10 Best Christmas Metal Songs from KORN, AMON AMARTH, KING DIAMOND, HALFORD, TWISTED SISTER and Beyond
When it comes to this time of the year, we’re constantly bombarded with the same Christmas songs that we’ve all heard countless times throughout the years. Given that, it’s probably no surprise that they’ve also been covered many times over, usually with the intent of putting a unique spin on them. Well, heavy metal is no different.
Over the past few decades, metal bands have attempted to ply their musical trade to Christmas classics like “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “Jingle Bells,” among others. However, not every cover is worthy of praise – either because they fail to bring something different to the table, or because the songs themselves aren’t easily re-appropriated to the hard-edged musical style.
The songs on this list successfully bridge the hazardous gap that typically divides Christmas and heavy metal. Whether it be a stonking rendition of an old Christmas standard, or a completely original track for the festive season – these differing compositions should be applauded for doing the almost impossible task of covering a winter tune without sounding overly cheesy. So pour a glass of eggnog and light the fire for these 10 Christmas metal crackers.
10. Alice Cooper – Santa Claws Is Coming To Town
Master of theatrics Alice Cooper decided that the perky Christmas track “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” needed a dark spin applied to it. What he came up with was a twisted take on the popular festive tune, complete with heavy riffs and a snarling vocal performance by the shock rocker. He gives lines like “You better watch out, you better not cry,” and “He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake” a whole new sinister meaning.
9. Amon Amarth – Viking Christmas
In typical Amon Amarth fashion, their attempt at a Christmas song is one of epic proportions. Called “Viking Christmas,” the song finds the group at their power metal best – perfect for raising a few tankards to the beloved season. With infectious guitar melodies, driving drumbeats, and guttural growls, “Viking Christmas” pretty much does what it says on the tin. We’ve never experienced a Viking Christmas before, but if it’s even close to being as fun as it sounds here, then sign us up!
8. Twisted Sister – Heavy Metal Christmas
If you’re not up for a Viking Christmas, then how about just a heavy metal one instead? Twisted Sister are only happy to oblige, with a festive tune that puts a humorous spin on “The 12 Days of Christmas” for maximum effect. Entitled “Heavy Metal Christmas,” this tune delivers some blazing riffage combined with some hilarious lyrics like, “On my heavy metal Christmas my true love gave to me a tattoo of Ozzy,” and “On my heavy metal Christmas my true love gave to me Four quarts of Jack.” Ozzy and Jack Daniels? Sounds like a good Christmas to me!
7. Blasko, John Tempesta, Dez Fafara, Doug Aldrich – Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Surely the childlike “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” is safe from metal’s steely clutches? Actually, no it’s not. Featured on the all-star group effort We Wish You A Metal Xmas And A Headbanging New Year, the track is given a seriously heavy makeover courtesy of Devildriver/Coal Chamber frontman Dez Fafara, former Rob Zombie bassist Rob ‘Blasko’ Nicholson, along with Doug Alrich and John Tempesta. It sees Fafara let loose in his trademark frenzied style, propped up by some searing riff work. “Run, run Rudolph” indeed.
6. Halford – Oh Holy Night
Many metalheads were hesitant when Judas Priest squealer Rob Halford announced his Winter Songs LP – a record made up of mostly Christmas standards. However, to their surprise, the 2009 album actually turned out to be rather worthwhile, particularly on the rebooted version of “Oh Holy Night.” It finds the iconic vocalist ascend into the heavens with his stunning falsetto, pushed ever upward by some anthemic power chords, swathes of synth, and wide-open drumbeats. Both ethereal and hard-hitting in equal measure.
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