REVIEW: We Wish You A Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year – Various Artists (2008)

WE WISH YOU A METAL XMAS AND A HEADBANGING NEW YEAR (2008 Armoury)

Yep, It’s another Bob Kulick album with various guests.  You know what you’re going to get.  Let’s not dilly-dally; let’s crack open the cranberry sauce and see what a Metal Xmas sounds like.

Generic!  A truly ordinary title track features the amazing Jeff Scott Soto on lead vocals, but it’s a purely cookie-cutter arrangement with all the cheesy adornments you expect.  Ray Luzier fans will enjoy the busy drums, but this does not bode well for the album.

Fortunately it’s Lemmy to the rescue, with “Run Rudolph Run”, an utterly classic performance with Billy Gibbons and Dave Grohl.  All spit n’ vinegar with no apologies and nary a mistletoe in sight.  I remember playing this for my sister Dr. Kathryn Ladano in the car one Christmas.

When Lemmy opened his yap, she proclaimed “This is bullshit!  How come they get to make albums and not me?”

Lemmy Kilmister, pissing people off since day one, has done it again.  You can buy the CD for “Run Rudolph Run” even if the rest is utter shit.

A silly “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” by Alice Cooper echoes “The Black Widow”, but novelty value aside, is not very good.  A joke song can only take you so far, and Alice is usually far more clever.  (At least John 5’s soloing is quite delicious.)  And even though Dio is next, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” comes across as a joke, too.  Which is a shame because the lineup is a Dio/Sabbath hybrid:  Tony Iommi, Rudy Sarzo, and Simon Wright.  Dio’s joyless, dead serious interpretation is amusing only because of its unintentional dry humour.

Funny enough, Geoff Tate’s “Silver Bells” has the right attitude.  Even though Geoff is perpetually flat, his spirited version (with Carlos Cavazo, James Lomenzo and Ray Luzier) kicks up some snow.  That makes me happy, but it pains me to say that Dug Pinnick’s “Little Drummer Boy” (with George Lynch, Billy Sheehan and Simon Phillips) doesn’t jingle.  Ripper Owens, Steve More & pals team up next on “Santa Claus is Back in Town”, so bad that it borders on parody.

The most bizarre track is Chuck Billy’s “Silent Night”, with thrash buddies like Scott Ian.  Chuck performs it in his death metal growl, and it’s pure comedy.  Oni Logan can’t follow that with “Deck the Halls”, though it’s pretty inoffensive.  Stephen Pearcy’s “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” adapts the riff from “Tie Your Mother Down” and succeeds in creating a listenable track.  “Rockin’ Around the Xmas Tree” is ably performed by Joe Lynn Turner, sounding a lot like a Christmas party jam.

The final artist is Tommy Shaw with John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War is Over)”.  It’s an authentic version and while not a replacement for the original, will be enjoyable to Styx fans.

Christmas albums by rock artists are, let’s be honest, rarely worthwhile.  This one has only a handful of keepers so spend wisely.

2/5 stars

27 comments

  1. What is it with George Lynch and Joe Lynn Turner showing up on all of Kulick’s half-assed tribute albums? They both deserve better, though Lynch did completely ruin “Anthem” with his clueless shredding on the Working Men CD.

    Pearcy made something listenable? Didn’t think he’d done that since Detonator (in 2008 at least). Quick LeBrain. Assign a provisional ranking to the first five Ratt albums and the EP. Harrison! You do the same.

    Crapp Ep (1983) 3.5/5
    Out of the Closet (1984) 4/5
    Invasion of Your Lunch (1985) 3/5
    Dancing Under Pressure (1986) 3.5/5
    Reach for the Prostate (1988) 1.5/5
    Refuckulator (1990) 1/5

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Not a bad group of people compiled on there, but I hate Christmas albums generally and this doesn’t look like it will change my mind. And knowing Bob’s involved, I don’t know if I want to ever hear it. I am kind of tired of his whining…an name dropping…and whining.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You mean Brucifer? LOL

      Yeah, it’s unfortunate but Bob doesn’t seem to be a happy camper these days. The market was saturated with tribute CDs and whatnot that he produced, and while one would have been special, a dozen gets boring fast.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I bought this a couple of years ago and had the same reaction you did. I eventually sold it when I realized I would likely never play it again, even if “Run Rudolph Run” is pretty great. I think the version I bought came with a bonus disc. Can’t remember what was on it but obviously nothing to make the collection a keeper. Have you ever seen that version?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Great holiday classic from 1983 done to “Heading Out To The Highway” by Judas Priest. The song was actually recorded as the band “The Sharks” pre Shark Island.

        Interesting armony at 2:20 !

        Like

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