Legendary hair band Twisted Sister reunited a few years back and proceeded to go on a sold out tour. They even went overseas and performed for our troops in Afghanistan. The band also got back in the studio and re-recorded the classic Twisted album Stay Hungry, retitling it Still Hungry. They say they never really liked the way the original sounded, so they wanted to make it better. That brings us to this, the final Twisted Sister recordings. At least that is what they say; I wouldn't be surprised if we see more down the line.
I had a big ol' "Huh?" go through my noggin when I saw the title of the album. Twisted Christmas? It had to be some sort of joke. Why would this hairiest of bands record Christmas music? Then again, why not?
Metalheads and headbangers around the world celebrate Christmas. Plus, we don't normally get to hear Christmas classics performed in our style of choice. The post-hardcore/screamo set have their Christmas tunes in the form of last year's Taste of Christmas collection. Leave it to Twisted Sister to take a stab at filling that hole in the heart of metal's musical catalog by giving us their renditions of well known Christmas staples, even getting Lita Ford to join in for a duet with the ringleader of holiday cheer, Dee Snider.
The album kicks off with understated acoustic guitar and horn with Dee singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." It wasn't exactly what you would expect, but don't worry, this was merely a tease. Before the song timer hits a minute, you hear a voice call out of the background "Hey, guys, what is this crap? This isn't Twisted Sister. This is Twisted Sister…" electric guitars and drums kick in with full force as Dee realizes the error of his mellow ways.
The song is still played in a traditional manner, but with a little more crunch. It gets turned up another notch with an homage to the Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop" with the group chant "Ho, Ho, Ho, Let's Go!" You have to say, it was a fun start for a metal Christmas.
Next up, "Oh Come All Ye Faithful," kicks off with that oh so famous drum beat from the legendary "We're Not Gonna Take It." It doesn't stop with that opening, the song is sung to a modified version of the anti-conformity cut. Rather funny to listen to, and surprisingly quite effective. The energy kicks up for "White Christmas" with a galloping guitar riff keeping the time.
I'm not going to go through this song by song, as much fun as it may be. Suffice to say, the Christmas standards are well represented, and presented in a manner befitting the twisted roots of Twisted Sister. From "Deck the Halls," with its "Fa-La-La" chants, to "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," with the inherent humor of the scene, they are all here.
The final song is a twisted take off on "The 12 Days of Christmas," aptly renamed "Heavy Metal Christmas." I don't want to give away their replacement items, but it includes Jack, hair spray, and spandex, the requirements for the popular '80's metal scene. The reimagined cut is a fun way to bring the whole project to a close, except it isn't over. The album closes with a group rendition of "We wish you a Twisted Christmas and a Twisted New Year!"
Bottomline. This disk was fun. It's not serious or important or even necessary, but it is a nice way for us hendbangers from way back to get a revamped take on those, at times obnoxious, Christmas Carols that come out of the closet in shopping malls all across the country. This at least delivers it with some drums and heavy guitars.
As an added bonus, you have to check this out. The Twisted ones have delivered a special gift in the form of videos for their "We're Not Gonna Take It" take on "Oh Come All Ye Faithful." There are two versions, one is a shortened animated version with the band leading a holiday home invasion.
The other seeks to mimic the old video for "We're Not Gonna Take It," starting off with a meek husband giving his wife a Christmas gift, the Twisted Christmas CD. Of course this doesn't go the way he plans as he is berated, only to be saved by Dee and crew performing in their living room, and they certainly liven up the party!