As the holiday season approaches, it’s time to trade in the traditional Christmas melodies and overplayed tunes for something with a bit more edge. Look no further for those who crave a heavier soundtrack to their Noel celebrations.
Here’s a list of the top 20 heavy metal Christmas songs that will add reindeer-shredding energy to the Noel celebrations. These headbanging masterpieces will liven up your gatherings and bring a fresh twist to your seasonal playlist. Enjoy the ultimate merry sleighlist of metal-inspired holiday classics!
1. King Diamond – “No Presents For Christmas”
King Diamond‘s first solo project showcases his skills in embracing the holiday spirit with humor and trust.
The song comes with a high-energy performance filled with heavy theatrical metal, perfect for Christmas and headbanging fans. This song also features spirited instrumentals and powerful vocals, eliciting both triumphant fist-pumps and gleeful smiles from fans.
2. Tool – “Fear Inoculum”
Tool‘s fifth studio album, Fear Inoculum, features the title tune as the first single. They also consistently exceeded David Bowie’s “Blackstar” as the longest song to chart on the Hot 100.
3. Slipknot – “The Chapeltown Rag”
Undoubtedly, The Chapeltown Rag is now one of the most essential songs on our best metal Christmas songs playlists. We can’t say much about the album’s quality, though, because that’s not why Slipknot fans wait so long for new material.
One of the reasons this song made it into our list is that we hope Slipknot’s next major success begins in 2023.
4. Metallica – “The Day That Never Comes”
One of Metallica‘s most rich ballads, The Day That Never Comes, can be found on the band’s ninth studio album, Death Magnetic.
Because it handles questions of bitterness and forgiveness, Kirk Hammett expanded on Lars Ulrich’s description of the music video’s theme, saying that it is about people and their connections with one another and that a person’s basic humanity can triumph over a politically charged scenario. Lars Ulrich has indicated that a father-son dynamic influenced the lyrics.
5. Trivium – “In the Court of the Dragon”
The song “In the Court of the Dragon” may be found on Trivium‘s upcoming ninth studio album, What the Dead Men Say, released in 2020.
The critically acclaimed group had an album out recently that was described as “very p*****-off.” Since the pandemic outbreak occurred not long after the release of What the Dead Men Say, the band could not tour in support of the album and raise money for its production.
6. Spinal Tap – “Christmas With the Devil”
Must be a Spinal Tap Christmas when there’s a gigantic Santa skull, leather trousers with a devil’s tail, and a three-way solo.
Like many of his tracks, this one was sparked by a dream Nigel experienced while sleeping. Original release year: 1992; album title: “Break Like the Wind.” Although Tap performed the song on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” in 1984, the network declined to air it during the band’s 1992 reunion special on the grounds that the song’s lyrics advocated evil.
7. Every Time I Die – “Planet S**t”
The belief expressed in the Planet S**t song is that nothing will be left standing when the universe is destroyed.
Therefore, Every Time I Die didn’t simply make a song; the group also established a legacy that would be applicable in any timeline and really anywhere. Overall, this track has all the makings of a top contender for “New Year, New You” playlists.
8. Metallica – “Ride The Lightning”
Ride the Lightning, the second studio album by Metallica, was released on July 27, 1984 by independent label Megaforce Records. The album was recorded in three weeks at Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark, with Flemming Rasmussen as the producer.
The band’s logo is depicted as the source of a lightning bolt that strikes an electric chair. The title of this article is taken from a passage in Stephen King’s novel The Stand, when the phrase “execution via electric chair” is used.
9. AC/DC – “Mistress for Christmas”
Album cut number six from 1990’s “The Razor’s Edge.” In a February 1991 interview with Guitar World, Angus Young stated:
“Mistress For Christmas” is the album’s funniest track, in my opinion. That tune was written with Trump in mind. He was a major celebrity then, so we decided to make light of the situation.
10. Tool – “The Pot”
TOOL is an American progressive-rock band, and their fourth studio album, “10,000 Days”, features the promotional single “The Pot” (2006).
When it hit the top of the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart in 2007, it became Tool’s first number-one single. It was up for a Grammy in 2008, specifically for “Best Hard Rock Performance.”
11. Type O Negative – Red Water: A Gloom-Infused Holiday Tune
Type O Negative’s “Red Water (Christmas Mourning)” showcases Pete Steele’s impressive vocals while immersing fans in a dark, wintry atmosphere. The song creatively modifies the traditional melody and lyrics of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” Despite the band’s well-known penchant for sarcasm and self-deprecation, the sincere conviction in this track is undeniably powerful.
12. Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Festive Fantasies
Trans-Siberian Orchestra, a symphonic progressive metal ensemble, is known for creating a unique fusion of theatrical flamboyance, sophisticated metallic prowess, and heartwarming sentimentality.
Among their impressive repertoire, Christmas Dreams represents their expertise in crafting a holiday ambiance. This record is the group’s third Christmas-inspired rock opera, preceded by their 1996 and 1998 releases: Christmas Eve and More Tales and The Enchanted Christmas Loft.
Achieving remarkable success in the United States, Christmas Dreams received double platinum certification, testifying to its widespread appeal. The group’s fascination with the festive season has a long-standing history, as evidenced by their creative transformation of traditional carols and melodies into metal masterpieces. Showcasing their creative prowess, the band’s rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas features tongue-in-cheek metalized lyrics, with the bass and drums adding lively and contagious energy to the mix.
13. Ronnie James Dio & Tony Iommi – A Majestic Rendition of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Teaming up with former Quiet Riot bassist Rudy Sarzo and ex-AC/DC and Dio drummer Simon Wright, Dio and Iommi crafted a splendid, late-career performance of the classic mid-18th century English carol. This rendition showcases Ronnie’s powerful vocals, described by Metal Hammer journalist Malcolm Dome as having “the grace of a thousand golden eagles,” combined with Iommi’s strong, gothic musical presence.
14. Halford – “We Three Kings”
Rob Halford, also known as the Metal God, released a Christmas album containing unique covers of classic songs. Among these, the mid-19th century American carol “We Three Kings” stands out due to its lively, invigorating approach. The track is further enhanced by the skillful guitar work of Roy Z, who adds a touch of innovation and sophistication to the well-known melody.
15. Silent Planet – “Panopticon”
The “Panopticon” refers to a disciplinary model in which a central observation tower is located in the middle of a ring of cells. The inmates in each cell cannot see into the tower, but the guard on duty in the tower can see everyone in the facility. Inmates have no idea if they are being watched. Jeremy Bentham, an English philosopher and social theorist, conceived it in the 18th century.
16. Twisted Sister – “Heavy Metal Christmas”
On October 17, 2006, American heavy metal band Twisted Sister released their final studio album, titled A Twisted Christmas. Traditional Christmas songs are treated with metal, and the album’s words are often changed.
The band’s hit song “We’re Not Gonna Take It” borrowed heavily from the Christmas standard “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” which is performed similarly. Twisted Sister’s cover of the Christmas standard has gained popularity since the band’s peak in the 1980s. The band members hilariously crash a holiday party at the home of a fighting couple in the accompanying music video.
17. Korn – “Jingle Balls”
Korn recorded “Jingle Balls” for their third album, Follow the Leader. This song was only released in Australia in 1999 on a sampler featuring “Wake Up.”
18. Korn – Abducting the Sandy Claws
The standout track in the Nightmare Revisited album is Korn‘s lively rendition of this mischievous, non-festive Danny Elfman song.
With the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack reimagined by alternative artists, this tune can be played loudly to deter Jolly Old Saint Nick from approaching your chimney this year. The confident, knowledgeable, and clear execution proves it is a must-listen.
19. Tankard – Disregarding Christmas
Germany’s tipsy thrash rockers, Tankard, offer a scornful dig at the excessive commercialism during the holiday season through their punk-metal fusion.
While their catchy title is snarled to the sound of reluctant sleigh bells, a serious political message is delivered. Furthermore, the lead vocalist, Gerre, humorously ends with the line, “He was born in August anyway.”
20. Nightwish – “Walking In The Air”
Drawing inspiration from The Snowman‘s iconic track, Nightwish‘s performance features Tarja Turunen‘s amazing operatic voice, melding seamlessly with symphonic tones and added woodwind instruments.
What are your best metal Christmas songs? Let us know in the comment section!