Is There Anybody Out There?
by R. Scott Bolton
Okay. So a lot of bands do Christmas songs. From GEORGE THOROGOOD to TOM PETTY to CHICAGO to BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, a Christmas song is sure to generate some sales simply because it's the season.
But how many hard rock/heavy metal bands have recorded Christmas tunes? Sure, there's the classic SPINAL TAP number, "Christmas with the Devil" and the legendary "Fuck Christmas" by FEAR, but what else is out there? Isn't there any Christmas music a hard rock/heavy metal fan can listen to without being embarrassed?
Actually, there is. We've discovered three albums (maybe four) that rock with the Christmas spirit.
First and foremost, there's the two Christmas albums by rock guitarist GARY HOEY. Aptly named "Ho Ho Hoey" and "Ho Ho Hoey II." These two CDs are by far our favorite Christmas CDs. "Ho Ho Hoey" begins with a heavy version of "Twelve Days of Christmas" that will leave metal fans with a bad case of headbang neck. Hoey then rips through a host of Christmas classics, giving them a pounding, furious rock'n'roll sound that is thick, chunky and still very familiar. Even the acoustic pieces are given an unmistakable rock'n'roll feel. Other titles on "Ho Ho Hoey" include "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," "Jingle Bells," "Little Drummer Boy," "Blue Christmas," "Silent Night" and "Auld Lang Syne."
Hoey's second Christmas album, "Ho Ho Hoey II," is more of the same from Hoey, including a terrific gritty version of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch." With "Ho Ho Hoey II" he adds perhaps a little more virtuoso and a little less metal chunk, but it doesn't matter. This second album is as powerful as the first. Covered here are "Winter Wonderland," "Greensleeves," "Feliz Navidad" and "Deck the Halls" as well as the original "Ho Ho Hoey."
Hoey's two CDs are our very favorites for the holiday season. You can order them now by clicking the album cover photos on this page.
New this year is TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA's "The Christmas Attic." Produced by SAVATAGE/AEROSMITH producer Paul O'Neill, "The Christmas Attic" is a combination of the ALAN PARSONS PROJECT, MEAT LOAF, PINK FLOYD and a little FATES WARNING thrown in. The second part of a planned trilogy (the first part was "Christmas and Other Stories"), "The Christmas Attic" is a solid rock record with a more traditional twist than the Hoey recordings. A Christmas concept album, "The Christmas Attic" is the story of the Lord's youngest angel returning to Earth on a mission - to observe humanity and to leave behind the one gift that will most benefit mankind. The gift, however, must be found on Earth.
"Trans-Siberian Orchestra crosses all age and cultural barriers," says Jason Flom, President of Lava Records. "The majesty of the music and the depth of the message bring a new magic to the holiday season. Creator Paul O'Neill is a gifted artist and a true renaissance man."
I couldn't have said it better myself. Flom is right - although "The Christmas Attic" is a solid, rocking CD, it isn't hard enough to offend anyone nor is it so soft as to annoy those of us who like it rough. And the execution of the concept succeeds flawlessly.
We haven't heard the first CD in the trilogy, "Christmas Eve and Other Stories," but - if it's anywhere as complex, entertaining and inspiring as "The Christmas Attic," then it's a keeper as well.
What are your favorite Christmas CDs? We know there have got to be other hard rock/heavy metal Christmas classics out there. What are they? Let us know by dropping us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Revised: 21 May 2015 03:10:08 -0400.