X-Mas Project was a German metal project comprising of many famous members and ex-members of Rage, Living Death, Sratovarius, Tankard, Grave Digger, Running Wild, Holy Moses, Capricorn, Axel Rudi Pell, Richthofen, Crossroads, Scanner, Holy Mother and more. The project released an EP in 1985 called ‘Bangin ‘Round the X-Mas Tree’ followed by the same release with a few more tracks the year after in album format. One more release came in 1995 and that was that.
At least until 2002 when Rusty Diamond Records saw fit to combine the releases into a compilation and release it under the title of ‘Bangin ‘Round the X-Mas Tree’.
It’s a deep dive for us and we had to do some serious digging to find this and work out just what it actually was. We’re still not quite sure just who performed on a lot of these tracks. We can though, confidently say that it is a line-up of epic heavy metal proportions.
However, there’s no escaping the age of a lot of these tracks and the gulf in class between some of them. A lot of these tracks sound positively straight from the 80s. Galloping rhythms, frantic riffing and punchy groove warped by the Christmas tunes they’re focusing on.
Some of the highlights from the first half include a roaring Mary’s Boy Child, a particularly evil sounding Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht and a groovy, fun head-banging version of White Christmas. Whereas the second half is all about Leise rieselt der Schnee, Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home) and another version of Stille Nacht, helilige Nacht that is markedly different to the other.
At 17 tracks long, one of which is an outro, it’s probably far too long meaning the lesser tracks stand out a fair bit more than the quality ones. Regardless, there’s nothing outstanding here. Nothing overtly memorable. It’s just a forgotten slice of Christmas metal history which certainly makes it worth checking out alone.
X-Mas Project – Bangin ‘Round the X-Mas Tree Full Track Listing:
1. Mary’s Boy Child
2. Jingle Bells
3. Alle Jahre wieder
4. Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht
5. White Christmas
6. Winter Wonderland
7. Run Rudolph Run
8. Rocking Around the X-Mas Tree
9. Oh Tannenabum
10. Leise rieselt der Schnee
11. Sleigh Ride
12. Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)
13. The Christmas Song
14. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
15. Great King Wenzeslaw
16. Stille Nacht, helilige Nacht
X-Mas Project - Bangin 'Round the X-Mas Tree (Rusty Diamond Records)
The Final Score - 6/10