Spun: Various Artists

By Kyle Francis

When it comes to the art of the Christmas carol cover, rock and roll always gets the glory, but now it’s time for the metal kids to get their shot. With luminaries like Carlos Cavazo blazing the frets and Ronnie James Dio on the mic, We Wish You a Metal Xmas will now be required listening for the second graders who can’t stand the boring songs sung at their school’s Christmas concerts.

The various instrumentalists and singers on the tracks read like a who’s who of the wild and disparate genre known as metal. Tracks like “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” feature Dio’s high-flying vocals with blistering guitar work by Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath). Stand-out track “Silent Night” brings the double D-dropped guitars of Scott Ian (Anthrax) and Jon Donais (Shadows Fall) together with lead singer of Testament, Chuck Billy, growling out the lyrics to the classic choral tune. It’s a little bit overwrought, but tunes like the Alice Cooper-backed “Santa Claws is Coming to Town” are the perfect unserious topping to a CD made with a bit of a wink-and-a-nod for its audience.

The album nothing more than a kitschy piece of Christmas novelty, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be added to the more easy-listening records like Hanson’s Snowed In or Clay Aiken’s Merry Christmas On Love. What’s more, it’s the perfect soundtrack to a child’s orgy of destruction as he tears apart the wrapping for his presents.

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