It’s that time of year again when innocent metalheads can’t even go to the local supermarket or pub without having our ears attacked by Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You, Wham’s Last Christmas, BandAid's Don’t They Know Its Christmas, or satan forbid, whatever the latest talent comp winners cover of a generic Christmas song is being flogged that year. It’s enough to strip the joy from the festive season and make us all into one big Grinch!
The good news is this is a struggle as old as the metal genre itself and the wonderful people of the metal world have been working on a solution to the festive season noise pollution in earnest. In celebration of these most excellent of souls, and to save your ears from the torment of carols, we've put together this playlist of the very best metal Christmas hits. This is a Maniacs Very Metal Christmas Special Playlist.
Twisted Sister - Oh Come All Ye Faithful
Dee Snider and co do the dark lord's work here, turning this torturous drag of a traditional Christmas song into a damn fun time by channelling their own megahit We're Not Gonna Take It.
Sabaton - Christmas Truce
Sabaton does Sabaton things in this tribute to the legendary 'Christmas Truce' of World War 1 which saw British and German soldiers put down their weapons and meet in no man's land for an exchange of gifts and a game of football. Sabaton goes all-in on this, giving us metalheads a Christmas battle metal banger that actually gets way closer to the supposed true spirit of Christmas than most commercial Christmas tunes.
Korn - Jingle Balls
It's Korn, playing Jingle Bells. Don't overthink it.
August Burns Red - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Tech metalcore monoliths August Burns Red are infamous for their festive season recordings, having put together dozens of covers of traditional Christmas tunes, they've soundtracked many a holiday gathering here at the Maniacs office. This cover is one of their best and one of their most fun. Crank it.
Corey Taylor - X-M@$
Corey Taylor goes country-rock on this jolly anti-Christmas jam, pairing his trademark wit with a musical accompaniment and vocal delivery that owes a bit to Mike Ness from Social Distortion.
An unusual turn, but a damn good time nonetheless. If you don't dig it, "fa-la-la-la-la go fuck ya self"
Type O Negative - Red Water (Christmas Morning)
Perhaps the doomiest Christmas song ever written this is peak Type O Negative, atmospheric, depressive, gloomy, and all built around the melody and lyrics of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. Play it for your goth cousin, they'll understand.
Spinal Tap - Christmas With The Devil
This is just pure Spinal Tap musical comedic gold.
Amon Amarth - Viking Christmas
This is every bit as overblown and deathy as you think it'll be and we mean that as a compliment!
Amon Amarth does what Amon Amarth do, only with a lyrical focus on flipping the narrative of revisionist Christian Christmas, they want the holiday back for the Vikings, or at least that's what we think they want anyway. It's an absolute rager either way.
The Ongoing Concept - Jingle Bell Rock
This cover is fucking wild. Part of an honestly quite fantastic Solid State Records compilation Midnight Clear, The Ongoing Concept turn one of the best Christmas songs into a groovy, post-hardcore meets metalcore melting pop of ideas that is just too much fun to deny.
King Diamond - No Presents For Christmas
You know the one, where the corpse painted, admitted Satanist gleefully sings and cackles about denying you present on Christmas. This is some genius level skullduggery from King Diamond, who seems to write undisputed belters even when he doesn't appear to be trying all that hard.
GWAR + Mutoid Man - Stab Into Christmas
Sorry, not sorry, Elton John.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Christmas Dreams
This is just beautiful. Truly. A Christmas metal opera for the ages. Fun fact, this album went double-platinum in the USA.
Halford - We Three Kings
Judas Priest frontman and metal deity turned his considerable talents to the timeless melodic composition of We Three Kings and the enjoyment is undeniable. All hail Rob Halford.
Blind Guardian - Merry Xmas Everybody (Slade)
Slade had a well-earned reputation for writing songs consisting entirely of hooks, and on this faithful yet joyously overcooked cover of their Christmas hit Merry Xmas Everybody, Blind Guardian turn up the volume on every single one of them. This is a perfect metal Christmas tune.
Avatar - Construction Of Souls
again. Construction of Souls was written to be the musical equivalent to what Die Hard is for Christmas movies and they've absolutely nailed that description. A dark, brooding, punishing, metal song that takes a rather sinister view of the holiday season, it is to be released with a children's book portraying the 'not very child-friendly everyday life' in Santa's workshop. Fuck yeah.
Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Rudy Sarzo, Simon Wright - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
What happens when a bunch of metal gods come together to make a headbanging cover of a Christmas classic, a Christmas bloody miracle is what. Dio is in wildly good form here, and he is more than ably backed by one of the men credited with inventing the bloody genre, who riffs up a storm. This rules. It is also lifted from the best metal Christmas record ever recorded. Check it out now.
Lacuna Coil - Naughty Christmas
This rather dark Christmas delight from Italian gothic metal band Lacuna Coil is an ode to the very real fear of Krampus that exists in the Children of Europe. The nonsensical nature of the lyrics aside, this is actually a really good example of what Lacuna Coil do very, very well. The riff is sick and the vocals are as always, superb.
Halestorm - Mistress For Christmas (AC/DC)
Lzzy Hale and co have a blast covering this Christmas classic from AC/DC which was originally penned about the playboy antics of early '90s Donald Trump. We could have included the original, but hearing Lzzy's tone here we couldn't help but include this version, she absolutely rips it up, while the band have fun mimicking their idols. A bloody good time.
Christopher Lee - Little Drummer Boy
This fucking shreds. The acting god amongst men was 90 when he released this. 90. All class. RIP.
The Darkness - Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End)
The Darkness give Christmas their trademark hysterionics and the results are predictably over-the-top and equally predictably brilliant. Just have fun with it, they did, all the way to the #2 spot on the UK charts.
Sonata Arctica - Christmas Spirits
What would Christmas be without a bit of power metal? Empty is what! Enter the mighty Finnish folk from Sonata Arctica and this epic metal tune about Santa accidentally making deadly defective toys in his workshop. Impending injury or death of Children on Christmas morning has never sounded as joyful as it does when accompanied by the ridiculously catchy vocal melody!
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