Skip to main content

Holiday/Rock Review-Hard Rock Classic Christmas-Various Artists

Release Date: October 7, 2014
Label: Legacy Recordings

Christmas music and hard rock are not two genres that people generally think of as going together, but that is about to change. I was even skeptical at first, but it did not take long to have me convinced that hard rock and Christmas make for a wonderful pair.  The Classic Christmas Hard Rock Album features eleven classic Christmas songs, with each being performing by a master of hard rock.  The likes of Jeff Beck, Steve Vai, Ted Nugent, Alex Lifeson, Joe Satraini, and others bring their rock talents to make music magic with a little help from the Christmas Spirit.

If there were any doubts about whether or not hard rock versions of classic Christmas songs could work, then Jeff Beck’s rendition of “Amazing Grace” should burn any and all of those doubts away.  “Amazing Grace” has a great spiritual, holiday atmosphere with some elegant guitar work to really solidify the emotional impact of the song.  Next up is Alex Lifeson’s “The Drummer Boy” and it does a very good job of capturing the solemnness of the traditional sound. “Silent Night / Holy Night Jam” by Joe Satraini is a real treat, as it does a wonderful job of respecting the original sound while putting his own unique touch to it.  It makes for one lively tune.

Steve Vai is brilliant, as usual, on “Christmas Time Is Here.” It is a great guitar lead song, with a crisp rocking sound, and the background instruments are wonderfully used to add a nice touch of Christmas atmosphere.  Steve Lukather’s “The Christmas Song” is a hopping rock song.  It sounds so natural that it leaves you thinking that it was meant to be a hard rock song all along. Stuart Hamm’s “Sleigh Ride” is a pleasant and lively version of a fun classic. It perfectly captures the playfulness of the original.

“O Come All Ye Faithful” is one of the standout songs.  Trevor Rabin probably does the best job at modernizing a Christmas classic.  It is the best of both worlds, with the old and new colliding to make this incredible song.  Nothing is lost from the original and I think that the quality has increased.  Ted Nugent’s
“Deck the Halls” really rocks and rolls with tons of energy.  Following it up is Robin Trower’s reverent version of “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”  Rob Halford’s “We Three Kings” makes for a brilliant ending for this hard rock Christmas album.  It comes out blazing and rides that wave all the way to the end.

All in all, The Classic Christmas Hard Rock Album is a great rock album and great Christmas album, as well.  The classic versions that we have grown to love over the years are timeless classics, and these hard rock versions add to their already rich tradition.  These songs might not replace your favorites, but they will give them a run for their money.  This album will definitely add a little spice to any Christmas party, and should be another one to add to the album rotation every year. 

4.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Amazing Grace, O Come All Ye Faithful, Deck the Halls

Brian McKinnon
November 26, 2014
Review Provided By Write A Music Review

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

New Age Instrumental Review: Anaya Music-AONKI – Gateway of Love (Cosmic New Age Music)

Release Date: February 2, 2018 Label: Anaya Music Website
Around this time a year ago I had the experience of listening to Anaya Music and providing coverage of Eternity.  It was an uplifting experience and a memorable listen as I recall.
Now with February drawing closer AONKI – Gateway of Love (Cosmic New Age Music) will arrive.
Once again, the recording features several exceptional collaborations between Anaya Music and a live virtual symphony orchestra recorded in the heart of Prague, the capital of the Czech republic. The orchestra combines members of the finest ensembles in Prague, including the Czech Philharmonic.
I think they should rename the orchestra to “The Live Spiritual Orchestra.” If you have been exposed to Anaya Music you will understand what that means. If this is your first journey with this music you will find out very quickly. Either way, this is spiritually uplifting music that leaves a smile on your soul. It’s like the term digital footprint, there is an everlasting m…

Jazz Fusion-Rock-Pop-Funk Review: Project Grand Slam-Trippin’

Release Date: June 29, 2018 Label: Cakewalk Records Website
This will be my sixth voyage into the world of Project Grand Slam (PGS). So, what is this experience going to be like this time? I would expect the same great combination of jazz, rock, funk, and pop that I always enjoyed.

Just so you all know PGS is: Robert Miller (bass), Mario Castro (saxophones), Bayden Goyo (keyboards), Joel E. Mateo (drums), Guillermo Barron Rios (percussion), Tristan Clark (guitar) and the beautiful Ms. Ziarra Washington (vocals).

So, now we are Trippin’ into 2018 with PGS. And the first track titled “1972” was like turning on the radio and hearing the Average White Band or Tower of Power. Yes sir, on the AM dial, it came blaring through back in those days. 

The title track is a real gas too. This number has some great sax from Castro and a killer rhythm section courtesy of Miller and Mateo. It shines the spotlight on them clear and bright. Let me tell you, those two are like the dynamic duo, kind of like a p…

New Biography on The Cars Singer/Bassist Benjamin Orr by Vermont Writer Joe Milliken to be Published November 2018!

Bellows Falls, VT – Veteran music journalist Joe Milliken recently announced a publishing deal with the Lanham, Maryland-based publisher Rowman & Littlefield Publishers to produce his first book, a biography about the late Benjamin Orr. Orr was the co-founder, co-lead singer, and bassist for the platinum-selling rock band The Cars. Titled Let’s Go! Benjamin Orr and The Cars, a release date is set for November 15, 2018.

Often considered the band’s heartthrob, Orr possessed an incredible voice, diverse musical talent and rare stage presence, all balanced by a magnetic, yet enigmatic personality, striking good looks, and a relentless determination to reach rock stardom. Born Benjamin Orzechowski (aka “Benny Eleven Letters”) and raised in the Cleveland suburb of Parma Heights, Orr was, prior to becoming a world-famous rock star with The Cars, a “teen star” as a house band musician for the nationally syndicated television show Upbeat.

A few years later Ben met his musical partner and …