A Brutal Christmas - The Season In Chaos
Angels We Have Heard on High - Archer
2) God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Kekel
3) Mary Did You Know - Royal Anguish
4) Coventry Carol (Lully Lullay) - Frank's Enemy
5) Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence / O Come Emmanuel - Frost Like Ashes
6) The Little Drummer Boy - Tortured Conscience
7) O Come All Ye Faithful - Hearken
8) Child Messiah - Death Requisite
9) O Holy Night - EverSINcEve
10) God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Take 2) - Faithbomb
11) Joy to the World - Pure Defiance
We've all heard stuff like "A Country Christmas", "A Bluegrass Christmas", "Christmas in the Ghetto" or whatever, but this one is definitely unique. The title is a bit misleading, as every song is exactly "brutal", but after hearing a variety of Metal versions of some of your favorite holiday tunes, you'll either love it or hate it. Trans Siberian Orchestra is great, but the songs all sound very Christmasy. This is the first CD I've heard that contains heavy versions, or at least a form of heaviness, of classic holiday tunes. Death and Black Metal. Industrial, Punk, and Classic Metal. This CD has a little bit of something for everybody. Let's go down the disc track by track, shall we:
Archer - "Angels We Have Heard On High". Classic metal goodness is what we find here. With just the right amount of thrash and blast beats. When the guitar solo kicks in, it's like a trip back to late 80's chugga-chugga-chugga Speed Metal. A personal favorite.
Kekal - "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen". Probably the only Black Metal band that I know of from Indonesia. Only one complaint with these guys...the obvious use of a drum machine. Everything else destroys. Maybe a bit much on the high pitched clean vocals, and the techno/hiphop/acoustic interlude was a little weird, but other than that, it's a standout track. Kind of like Dark Tranquillity mixed with Dissection.
Royal Anguish - "Mary Did You Know?". Nice and melodic guitar oriented metal with keyboard overtones. Vocals are clean, and the production is fairly good. This is a far cry from their "Shocking The Priest" demo I have from back in 1993.
Frank's Enemy - "Coventry Carol (Lully Lullay)". Julio Rey is definitely not able to be pinned down musically. It's unlike anything he's ever done. The closest thing I can think of in describing it is, it's a doomsday/apocalyptic/industrial/ambient epic. If he did more stuff like this, he'd fit in with most of the Cold Meat Industry bands. After a couple listens, you'll dig it.
Frost Like Ashes - "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence / O Come Emmanuel". Another standout track on the disc is this. I've reviewed it before. Read that review here.
Tortured Conscience - "The Little Drummer Boy". A slow and grinding tune that you won't soon forget....PAAAA RUUUUUUMMMM PAAAA PPAAA PUMMMMMMM!!!! I can't tell if the vocals are real or if they're processed. All I know, is if those vocals aren't overdubbed, it's some of the most vicious sounds I've ever heard...besides Luke Renno of Crimson Thorn of course :)
Hearken - "O Come All Ye Faithful" - If it had better production, it'd be a favorite. The vocals are reminiscent of Living Sacrifice in their "Nonexistent" days. The drum machine is obvious. A nice effort. I'd like to hear more of these guys.
Death Requisite - "Child Messiah". This song runs the gamut from slow to mid-paced to speedy. The vocals range from Black Metal shrieks to Death Metal growls. There's also a pretty cool organ outro to finish up the song. Nothing special, but listenable. Give it a listen or two, and see for yourself.
EverSINcEve - "Oh Holy Night". I found myself skipping this track every time I listen to the CD. With really awful droning gothic vocals ala bad Moonspell, and a generic stop-go-stop-go riff, this track is just annoying. I prefer Eric Cartman's version. There are some brutal background vocals, and my advice is use those more, and get rid of Pavarotti. Worst of all, it's the longest track on the disc, clocking in at 7:06.
Faithbomb - "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen". Woohoo! Old school punk with a touch of modern hardcore. Every now and again, this style piques my interest, but I'm not sure I could deal with a whole CD full. Variety is the spice of life.
Pure Defiance - "Joy To The World". This tune had much promise, but in the end just seems to ramble on. Just when you think it's over, they do another verse. It's the second longest track on the disc, and the second worst. The vocals are nice and melodic, the guitars have some good tone, but I think the chimes and jingle bells push this one right over the edge.
Well, there you go. The production varies from track to track, but overall, it's a cool CD...even if it does contain a couple stinkers. Take it over to Grandma's house next Christmas and see how well it goes over.
MP3 Sound Clips (MP3 Disclaimer)