Over at CFMU, I co-host the metal show – Kill, Eat, Exploit the Weak – and we just finished our annual Christmas special. It’s always one of my favourite episodes to put together as the combination of heavy metal and the Christmas season brings two worlds together that normally don’t mix – the extreme speed and sounds of metal and the holiday cheer that comes along with joy, caring, love and all of those mushy feelings.
But as these seemingly contradictory concepts come together, they often produce something that’s actually really fun. It’s a reminder that while metal can be serious, it doesn’t always have to be (and quite frankly, I prefer it not to be).
So, while putting this year’s Christmas episode together, I was inspired to share more of my favourite heavy metal Christmas songs in the hopes that you’d have as much fun with your holiday playlists as I did with mine.
Arnocorps – Jingle All the Way
San Francisco’s Arnocorps perform songs based on the movies of Arnold Schwarzenegger, ranging from “Last Action Hero” to “Hercules In New York.” But, when the holidays arrive and we’re searching for our own Turboman, Arnocorps‘ track “Jingle All the Way” can inspire us to come through when it counts.
Christopher Lee – The Little Drummer Boy
At the age of 90, legendary actor Christopher Lee released the first of a number of heavy metal Christmas singles. While they may not be among the best of songs on this list, Lee’s ambition to produce heavy metal at his age can be an inspiration to us all. RIP.
Forsaken Rite – Frosty the Snow Beast
Alberta, Canada’s Forsaken Rite expands on the Frosty the Snowman lore by giving him a more sinister character with a folk metal twist.
Fight – Christmas Ride
While Halford has released an entire album dedicated to Christmas songs, it’s the “Christmas Ride” single from Fight that is the track I always come back to. Heavy, fast-paced and featuring Halford’s signature screeching vocals, “Christmas Ride” is a great way to get pumped up for the holidays. “Go, Santa, go!”
I Declare War – Jingle Bell Rock
Heavy metal Christmas songs don’t necessarily need to include riffs and blast beats. I Declare War take the approach of using a traditional version of the music of “Jingle Bell Rock” underneath a number of deathcore vocal styles (including the wonderful “squealing piggy”). A great reminder that metal can be so much fun.
J.J. Hrubovcak – Nutcracker – Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
Hate Eternal bassist, J.J. Hrubovcak, released “Death Metal Christmas” in 2013 and has since become a mainstay in my Christmas playlist. While his claim that this album is not intended to “not be a joke, but a serious record”, it’s hard not to have fun with this one.
King Diamond – No Presents For Christmas
No self-respecting Christmas metal list would be complete without it.
Lacuna Coil – Naughty Christmas
It can be tricky to find good original Christmas songs, but Lacuna Coil’s “Naughty Christmas” will get stuck in your head for the rest of the day.
Lemmy Kilmister, Billy F. Gibbons, Dave Grohl – Run Run Rudolph
From the essential metal Christmas album, We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year, Lemmy’s legendary vocals alone make this track one that should be included in every metal holiday season.
Finnland’s heavy metal Christmas super-group, Raskasta Joulua, now have 7 full-length albums out (although most albums have lyrics that are exclusively in Finnish) and feature vocalists including Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica), JP Leppäluoto (Charon), Marco Hietala (Nightwish), Floor Jansen (Nightwish), Tarja Turunen (Nightwish) and so many more.
Riul Doamnei – A Christmas Carol
Italy’s Riul Doamnei released a 36-minute “orchestral metal opera” based on Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”.
Scythia – The Absent Christmas
Another Canadian folk-metal entry in the list, “The Absent Christmas” is Scythia’s second Christmas track and includes all of the metal Christmas essentials: “chimes, choirs, big guitars, and rippin’ solos.”
Stereo Type O Negative – Last Christmas
Have you ever wondered what would happen if Type O Negative covered Wham!? Wonder no longer as the tribute act Stereo Type O Negative connected the dots by doing their rendition of “Last Christmas” in the style of everyone’s favourite band from Vinnland.
Twisted Sister – A Twisted Christmas
We really could have put any of Twisted Sister’s tracks from this album on here, but the video for “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” is full of Twisted fun.
Type O Negative – Red Water (Christmas Mourning)
If the last track wasn’t enough, we’ll add the real thing. From October Rust, Type O’s “Red Water (Christmas Mourning)” tells the story of loss during the holiday season.
Venom – Black Xmas
Christmas doesn’t need to be all full of cheer, does it?
Share some of your favourite heavy metal Christmas songs in the comments below!