Review: We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year [2008]

Two holiday seasons ago gave life to A Twisted Christmas, last year a Monster Ballad Xmas, and this year our favorite rock artists offer us another hard rocking Christmas on We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year.

This totally rad compilation features 12 holiday favorites by rock legends such as Alice Cooper, Lemmy, Dio, Tony Iommi, Dave Grohl, John 5, Steve Morse, Scott Ian, Tracii Guns, and dUg Pinnick, just to name a few.

Here is the official Gears of Rock track-by-track rundown:

“We Wish You a Merry Xmas” featuring Jeff Scott Soto, Bruce Kulick, Bob Kulick, Chris Wyse, and Ray Luzier opens up this seasonal delight. Initially, the mix of the tune sounds a little rough — no worries, just crank it up! The guitars of the Kulick brothers are heavy and loud, while Jeff Scott Soto [Yngwie Malmsteen] wails on the beautifully redundant vocal track. 8/10

“Run Rudolph Run” featuring Lemmy Kilmister, Billy F. Gibbons, and Dave Grohl is a straight up Xmas classic, if you cherish that grand old Motörhead sound. Dave Grohl [Foo Fighters] rocks the Satan out of the drums, Billy Gibbons [ZZ Top] wails on the guitar like an evil midget with a battle ax, while Lemmy keeps it raw and nasty on the vox [DOWNLOAD] 9/10

“Santa Claus is Coming to Town” featuring Alice Cooper, John 5, Billy Sheehan, and Vinny Appice begins with a chilling Alice Cooper voice over and John 5’s [Rob Zombie] ultra creepy ax work. This is now the most Halloween-esque sounding Christmas album since the soundtrack to Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas. John 5 is such a talented super shredder — he is literally a demon on the guitar. This may be the best track on the record [DOWNLOAD]. 9.5/10

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” featuring Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Rudy Sarzo, and Simon Wright: So it finally happened…Ronnie James Dio and Tony Iommi [Black Sabbath] have finally converted a beautiful holiday tune into an evil celebration. Dio absolutely rules as he delivers lines such as “from Satan’s power and might” and “of a pure Virgin bright.” 9/10

“Silver Bells” featuring Geoff Tate, Carlos Cavazo, James Lomenzo, and Ray Luzier is not a standout cover by any means but it is still good. The members of Queensrÿche, Quiet Riot, Megadeth, and Korn prove to be a highly talented source of metal on this holiday favorite. 8/10

“Little Drummer Boy” featuring dUg Pinnick, George Lynch, Billy Sheehan, and Simon Phillips: Wow! This is a highly refreshing rendition of “Little Drummer Boy.” dUg Pinnick [Kings X] is one of the most underrated voices in metal. George Lynch [Dokken] is still a ridiculously talented lead guitarist and the drum fills of Simon Phillips summons the soul of the legendary Keith Moon. 9/10

“Santa Claus is Back in Town” featuring Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, Steve Morse, Juan Garcia, Marco Mendozza, and Vinny Appice: On this lovely concoction of holiday metal, Steve Morse continues his reign as the best rock guitarist that you probably don’t listen to very often. Owens [Judas Priest/Iced Earth] also stands out with his screaming vocals, especially during the outro. 8.5/10

“Silent Night” featuring Chuck Billy, Scott Ian, Jon Donais, Chris Wyse, and John Tempesta offers an evil rendition of this classic tune — probably the most devastating holiday thrash metal track ever. Ian’s [Anthrax] ax rhythm with Donais’ [Shadows Fall] lead guitar are phenomenal together. 9/10

“Deck The Halls” featuring Oni Logan, Craig Goldy, Tony Franklin, and John Tempesta is the second track on the compilation to feature Tempesta’s [White Zombie/The Cult] solid drumming. Craig Goldy’s guitars kick the listener in the face as we wails like a diseased cow for the full track. 8.5/10

“Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer” featuring Stephen Pearcy, Tracii Guns, Bob Kulick, Billy Sheehan, and Greg Bissonette contains guitar riffs reminiscent of “Tie Your Mother Down” [Queen]. This track continues the compilation’s theme of obnoxious guitar solos and dirty vocals. The listener should be moshing around their bedroom and singing along by this point of the record [DOWNLOAD]. 9/10

“Rockin’ Around The Xmas Tree” featuring Joe Lynn Turner, Bruce Kulick, Bob Kulick, Rudy Sarzo, and Simon Wright keeps the energy high and nasty on this rendition. Even though this tune totally rocks, it pales next to Bruce Springsteen’s live take of it. 8.5/10

“Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” featuring Tommy Shaw, Steve Lukather, Marco Mendoza, and Kenny Aronoff is the mellow closer to this holiday compilation. The original version by John Lennon is one of the greatest songs of all time making it very difficult to recreate his magic. This track would have been better if every metal master on this record got their own line to sing, while the guitarists jammed along, and of course a giant sing along for the “war is over” part…maybe next year. 8/10

Buy We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year

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