Have Yourself a Very Merry Metal Christmas
By Team HC |
by Anne Erickson
‘Tis the season for holiday cheer, and we want you to have yourself a very merry metal Christmas. From Rob Halford to Dio to Alice Cooper, here are 10 metal-flavored Christmas songs to make any family gathering a little bit louder!
Dio, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”
Ronnie James Dio’s dynamic voice has the ability to multiply the dramatics of any song by 10, and that’s what happens when he takes on “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” His soaring singing is the perfect match with Tony Iommi’s murky, boiling riffing. It’s a headbang-worthy take on the Christmas classic. Rudy Sarzo and Simon Wright are also on the track. This is my favorite metallic Christmas song.
Twisted Sister, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”
Eighties rockers Twister Sister know how to throw a party, and they also know to go catch Santa red-handed. Dee Snider and company call Santa out in their version of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” It’s a head-bopping, up-beat, riff-laden version that’s pretty awesome.
Dez Fafara, John Tempesta, Blasko and Doug Aldrich, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”
If you don’t like “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” then something is seriously wrong with your level of holiday cheer. That’s especially true when you have a stable of metal musicians – Dez Fafara, John Tempesta, Blasko and Doug Aldrich – performing the tune. This version of the song is so metal, it’s difficult to even tell the song is “Rudolph.” It’s a snarling version that’s all its own.
Rob Halford, “What Child is This?”
Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford is blessed with a massive vocal range and powerful operatic pipes. He’s such a fan of Christmas that one of Halford’s solo album, “Halford 3: Winter Songs,” is a collection of holiday songs. While all the tracks are killer, “What Child is This?” stands out, with its soft piano work, magical guitar solo and Halford’s warm interpretation of the Christmas story.
August Burns Red, “Frosty the Snowman”
August Burns Red add a riff-heavy metal vibe to the Christmas favorite “Frosty the Snowman,” complete with crunchy guitars and thick rhythms. The instrumental rendition is very different from the original, but that “Frosty” melody is unmistakable.
Alice Cooper, “Santa Claws Is Coming to Town”
Alice Cooper sure knows how to celebrate Halloween, but the Coop – a devout Christian – also loves Christmas. Here, he puts a dark, chilling metal spin on the Christmas song “Santa Claws Is Coming to Town.” Notice the “Claws,” too. The song also features Billy Sheehan, John 5 and Vinny Appice, making it an A-list metal jam.
Dave Grohl, Lemmy Kilmister and Billy Gibbons, “Run Rudolph Run”
Dave Grohl is a spirited fella, so it makes sense that he would want to jam on a Christmas tune. He does just that with “Run, Rudolph, Run,” alongside Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons. The tune has a sludgy, grunge feel that brings an edge to the holidays.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra, “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo”
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is pretty much synonymous with Christmas music. The progressive metal orchestra regularly fills huge indoor arenas. Last year, they brought in more ticket revenue than Lady Gaga, Mötley Crüe and Elton John, reports. Here they perform a magical Christmas original, “Wizards in Winter.”
Dug Pinnick, George Lynch, Billy Sheehan and Simon Phillips, “Little Drummer Boy”
“Little Drummer Boy” is the obvious Christmas song pick for heavy-hitting drummers. This rendition of the song starts with bare-bones vocals and percussion, before enchanting guitars break in to make the song really rock. The tune features Dug Pinnick, George Lynch, Billy Sheehan and Simon Phillips.
Warrant. “We Wish You a Hairy Christmas”
Warrant put a hair metal take on “Father Christmas” in this ’80-flavored tune. The holly, jolly, glam song appears on “We Wish You a Hairy Christmas,” which also packs Christmas tunes from L.A. Guns, Pretty Boy Floyd, Bullet Boys and other Hollywood strip-style groups.
Photo by Anne Erickson
Anne Erickson holds years of bylines in Gannett Media publications, as well as music magazines Premier Guitar, Guitar Edge and more. She also hosts radio shows with iHeartRadio and has been syndicated in Seattle, Dayton, Central Coast California and beyond. Anne is a loyal Spartan and holds a Master’s degree from MSU. She resides in Lansing, Michigan.