One thing I love about Christmas time is the ability to knock out all these Christmas album reviews. I can only listen to this stuff seasonally, and I wouldn’t subject you to it otherwise. In my quest to Review Everything I Own and Then Some, we must occasionally delve into Christmas music.
Rock bands doing Christmas tunes is…well, I mean it worked out OK for Elvis, and then later on Twisted Sister and the guys from Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Each of those artists had success with Christmas music for good reasons, but I think Twisted Sister’s was purely the novelty value of it. The humour. The nudge-nudge-jokey-ness of it. It wasn’t that they made a Christmas album laden with integrity. It’s a joke album as the intro implies.
The album commences with Dee & company singing a traditional acoustic version of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”. They are then interrupted by someone saying “This isn’t Twisted Sister!” It then goes metal with a dash a punk. “Ho ho ho! Let’s go!”
The biggest joke is that, apparently, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” was always just “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” in disguise. This was the big Christmas hit that put Twisted back in the spotlight, and it’s certainly the most enjoyable track on the CD.
Songs follow vague heavy metal blueprints. “White Christmas” is imbued with an Iron Maiden gallop and a couple chords from “SMF”. One thing is clear, and that is Dee Snider’s voice still has it. The guy is a hell of a singer, period. He’s joined by Lita Ford on “I’ll be Home for Christmas”, in the style of Twisted’s original epic ballad “The Price”. Unfortunately this one stinks like Christmas cheese that should have been thrown out last year. A shouty “Silver Bells” is done with a splash of AC/DC, but ends up sounding more like Poison. Bassist/producer Mark “The Animal” Mendoza has a pretty kickass bass solo, though.
Judas Priest’s “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'” is the foundation of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”, and it is at this point that you realise a whole album of this stuff is a bit too much. “Let It Snow” is given the doomy treatment, as an amalgam with Black Sabbath’s “Children of the Grave”. I suppose the doomy direction does go better with lines like “The weather outside is frightful”. Maybe Dee & company are on to something here, but I’m not too sure about the Sabbathy version of “Deck the Halls” with echoes of “War Pigs” and “Never Say Die”.
“Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” is a little dull, and “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is too long, as it often is. The only version of “Twelve Days of Christmas” anyone needs for a novelty is Bob & Doug McKenzie’s classic. That’ll make your party pop a lot better than Twisted’s version.
Let’s check some boxes. Is this album:
- Fun? ✓ (sometimes)
- Heavy? ✓
- Twisted? ✓
- Creative? ✓
All well and good. But will you:
- Listen to it more than once a year? ✘
- Enjoy as much as something else you could have played instead? ✘
- Be able to use more than one or two songs for your Christmas party? ✘
- Ever really look forward to hearing it again? ✘
It is good that A Twisted Christmas brought the band the kind of success they deserved, but it is truly a shame that it is the final Twisted studio album. They were always considered a joke to the critics, they shouldn’t have gone out on vinyl as a joke.