Christmas songs have a dual purpose. When they first start to find some radio airplay, they usually serve as background music for any trip to the supermarket or shopping centre you may be forced into. About 15 seconds after that first service is provided; the subsequent use for Christmas songs is purely for festive themed torture. Yes, they may provide us with the first indicators that the holiday season is approaching, but as soon as their signals are received, whether it is Wham! or The Pogues, the selection of tracks should be sent packing.
It’s not difficult to see the appeal for metal bands to see the opportunity of turning such a traditional song upside down. Over the years, countless artists have shared their ruthless covers of Rudolph and the gang. Below, we’ve got 20 of our favourites, all compiled into one perfect playlist.
There are literally hundreds of metal and rock covers of Christmas staples, some of which you can find on our playlist below. However, special kudos must be given to artists who try to write their own festive favourite within the confines of their typically brutal genre. AC/DC are one such band and their song ‘Mistress for Christmas’ is about as far from the purity of the day as one can hope to be as Brian Johnston casually asks Father Christmas for a bit of extra-marital fun.
Also included in our list are two hits from your favourite squealing metalheads, Korn, as they spin classic Christmas numbers into their own brand of sonic destruction, producing both ‘Jingle Balls’ and ‘Kidnap the Sandy Claws’, which have as much slap as one would hope for.
Another big-hitting band tucked away in our playlist is the fictional brilliance of Spinal Tap and their quite brilliantly tongue-in-cheek ‘Christmas with the Devil’. But they’re not the only ones. There are also tracks from GWAR, Henry Rollins delivering ‘Jingle Bells’ with William Shatner and even an all-star band of Lemmy Kilmister, Dave Grohl and Billy Gibbons doing their version of ‘Run, Rudolph, Run’.
It all combines to make a Christmas playlist that will leave the stockings shaking on the mantelpiece and Father Christmas a little too scared to come down the chimney. Find the full list of our favourite heavy metal Christmas songs ever, as well as a perfect playlist to boot.
20 best heavy metal Christmas songs:
‘Mistress for Christmas’ – AC/DC
‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’ – Twisted Sister
‘Red Water (Christmas Mourning)’ – Type O Negative
‘Christmas With the Devil’ – Spinal Tap
‘Odin Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ – Phil Rey
‘We Three Kings’ – Halford
‘Kidnap the Sandy Claws’ – Korn
‘Viking Christmas’ – Amon Amarth
‘No Presents for Christmas’ – King Diamond
‘Jingle Balls’ – Korn
‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ – Dio with Tony Iommi
‘Run, Rudolph, Run’ – Lemmy Kilmister, Billy F. Gibbons, Dave Grohl
‘Stripper Christmas Summer Weekend’ – GWAR
‘Jingle Bells’ – Henry Rollins
‘Carol of the Bells’ – August Burns Red
‘Little Drummer Boy’ – Christopher Lee
‘Winter Wonderland’ – Fast Eddie Clarke
‘Little St. Nick’ – L.A. Guns
‘Father Christmas’ – Pretty Boy Floyd
‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’ – Denny Laine