J.J. Hrubovcak: Death Metal Christmas – Hellish Renditions of Christmas Classics

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J.J. Hrubovcak: Death Metal Christmas – Hellish Renditions of Christmas Classics
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J.J. Hrubovcak: Death Metal Christmas - Hellish Renditions of Christmas Classics
Death Metal
Self-release
November 29th, 2013
Release length: 19:26
Website
In the spirit of the holidays, Hate Eternal bassist J.J. Hrubovcak has recorded a brand new album that collects five new Death Metal interpretations of Christmas classics. Of course, three of them are a bit of a new take on the originals, while two are just Metal instrumentals. With plenty of praise building over the recently streaming premiers, it’s almost a given this will be heard in many car stereos and home all over. But is it more for the gimmick, or is this something far more magical?

“Unrest for Melancholy Men (God Rest Ye Merry Men)” starts off on a punishing note with the deeper audio and strong bass presence, but ends up largely robotic. The hooks in the chorus from the initial song help to give a slightly epic feel, and additional rasps later add a little more energy. It isn’t until the pace picks up about half way through for the solo that the song really feels alive. A lot of this goes for “Earthen Kings (We Three King),” though the Doom Metal pace the riffs from the source material does make it far more crushing and memorable experience than it should be, unlike “O Come, O Come, Azrael (O Come, O Come Emmanuel)” which is dismal and sinister, boasting a ritualistic tone in the main verses. Towards the end, the basic foundation of the track is lost for a faster paced bludgeoning that puts the focus on the drumming until fading to wrap up the release.

And then there’s the instrumental tracks, and both of which take great liberties. “Nutcracker: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” starts with the whimsical classical piece that sounds like it’s just ripped from a movie or some other source before the bass heavy Death Metal interpretation kicks in. Some of the performance is reminiscent of Tran-Siberian Orchestra, though some areas slip right into fast paced Death Metal riffs and furious drumming that is just shy of blast beats, both moving away from the initial atmosphere in favor of brutality and twanging bass lines. Then there’s “Greensleeves,” which finds the music just going off on its own rather quickly. Outside the start and finish, not much of the performance sounds close to the original composition, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing given the fact that what exists is still pretty intense.

Death Metal Christmas – Hellish Renditions of Christmas Classics is an interesting collection of five traditional Christmas songs turned violent and chaotic, and robotic. While solid variations of the source material, transferring them into audio experiences that truly defy their initial intentions, it doesn’t always work, especially when there just isn’t enough to work with. Many times the performances go from changing up traditional holiday tunes engrained in our DNA to just playing some Death Metal riffs aimed at pleasing Hate Eternal fans, but even then the songs don’t offer much enjoyment past the Christmas gimmick. If you feel like irritating your family for the holidays, this is a must. Outside of that, it’s a decent mixture of holiday joy and death, without anything too magical.

01. Unrest for Melancholy Men (Got Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen) – 2:43
02. Earthen Kings (We Three Kings) – 3:37
03. Nutcracker: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy – 4:03
04. Greensleeves – 4:09
05. O Come, O Come, Azrael (O Come, O Come Emmanuel) – 4:55
Initial Pressing Score: 6/10

J.J. Hrubovcak

Digital review copy of this release provided by Earsplit PR.