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Recently in Metal Category

"Mistress For Christmas," Halestorm (Atlantic)

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The popular metal group from Central PA takes on the AC/DC Christmas "carol" for 2016. It's a little odd to hear this from a girl singer, not that there's anything wrong with that, but well, she's not far off Bon Scott's vocal sound. So dig in and enjoy.

Hair metal, y'all! I have been unable to find out much of anything about these guys other than their home is the Bay Area. They have Facebook and Flickr pages, which haven't been updated lately. And names them among 20 real life bands with unfortunate names. But this thumping take on the popular carol has only been up for the past 18 days on Soundcloud, so here you go. No independent audio I'm aware of.

"Naughty Christmas," Lacuna Coil (Century Media)

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I don't follow metal, but I am aware that it is still a thing, and I had heard of this Italian goth metal group before. Didn't realize they've been in business for 20 years, though. Anyway, if goth metal was a genre radio stations were interested in playing, this 2016 holiday tune could be considered a single. It's your basic naughty-or-nice Christmas premise, except in this case being naughty means being hunted by Krampus. It's kind of bouncy in a minor key, hammer-the-ax way, and it'll definitely put some roughage in your holiday playlists.

chrislee.jpgI am seriously remiss in overlooking, until my friend Rich Lewis pointed it out to me, that Christopher Lee -- the Christopher Lee, actor in "Lord of the Rings," "Star Wars," multiple outings as Dracula, recurring guest in the British series "The Avengers," and more -- has a parallel career as a heavy metal vocalist and for 2014 has released his third Christmas single in a row. Did I mention he's 92 years old? I'm afraid I like the idea of this more than the reality, but then high concepts tend to play out that way. For 2012, he started the string with A Heavy Metal Christmas, with fast metal performances of "Little Drummer Boy" and "Silent Night." In 2013, A Heavy Metal Christmas Too featured "Jingle Hell," which is "Jingle Bells" with new, angrier lyrics, and the non-holiday "My Way," about which there's no question. This year, 2014, it's "Darkest Carols, Faithful Sing" (click the cover), which is "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" with more debauched lyrics, accompanied by an extended vocal version and an instrumental of the same song. How you feel about the singer is probably going to color how you feel about the songs, but if you're doing a theme playlist featuring "Star Wars" or Tolkien-related stuff, one of these tunes will fit in just fine.

Hat tip to Dangerous Minds for unearthing this gem. The soundtrack is the work of a guy named Andy Rehfeldt, who apparently does this kind of thing from time to time, but this is the first Christmas-oriented one. This should purge your memories of those "Christmas Remixed" versions of Der Bingle.  

Metal Kalikimaka, Tin Idols (self-issued)

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Yes, we know there's been plenty of heavy metal Christmas in the past, and of course it's been featured here at Mistletunes. If you looked at the title and said, here's a heavy metal band from Hawaii making a Christmas album for 2014, go to the head of the class. They just came out of an IndieGoGo fundraising round to get this out in time for Christmas, and if you're afraid of having an incomplete collection of metal Christmas tunes, you need to have this. It's 16 covers of favorite holiday tunes from the antique and pop realms plus one original, the extra-fast-tempo "Christmas Without You." The antique carols like "We Three Kings," "O Come O Come Emanuel," "Hark The Herald Angels Sing," "Joy To the World" and "Do You Hear What I Hear" sound about the way you'd expect, but you don't often hear a guitar freakout leading into "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts)," a waltz of martial drums backing "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," or harmony lead guitars scorching their way into "Baby It's Cold Outside." They didn't really touch the Pretenders' "2,000 Miles" except to hammer the beats and crunch up the guitars a bit, and "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" reveals that Phil Spector was heavy metal before there was such a thing. As folks in the metal realm are really into virtuosity, it's no surprise this collection sounds really good, especially for an indie production. (Of course, there really aren't any major labels to support old-school metal anymore, right?) If you dug this, the same cast of characters preceded this album with a full-length galvanized version of "Jesus Christ Superstar."

OK, there is no such thing, it's just a bit from the Jimmy Kimmel show. But it's still a hoot, and props to Jenny Lewis for playing a cameo in it. (Of course, Mistletunes regulars know there have been many metal Christmas albums before this.)

Don't know anything about these guys except this 2012 collection is their one and only album. Google pointed me to a page where they were described as former members of Sleigher, a band that appears to have done Christmas songs in the past. Oh, and they stole their name from "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." These guys self-define as heavy rock and metal, and they take a cynical view of the holiday, as in the title song, "Xxxmas Time Again ('Round Here)," and the brief "Jingle Bells" in which the singers exchange a couple of expletives. Centerpiece of the album is "Screwj and the Demons," a 12-minute epic based on "A Christmas Carol" that owes a bit of a debt to Tenacious D. "Under the Tree" is an almost romantic rocker, "Oh Holy Road" is a midtempo rocker with lyrics I've been unable to decipher, and "Birth of the Demon Slayer" is a heavy guitar instrumental. They also do an acoustic guitar-led "W3k" (We Three Kings), a driving rock version of "Noel Number One" (The First Noel), and a piano-driven "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." They wrap up with an acoustic reprise of the title song. It's a well-done album, aimed more at fans of harder rock.
sleddinhill.jpgWe've posted the band's previous Christmas singles here in the past, now for 2012 all three of them are part of this Lancaster, Pa. band's new holiday album. Except for the originals "Flurries" and the title song, the rest of the songs are classic carols and all are instrumentals except "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." For those of you not familiar with the band, these guys play fast thrash metal, and all the songs are in that vein, although some open quietly and build to the big climax, while others are top speed from the start. Their "Carol of the Bells" might sound to some like Trans-Siberian Orchestra, but the rapid drumming sets it apart from that version. Other carols getting the treatment are "Frosty the Snowman," "Sleigh Ride," "Jingle Bells," "O Holy Night," "Winter Wonderland," and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," as well as the three previous singles. Metal's not my personal favorite genre, but this is well done and worth your consideration.

augred.jpgThe Christian metal band from Lancaster, Pa. has done Christmas songs before, and they're back for 2011 shredding this antique carol, which they do as an instrumental. I can't stop thinking "Spinal Tap" when I hear metal no matter how well done, but that's just me.

Winter Plunderband, Beatallica (Oglio)

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beatallica.jpgThis Wisconsin parody band mashes up the best of the Beatles and Metallica on their previous albums, and for 2009 snuck out this four-song EP in which they Metallicize "Wonderful Christmastime" and "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" for your heavy metal delectation. Two other songs on the EP are "Hella Day (For Holiday)" and "Heretic," the band's first completely original tunes, the former a Christmas tune, the latter not. Both are far more Tallica than Beat, so let that guide your purchasing decisions.
monster.jpgAnother lunge up out of the primordial ooze from the hard rock segment, though marketing trumps music this go-round, as a fair number of these songs were recycled from 2003's hair-metal semi-classic, We Wish You a Hairy Christmas. Billy Idol's "Christmas Love" from his recent CD is here, and the Twisted Sister Christmas CD also contributes a cut, the version of "I'll Be Home For Christmas" done with Lita Ford. Songs by Danger Danger, Enuff Z'Nuff, L.A. Guns and Faster Pussycat are the repeats from Hairy. There remain nine unique cuts, enough to recommend this to fans of the genre. Jani Lane of Warrant and Tom Keifer of Cinderella offer takes on classics, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "Blue Christmas." Winger's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" starts out a faithful cover but gradually metals things up along the way, Queensryche's "White Christmas" is kind of hammy in the way a Bob Rivers parody might be, and Nelson's "Jingle Bell Rock" takes things uptempo in a fairly refreshing way. Stryper throws down live with their version of "Winter Wonderland," heavy on the bass drums, and Firehouse's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" takes a similar approach. For those who didn't get enough from Hairy, this will take pride of place in their collections. From 2007.
hairyxms.jpgWe've got genre collections out the wazoo on this site, so I guess we have to admit the hair band Christmas anthology was way overdue. Koch remedies this oversight for 2003. LA Guns take on "Run Run Rudolph," Warrant does a smackdown on the Kinks' "Father Christmas," Tuff crunches "Jingle Bell Rock," once and future Gun and/or Rose Gilby Clarke hammer-strums "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," though he quits the story in the middle -- short attention span, perhaps? Faster Pussycat does "Silent Night," Roxx Gang takes on Elvis' "Santa Claus Is Back In Town," laying a little Chuck Berry guitar over it, and there are originals like "Naughty Naughty Xmas" by Danger Danger, "Happy Holiday" by Enuff Z Nuff, "Everyday Should Be Like Christmas" by Bullet Boys, Pretty Boy Floyd's "Happy Family" and "Won't Be Home For Xmas" by Every Mother's Nightmare. Not being an aficionado of the genre, I still have to admit it's a pretty solid collection, especially if this is your favorite flavor.

metalx.jpgThis 1996 collection seems to have no other purpose except to be something cheap to sell at Christmas time; my copy was only $4. Apparently, this was issued at full price a few years earlier. Although the artists' names are prominently featured, only a few are anyone I've heard of. I don't recall Denny Laine, former Moody Blue and Wing, as having any particular heavy metal connection. And would you know Carlos Creator was "Spain's No. 1 Rock Guitarist" if you hadn't read it off the cover of this album? The performances here pretty much explain why the heavy metal genre went away in the first place, all samey-samey arrangements and thudding rhythms. Ray Callcut does get some points for setting the entire "A Visit from St. Nicholas" to music as "Was the Night," although the novelty wears off long before the song is over. UPDATE: Astoundingly, to me anyway, this disc is commanding collector's prices from 3rd-party sellers at Amazon.

"Sexy Santa," Steel Panther (Universal Republic)

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steelpan.jpgHere's a little something nice and rowdy from this modern metal band. Where August Burns Red have contributed to a Christian music collection, these guys are unlikely to get a similar invitation with lyrics like "he delivers the sexy and he never fails/The rest of the year, he works at Chippendales." It goes on in that vein for three and a half minutes and never lets up. I'm not a metal fan, but this made me giggle, and that's good for something.
augstred.jpgThis up-and-coming metal band from Lancaster, Pa., home of the Amish, took time out from promoting their new CD Constellations to grind out this heavy instrumental of the traditional hymn/carol for 2009. You probably already know enough about this from my description, but give the guys credit for putting lots of energy into this one. They're also planning a vinyl single of "Carol of the Bells," which they did for the Christian music compilation X Christmas and also have on their Lost Messengers outtakes album.

Winter Songs, Halford (Metal God)

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halford.jpgThe former Judas Priest singer has carved out a strong solo career for himself, and for 2009 he's now decided it's time to bring his brand of metal to Christmas, assembling a half-dozen covers to go along with four original tunes. The opener, "Get Into the Spirit," is not explicitly about Christmas but is holiday-friendly, as well as a bombastic opener with a fast shuffle beat and shredding guitars. "Christmas For Everyone" is more of a holiday anthem, with an almost Slade-like feel; it's clearly this set's single. "I Don't Care" is a Christmas road song, your basic uptempo get-me-home-for-the-holidays song. "Light of the World" is more of a love song, with the star in the east as a symbol for the singer's lover. Add five traditional carols, starting with "We Three Kings" with a speed-metal approach, "Oh Come Oh Come Emanuel" done at a fist-punching-the-air tempo, and "What Child Is This," "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "Oh Holy Night" done in suitably dramatic settings. The real surprise is Halford's choice of "Winter Song" by Sara Barreilles from last year's Hotel Cafe compilation -- and a fairly faithful cover at that. Could Halford end up on this year's holiday episode of "Grey's Anatomy?"

Heavy Mental Christmas, Helix (Vollmer)

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helixmas.jpgThis long-standing metal band from Canada jumps into the Christmas fray for 2008 with a long-player that for now is available only online or at Wal-Mart stores in Canada. It's well-played but fairly monochromatic; mid-tempo to uptempo crunch is the rule here. Song selection is predictable too, mostly rock standards, hitting Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime" and John and Yoko's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)," though "Christmas Time Is Here Again" is not the Beatles song, but an original. Other tunes include "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," "Jingle Bell Rock," "Jingle Bells," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Silent Night," "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and, possibly the best performance here, a rendition of Bob Seger's "Sock It To Me Santa." Good mainly for metal fans.
metlwish.jpgNot much chance you'll confuse any of this 2008 album's songs with outtakes from the Hotel Cafe CD with a title like that. What we have here is a literal parade of hard rock veterans jamming out 11 takes on familiar holiday tunes. On hand for the festivities are such folks as Alice Cooper, Billy Gibbons, Toni Iommi, Ronnie James Dio, Lemmy Kilmister, Steve Morse, Simon Phillips, Billy Sheehan and Dave Grohl, along with a bunch of other folks. No two songs have the same lineup, so you'll want the CD booklet handy while you're listening to this. "Silver Bells" gets a double-time treatment, "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" sounds Sabbath-esque, no surprise since Iommi and Dio are on it, "Silent Night" reminds me of the way Spinal Tap might do it, and we have to give the gang props for the heavy metal cover of "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer." All told, no surprises, but a worthy addition to the canon of hard rock/hair band/metal Xmas music.
campese.jpgCampese is an electric lead guitar shredder and this, his sixth solo album, is his holiday move for 2008. He has done time with Trans-Siberian Orchestra, where his talents were no doubt appreciated, but this album has only a little of that sort of big progressive sound; this is more of a hard rock/metal outing, mostly instrumental with Mike pushing the envelope on the melodies in that style. The 12 tunes are mostly classics, with two originals, "Christmas in Maui" and the title song, the latter the only vocal on the disc. "The Christmas Song," called "Chestnuts" on here, and "Silent Night" are led by acoustic rather than electric guitars, and "Carol of the Bells" is as close as he gets to TSO here. This will go over great with hard rock guitar fanatics.

psychostk.jpgThose of you whose life paths carry you a little too close to the retail sector might well be sick of Christmas already. If that's you, these guys might well be your holiday soundtrack, assuming metal crunch with a side order of laughs is your favored genre. On this 2007 disc, "Holiday Hate" brings the bitch list with its "Consumers gotta BUY" chorus, its declaration that Santa doesn't exist and its complaint that Christmas goodies make us fat. Despite the fact that Santa doesn't exist, he turns out to be a "Jollly Old Sadist" who doesn't come through on the wish lists unless you really wanted a shirt box full of socks. "Jingle Bell Metal" is pretty much as advertised, "Silent Night" is nothing of the kind, though it's only 25 seconds long, "Red Snow" is Rudolph's snuff-horror fantasy, causing Johnny Marks to roll over in his grave no doubt, and how else to cap off the festivities than with "Happy F- New Year."
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