August Burns Red Presents: Sleddin’ Hill, A Holiday Album is a 2013 Christmas holiday release that sees the melodic metalcore band combine their hard-hitting sound with the magic of the season. It’s also the band’s first instrumental (mostly) record!
Oh my, this is a hell of a record. A hell of a Christmas album. A hell of a metalcore album. Putting it simply, August Burns Red absolutely smash it here. Sleddin’ Hill, A Holiday Album is an excellently crushing metalcore release that sits comfortably alongside lighter & more seasonable melodies.
If Flurries doesn’t put the biggest smile on your face then Frosty the Snowman will give you face ache from its upbeat & Christmassy sound.
It’s so easy for a band to go two ways with a holiday release. One way sees too much focus on ‘keeping it metal’ while the other sees the cheesy/silly Christmas tunes dominate resulting in little more then a poor cover.
That is not the case with this album. A lot of effort has clearly been put into making it sound authentically Christmassy but without compromising too much on the metal side of things. The lack of vocals does help as there is little room to hide. The riffs, the melodies, the bass & drums, the keyboards and bells are there to be heard in all their glory.
You can hear most of these tracks & instantly know what Christmas song it is even if the metalcore is attempting to cave a hole in your head through pure force.
The blast-beats in God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen are so good. Jingle Bells high, whining guitar riffs may not be original but hasn’t sounded as good as it does here. Oh Holy Night nails the sombre but uplifting tune perfectly.
The only real missteps is that the album is a little too long. 15 tracks in total & a couple could easily have been left on the cutting room floor. Tracks like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Sleddin’ Hill, Winter Wonderland & O Come O Come Emmanual are forgettable. While they don’t take away from the album they don’t enhance it.
The final few tracks bring things around nicely through. A great attempt of doing Carol of the Bells is followed by one of the best versions of We Wish You a Merry Christmas.
The penultimate track is probably the heaviest version of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy you’ll ever hear before the album ends on the cheery sounding Joy to World. At least until the returning vocals kick in & set fire to the Christmas tree while the drums shit on Christmas dinner.
This is a brilliant release & up there as one of the best holiday albums ever.
August Burns Red Presents: Sleddin’ Hill, A Holiday Album Full Track Listing:
2. Frosty the Snowman
3. Sleigh Ride
4. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
5. Jingle Bells
6. Oh Holy Night
7. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
8. Sleddin’ Hill
9. Little Drummer Boy
10. Winter Wonderland
11. O Come O Come Emmanual
12. Carol of the Bells
13. We Wish You a Merry Christmas
14. Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
15. Joy to the World
Check it out yourself via Apple Music below!
August Burns Red Presents: Sleddin’ Hill, A Holiday Album (Solid State Records)
The Final Score - 8/10