red lights


Numbskulled hair-metal reworkings
of holiday classics

Twisted Sister - A Twisted Christmas
(Razor & Tie)
1 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Dec. 15, 2006
Twisted Sister

Review by Tony Bonyata

For many, the deluge of Christmas and holiday music this time of year is not unlike receiving the dreaded fruitcake from your aunt. It just so happens that I love fruitcake, not to mention Christmas music; from the standards of Bing, Ella and Nat King Cole, to the rock of T. Rex, Queen, John Lennon and REM, to the more modern indie fare from Sufjan Stevens, Eels and The Raveonettes. So when I saw that the Brooklyn-based '80s hair-metal band Twisted Sister just released their own take on holiday classics I couldn't resist.

Instead of updating rock-based chestnuts such as Slade's "Here It Is Merry Christmas" or The Ramones' "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight)," frontman Dee Snider and his glammed-up metal militia have pulverized ten holiday standards into clumsy, self-indulgent metal exercises. Although they manage to incorporate the rallying punk cry of The Ramones, with their own forced chants of "Ho ho ho let's go," into the opening track "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," the knuckleheaded guitar riffs and impish operatic crooning from Snider turn this classic into a plodding porridge. "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" sounds suspiciously like their 1984 hit "We're Not Gonna Take It," while the band slips in some heavily-influenced Thin Lizzy guitar riffs into "Deck The Halls," which is about the only saving grace for this number.

Despite the mind-numbingly dated hair-metal treatment these holiday standards are given, I must admit that the galloping metallic rhythm works quite well with "White Christmas," and the tongue-in-cheek (one can only hope) lyrics of their reworking of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," where they comical sing "On my heavy Christmas my true love gave to me, two pairs of spandex pants and a tattoo of Ozzy" makes this collection of otherwise Christmas clunkers, somewhat of a guilty pleasure. Somewhat.

It's holiday packages like this, however, that make you realize that a lump of coal may not be such a bad thing in your stocking after all.

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