Whether some want to admit it or not, there is just something special about the holiday season. A feeling that many do not want to give into, if you do, it is truly something that sticks with you as lovely lifetime memories. This in mind, of course it is the music that compounds these emotions, and who could deny that Christmas music puts them in a good mood? However, if you are one of those tough cookies who have a hard time admitting this, there are rockers out there willing to bring you some Christmas classics in a heavier format.
Something many have done over the decades… just look back to a plethora of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Christmas albums such as anything Trans-Siberian Orchestra has done or Twisted Sister’s A Twisted Christmas from 2006 as points of reference. With so much more to look back on, in 2023 Cleopatra Records assembled another all-star Heavy Metal lineup for not one, but two Christmas compilation albums.
Entitled A Very Metal Christmas and A Very Metal Christmas II, both albums were companion releases back on October 27, 2023. To some a little early to even consider popping on some Christmas music, with Halloween not even coming and going yet, it is safe to say just after December 1st most are ready to give into Christmas. That in mind, it is a perfect time to take a closer look at these two very interesting new compilations.
For starters, the cast of musicians involved is second to none in the ears and hearts of Hard Rock and Metal fans. Summarizing, included between the two compliations are the talents of Graham Bonnet (formerly of Rainbow), King’s X’s Ty Tabor, Ratt’s Stephen Pearcy, Bulletboys’ Marq Torien, UFO’s Vinnie Moore, King Kobra’s Paul Shortino, Glenn Hughes (formerly of Deep Purple), Marty Friedman (formerly of Megadeth), Great White’s Jack Russell, Janet Gardner (formerly of Vixen), Angel’s Frank DiMino, Enuff Z’Nuff, L.A. Guns, Gilby Clarke (formerly of Guns N’ Roses), Paul D’iAnno (formerly of Iron Maiden), Ripper Owens (formerly of Judas Priest), Chris Holmes (formerly of W.A.S.P.), George Lynch (formerly of Dokken), Girlschool’s Kim McAuliffe….. and do we need to go on? Let us just say the list is far and wide, filled with surprises, but all equally all fun.
A total of 26 songs between both albums (13 for each set), these albums really have it all. For example, you have soaring instrumentals such as “Carol of The Bells” performed by former Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland, but also “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24” rocked by George Lynch and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” achieved magically by Marty Friedman with Japanese Cellist Hiyori Okuda. You also have so many great renditions of more modern Christmas songs, with some of them being Graham Bonnet putting his own touch of Wham!’s “Last Christmas,” Cherie Currie tearing up “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” and Faster Pussycat doing “Run, Rudolph Run” justice, while Janet Gardner completely transforms the well-known Mariah Carey “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” Beyond this, you also have Glen Hughes performing a moving rendition of “O Holy Night,” and even some originals, like the George Lynch/Jeff Pilson teaming on “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
All in all, A Very Metal Christmas and A Very Metal Christmas II are the ultimate collections for Hard Rock and Metal fans who also love holiday time. Each song is done with heart, love, as well as a tremendous amount of care. That is why it is recommended to pick up these albums for the 2023 Christmas season, and why Cryptic Rock gives them both 4.5 out of 5 stars.