Charlie Parra del Riego is a Peruvian guitarist and composer known for his work in Difonía, M.A.S.A.C.R.E, Kobra and the Lotus as well as an extensive solo career. One that includes cover albums which brings us to this review.
Released in 2012, Merry Heavy Metal Christmas sees the talented guitarist shred and solo his way through 14 popular and well known Christmas classics. Not the first, nor the last…there is little to divide Charlie Parra del Riego’s album and the many similar ones that exist. It plays it safe with guitar covers of the likes of Jingle Bells, Silent Night, We Wish You A Merry Christmas and March of the Nutcracker.
It’s all very familiar for those who enjoy their Christmas metal music. However that certainly doesn’t make it a bad album. There’s plenty of variety in styles with more upbeat numbers playing off against ones with a more dour approach. As guitarist go, Charlie Parra del Riego is certainly a very talented man. The way he manipulates the instrument to fit these Christmas classics shows that.
It’s just hard to get too excited about another guitar led version of Carol of the Bells or Joy to the World again. The two original pieces on this album is where the real quality is though. Santa is in Trouble is catchy as hell and nails the Christmas feel perfectly. While Snowball Fight embraces the cheese of rock and metal Christmas tunes perfectly.
There’s plenty to enjoy here, especially if you’re not that familiar with Charlie’s work or just haven’t listened to as much Christmas metal as we have. There’s a hell of a lot of fun to be had and even the more serious side doesn’t disappoint. One for the stocking.
Charlie Parra del Riego – Merry Heavy Metal Christmas Full Track Listing:
1. Jingle Bells
2. Carol of the Bells
3. March of the Nutcracker
4. Silent Night
5. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
6. Santa is in Trouble
7. We Wish You A Merry Christmas
8. Joy to the World
9. Hark! The Hearld Angels Sing
10. Snowball Fight
11. Deck the Halls
12. Silent Night (Slow Blues Version)
13. 12 Days of Christmas
Charlie Parra del Riego - Merry Heavy Metal Christmas (Flatdajel Records)