.This is a great rockin tune and Lemmy's whiskey gargling voice is perfect for this tune. This is a fun track.

Santa Claws is Coming to Town: Who would change the spelling on Claus to make it more evil? Oh, it's Alice Cooper with help from John 5,Billy Sheehan,and Vinnie Appice. Track starts like a typical Alice Cooper song with a creepy spoken intro.Can you imagine Alice being your Dad and freaking you the hell out about Santa Claus? Another fun track. Wait for the ending.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen: Oh Ronnie James Dio. How you will be missed.This particular track has Tony Iommi, Rudy Sarzo, and Simon Wright providing the music. It begins with great Iommi doomish riffs. Now I'm going to get some shit for this but I do not like Ronnie's rendition of this song. It could be age but much like his later solo efforts he seems to be oversinging this song. So therefore I will not be purchasing the tacky Christmas card with this song on it. Musically this song is heavy as hell. I just don't care for much of RJD's interpretation.Which is a shame because if he'd take it down a notch this could be an awesome song.

Silver Bells: Geoff Tate, Carlos Cavazo, James Lomenzo, and Ray Luzier on tap for this song. Let's see what Geoff does with this. Pretty uptempo heavy intro. Wow, Geoff sounds like crap. He almost sounds tone deaf in parts. His vocals are all over the place. Next.

Little Drummer Boy: Doug Pinnick of Kings X joined by George Lynch, Billy Sheehan,and Simon Wright. I haven't heard Doug since Gretchen goes to Nebraska so this should be interesting. Fittingly the song starts with Doug singing and Simon laying down a cool mid tempo beat. Now George and Billy kick in. I like this rendition. The song is typically one of the most annoying songs because really? You're going to bang drums around a baby like that? Anyways these guys rocked it up yet kept the familiarity to.

Santa Claus is Back in town: Tim "Ripper" Owens does vocals on this tune. And he's joined by Steve Morse of all people and a few others.This song opens with a groove metal riff. I like Tim Owens. Especially when he wasn't with Priest. His vocals for this are great. Almost a bluesy feel to this song in general.

Silent Night: Chuck Billy of Testament, Scott Ian of Anthrax and John Tempesta already tells me that this is not going to be a traditional version. I've heard it before and remembered laughing at it so let's see what two years later brings. Yeah this is hilarious. Death metal version. I love Chuck in a non gay way. He is such a bad ass vocalist but this version is funny as hell.Especially when the tempo ramps up to 11.

Deck the Halls:Oni Logan does vocal duties on this track. He was from Lynch Mob which means I know nothing about him.Song kicks in with a cool riff.I don't know what to make of his vocals. They're not bad. He has almost a warble to his singing.I think I like the music better then the singing especially the ripping solo in the middle courtesy of Craig Goldy who I always liked with Dio. Oni is apparently the weak link in this song.

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer: One of the goofiest Christmas songs done by one of my least favorite singers. This should be interesting. Oh and one of my least favorite guitarist in Tracii Guns. Hmmm....Stephen doesn't sound like himself. He almost sounds like Alice Cooper in this. I might actually like this better then the original. Funny how things like this work out.

Rock Around the Xmas Tree: Joe Lynn Turner of Yngwie and Rainbow fame doing this song. I can't picture it. By the way Joe. It's not the 80's anymore so you can change up your hairstyle now. Sorry, that's always bugged me. I've never liked this song to begin with and this rendition is not changing my mind. Next.

Happy Xmas(War is Over): Tommy Shaw doing a John Lennon cover to close this album out. My personal feeling on songs like this is that while it's a nice sentiment, there are too many cultures and people on this planet to ever have peace on earth. This is a nice cover to the original though but kind of a downer to close out a metal Christmas cd.

So there you have it. Overall I enjoyed the cd. Any album where I like 75 percent of it is a success. And if you're sick of traditional music then you can't go wrong with most of these renditions. So go out and pick it up. And have a great holiday.


Draeden Wren said...

Spot on review. For me, the Geoff Tate vocals could have been amazing, 'cause I've always loved his voice, but this was so horrible. I relistened to the Happy Christmas song a couple days ago, and when first hearing it, I loved it.. now, I really think that his vocals were just shite...

It's still not a bad CD and WAY more enjoyable than the Twisted Sister one, which maybe I should review.. unless you've done it.. :)

Rob Liz said...

Nope not yet. Go for it. Maybe for next weekend as we get closer to Christmas.