Christmas Single Slam: Marty Friedman, Vantablack Warship, Orion’s Reign, Forlesen, Quicksilver Night, The Shredderz, From Ashes to New, Sullvation, King of Cups, Disconnected Souls, Corners of Sanctuary, EELS, and The Dollyrots!

It’s the final single slam of the year, and as tradition, this one features singles with a festive spin released over the past few weeks. This Christmas single slam features Marty Friedman, Vantablack Warship, Orion’s Reign, Forlesen, Quicksilver Night, The Shredderz, From Ashes to New, Sullvation, King of Cups, Disconnected Souls, Corners of Sanctuary, EELS, and The Dollyrots. You can read our thoughts about this festive singles below.

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Marty Friedman – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Taken from the new Christmas compilation album ‘A Very Metal Christmas Vols. 1 & 2’, legendary guitar virtuoso, formerly of metal giants Megadeth, Marty Friedman has covered the Judy Garland beloved ballad ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!’

If there is one guarantee about this festive offering, it is that the guitar is going to absolutely sing. After all, we are talking about Marty Friedman here. He is a legend and gives a beloved Christmas song a guitar-driven dramatic and mellow twist, alongside the wonderful talents of Hiyori Okuda. It’s a very lovable cover that will make you feel all warm inside.

Vantablack Warship – All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)

Montreal, Canada’s Vantablack Warship have released their cover of 1944 classic ‘All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)’, which is featured on the holiday compilation album ‘Noël in Extremis II’. Released digitally and on CD by label BAM Co. Heavy on November 10th.

Says the band:

Over the years Vantablack Warship has seen lots of people get banged up in the pit, some actually losing their two front teeth. We thought, how suitable to do a song about someone asking for their teeth for Christmas, albeit from a different vantage point. We’ve really massacred this holiday classic and added a little Vantablack Warship spin to it. Can you spot the 3-second homage to Metallica’s Damage Inc.?

Now this is a lot of fun, not just exceptionally heavy, but filled with all manner of Christmas vibes. Vantablack Warship want you head-banging this holiday season, and this entertaining cover is the thing to make you do that. We do love it when a lot of effort is put into turning a Christmas classic into something quite different, and this falls into that category. Check it out here.

Orion’s Reign – A Lot to Be Done by Christmas

The heavy power metal collective that is Orion’s Reign, have shared a new Christmas song called ‘A Lot to Be Done by Christmas’. The track is featured on their upcoming same-titled EP, due out December 25th.

This is a wonderful original festive tune that nails the atmosphere of the holiday season and the urgency to get things done as Christmas day approaches. It’s really catchy and simple, even with overblown festive touches that put a smile on the face. The highlight is a really great ‘folky’ twist that freshens the track up right when it needs it.

Forlesen – Red Water (Christmas Mourning)

Forlesen draws from dark ambient, epic doom, black metal and slowcore, to create a dynamic and experimental sound. The quartet have now unveiled their black metal cover of Type O Negative’s ‘Red Water (Christmas Mourning)’.

Vocalist and guitarist Ascalaphus comments:

Type O Negative were foundational for me, serving as my gateway into doom metal and remaining one of my favorite bands since. In a spirit of Saturnian revelry and sincere mournfulness, we offer this cover of the Drab Four’s grimmest of holiday songs, one that emphasizes the duality that made them such a special band – embers hardly alight after the evening’s celebration, a dark chill entering the room, a sense of both grandeur and nostalgia, along with a very sharp sense of loneliness and despair.

In our cover, then, we simply implemented that duality through the black metal prism. A lushness of melody and atmosphere that provides the backdrop to basically any and every Type O Negative song, cut to the core with the brute strength of raw, piercing, unfiltered emotion. In many ways this is Type O Negative’s bombast taken one step further, and their cruelty and hardship perhaps one step further than that.

Type O Negative did a lot of covers and always made it sound like themselves. There’s an irony to the fact that for a band who could make whatever they touched their own, so many other bands now try (and fail) to imitate them or are fairly literal in their interpretation. So paradoxically, I think the best way to honor what made a song of theirs special is to reinterpret it.

God Jul! Io Saturnalia! Ho ho ho…

It’s a big ask to cover such a classic Type O Negative tune, but credit to Forlesen, they don’t just nail the Type O vibes but give it their own flavour too. Dark, atmospheric, moody, and heavy, it’s the coldest Christmas track you will hear all year and it’s not likely to liven up a party, but you won’t be able to stop listening to it. The more time spent in its company, the more it takes hold. Wonderful stuff. Check it out here.

Quicksilver Night – Whispers in the Snow

Quicksilver Night, known for their distinctive blend of progressive rock, have delivered the exclusive Bandcamp release of their enchanting Christmas single, ‘Whispers in the Snow’, featuring the soulful voice of Dark Beauty’s Liz Tapia and the exceptional guitar skills of Marco Iacobini.

A beautiful piece of music that captures the cold of winter and the warmth of Christmas. It feels like a story-piece, mainly because of the magnetic narration and dreamy vocals of Liz Tapia. It’s a soulful piece of music that is light and airy, but with a delightful infectiousness that comes from the melodies.

 

 

The Shredderz – I Don’t Remember Christmas

Rarely do songs come along that make a timeless mark in the annals of holiday music. Classics like Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’, Wham!’s ‘Last Christmas’ and Brenda Lee’s ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’. are enduring songs shared by millions each year around this festive time. Masters of metal The Shredderz are likely not one of these. However, for metalheads who need a little more thrashing and bashing to fuel their holiday spirit, look no further.

The Shredderz, Erasmus “Raz” Von Ripper (vocals), Weezel (guitar), Vincent Barlow (guitar), Nigel Barrymore (bass) and Donny Deckman (drums), have stepped to the stage to offer up a new everlasting classic holiday metal anthem, ‘I Don’t Remember Christmas’, that’s a gift of riffs for headbangers everywhere.

Commenting on the new seminal, holiday classic bassist Nigel Barrymore says:

I can’t think of anything worse than anotha xmas song. They make me wanna shove sharp sticks in my ears. But, according to our contract, we had to make one. Well, Me and tha boys figured, why not write a song that we can all relate to and tell the label to piss off at the same time. So, we got drunk and accidentally wrote the best xmas song ever…

Sure to be every metalhead’s favourite new festive anthem, The Shredderz aren’t taking themselves too seriously here, but put the effort in when it comes to delivering a frenzied festive head-banger. Play it at the right time at a Christmas party, and it will even have your nan throwing the horns and air guitaring. Check it out here.

From Ashes to New – All I Want for Christmas Is You

21st century rock vanguards From Ashes to New have released a spirited rock cover of Mariah Carey’s iconic holiday staple ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’. Originally released last December, the cover has been re-released with a suitably festive video in tow.

Says From Ashes to New vocalist Matt Brandyberry:

We always thought it would be sick to do a Christmas song and what better than Mariah Carey’s iconic ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You. We wanted to see what the world would think of a minor feel to a major song but weren’t expecting to hear that Mariah herself loved the track!

Let’s be honest, we really don’t need any more rock and metal covers of Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You. It has been done to death and it’s going to take something really special to make it feel even slightly fresh. Sadly, this is not the case with this cover. It’s fine, it’s a heavier version that shows the layered talents of From Ashes to Now effectively, but it’s just not special in anyway. A bit bland in places, boring for the most part, there have been far more effective versions than this.

Sullvation – Silent Night

Sullvation have released their latest Christmas song ‘Silent Night’ just in time for the holidays. Despite the last-minute decision, the band has managed to whip up a festive tune that is sure to get you in the holiday spirit.

It’s another metal version of Silent Night. Yay. Ok, sarcasm aside, Sullvation do a damn fine job of covering the over-covered hymn and really do try to give it a different spin. It’s easy to fall in love with the darker and colder vibes it gives off, and there are enough fresh touches to not make it seem humdrum and lazy. Credit where it is due, this is a solid version of Silent Night. Check it out here.

King of Cups – The War on Christmas

This holiday season, King of Cups is bringing the gift of laughter with their latest release, ‘The War on Christmas’. Set to be the unofficial anthem for anyone tired of the so-called ‘war on Christmas,’ this tongue-in-cheek masterpiece takes a light-hearted jab at those who take the holiday festivities a tad too seriously.

Fantastic stuff from King of Cups, who are clearly had a blast creating this over the top and tongue in cheek Christmas banger. Both leaning heavily into the festive side of things but also giving it a thumping and anthemic rock feel. It’s not just a lot of fun, it’s also absurdly catchy. Everyone will be adding this to their Christmas playlists once heard. Check it out here.

Disconnected Souls – Last Christmas

Cinematic metal act Disconnected Souls have released their 2023 festive offering following what has become a tradition of sorts for the quintet. Beginning in 2018 with ‘Walking in the Air’, the band have since given a Christmas classic an eclectic twist each year. Now, in 2023, it’s finally time for WHAM!’s Last Christmas to receive a Disconnected Souls reimagining.

Band leader Fletch comments:

If you’ve followed DS for any length of time, you’ll probably know that we love doing reinterpretations of Christmas classics, and therefore it was kinda inevitable that at some point we would find ourselves faced with ‘Last Christmas’. To be brutally honest, none of us are big fans of the original! However, we wanted to see what we could do with it and were particularly keen to make one of our friends happy (who had been repeatedly suggesting it). We ended up staying surprisingly accurate to the original music but focussed on vocal FX / reducing the tempo and adding some more melancholy instrumentation. As always, we hope you enjoy and happy holidays!

If there is one guarantee about a Disconnected Souls track, it’s that it’s going to be unusual, even when it’s a cover. Last Christmas is a perfect track for them to give a fresh take on, and that is certainly what they do. Turning the beloved pop hit into something super-synthy and cinematically different. All while staying completely true to the vibes of the original. If you love the original, you’re going to find a lot to enjoy here too.

Corners of Sanctuary – Get on the List

New wave of traditional American heavy metal band Corners of Sanctuary (COS) are back with their yearly tradition, a festive-themed tune to head-bang to. Over the last 13 years, Corners of Sanctuary has released a number of holiday songs, both original and classic favourites, as part of their annual Merry Metal Xmas. This year, it’s ‘Get on the List’, and according to the band was inspired by:

A family member while we were promoting last year’s single, “Christmas Together”. The thought behind it was to get people excited for the season by encouraging them to be nice and get on the list, ensuring that Santa doesn’t miss them. It’s a fun, upbeat song with a positive message. It doesn’t hurt to be nice.

We do enjoy a bit of Corners of Sanctuary, especially when it’s Christmas time, and once again they deliver an enjoyable slice of holiday spirit. Get On the List is a little over two minutes of memorable classic metal heaviness with Christmas front and centre. It has a slight punk-tinge too, which just helps it sound even more like a festive sing-along track. Check it out here.

EELS – Christmas, Why You Gotta Do Me Like This

Critically acclaimed rock group EELS have released an animated lyric video for their latest single ‘Christmas, Why You Gotta Do Me Like This’.

An alternative yuletide ballad narrating a tale of unrequited love at Christmas time, the song follows the band’s previous festive offerings ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Cool This Christmas’ and ‘Christmas is Going to the Dogs’.

Says principal singer/songwriter E:

Everyone should have at least three Christmas songs in their catalog. I’m sorry it took me so long.

‘Christmas, Why You Gotta Do Me Like This’ appearS on EELS’ compilation album, EELS So Good: Essential EELS, Vol.2 out now via E Works/[PIAS].

A soft and melodramatic effort that harks back to the more ‘ballady’ days of festive tunes. However, listen to the lyrics, and you’ll find that EELS aren’t taking themselves too seriously here. It’s a bit of a foot-tapper, even if the melody is delivered in a mellow way. The word that constantly comes to mind as it plays out is ‘sweet’. Check it out here.

The Dollyrots – Auld Lang Syne

The Dollyrots, Kelly Ogden (bass and vocals), Luis Cabezas (guitar and vocals), with Simon Hancock as their current touring drummer are ready to kick 2024 into high gear as they announce a January tour run with Bowling for Soup and Lit.

Before we say goodbye to 2023 the band has released their punked up yet sentimental version of the NYE classic ‘Auld Lang Syne’ out now on Wicked Cool Records.

Says Kelly Ogden:

We’ve done Christmas originals and covers, a Thanksgiving song… figured we should round it out with something to play at New Years. Usually when Auld Lang Syne comes on I feel a bit wistful… I mean maybe it’s the champagne but it’s also time to reflect on time passed and what we hope for the future. Hopefully, the future is bright and full of goodness, so we made our version reflect that! And put in a little request for all of us to be better to one another. Maybe this year we can feel happy and hopeful when we hear this version of a classic.

Another over-covered piece, but it’s nice to hear a version that goes for a more positive angle. The Dollyrots are a very talented group and this energised punk-rock version does hit nicely. It will make your New Year’s party bounce, which is the highest praise that can be given to a piece that has been done to death.




Author

  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!

Marty Friedman, Vantablack Warship, Orion's Reign, Forlesen, Quicksilver Night, The Shredderz, From Ashes to New, Sullvation, King of Cups, Disconnected Souls, Corners of Sanctuary, EELS, and The Dollyrots!
  • Marty Friedman – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - 7/10
    7/10
  • Vantablack Warship – All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth) - 8/10
    8/10
  • Orion's Reign – A Lot to Be Done by Christmas - 8/10
    8/10
  • Forlesen – Red Water (Christmas Mourning) - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Quicksilver Night – Whispers in the Snow - 7/10
    7/10
  • The Shredderz – I Don’t Remember Christmas - 8/10
    8/10
  • From Ashes to New – All I Want for Christmas Is You - 5/10
    5/10
  • Sullvation – Silent Night - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • King of Cups – The War on Christmas - 9/10
    9/10
  • Disconnected Souls – Last Christmas - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Corners of Sanctuary – Get on the List - 8/10
    8/10
  • EELS - Christmas, Why You Gotta Do Me Like This - 6/10
    6/10
  • The Dollyrots – Auld Lang Syne - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
7.4/10
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