An August Burns Red Christmas

If you like metal and Christmas, you might be a rare breed. August Burns Red (ABR) is a metal band who seems to appreciate Christmas, having created one Christmas song in metal style each for the past four years, the most recent of which is God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, which released Nov 28, 2011, at midnight Eastern Standard (why iTunes says Nov 25, 2011, is beyond me, since it most certainly was not available anywhere for digital download until Nov 28). And boy do they deliver the goods!

Yes, it is that good.
Yes, it is that good.

Did I mention that God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen made it to the top of the iTunes metal charts?

I will provide the links to the four songs that ABR has published and discuss them briefly at this time. Keep your eyes peeled ’round Christmas time for this band’s masterful seasonal pieces!

Carol of the Bells

Released: Feb 24, 2009

Carol of the Bells was not released as a single, but it was part of an outtakes album following their sophomore album, Messengers. The album artwork for Lost Messengers has a burnt out candle and two hands, while the artwork for the former album has a burning candle and only one hand.
Carol of the Bells was not released as a single, but it was part of an outtakes album following their sophomore album, Messengers. The album artwork for Lost Messengers has a burnt out candle and two hands, while the artwork for the former album has a burning candle and only one hand.

The first song I was ever introduced to combining metal and Christmas was ABR’s Carol of the Bells. It is not very long at only 2:44, but it is the best version of this song I have ever heard, even better than Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The song naturally lends itself to rock, but the soul of metal really makes it come alive. Of course, being instrumental, there are no vocals, allowing the musicians to let the instruments do the talking, and they speak volumes here. Never have I been so motivated for Christmas as I have after listening to this song.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Released: Nov 20, 2009

The artwork for this single matches that of the album that came before it, Constellations, only the moon and the person trying to pull it to the earth have been removed, and instead of the moon, a bright and shining star appears above the little hill, suggesting, I believe, the star over Bethlehem.
The artwork for this single matches that of the album that came before it, Constellations, only the moon and the person trying to pull it to the earth have been removed, and instead of the moon, a bright and shining star appears above the little hill, suggesting, I believe, the star over Bethlehem.

This song is one of my all time favorite Christmas songs. How much more splendid is it with metal! It is long–nearly 5 minutes! It uses bright rhythm guitars in the verses along with delightful lead guitar picking; the drums groove well in the verses, matching the spirit of the guitars. And in the choruses, the metal really shines. The drummer is exceedingly good at blending metal with jazz overtones, giving a good fluid feel to the whole song. I absolutely love this song.

Little Drummer Boy

Released: Nov 19, 2010

This single artwork is completely unique as no album was previously produced in this interim year.
This single artwork is completely unique as no album was previously produced in this interim year.

This song is really cool. The jazz overtones are greatly increased by the drummer, and rightfully so, for this is the Little Drummer Boy. But it is masterfully blended with metal. This guy can do no wrong! It is a long song, at 4:23, but it seems to go by so quickly! It has an ethereal feel to it, but it picks up and gets down and dirty with that good ol’ grunge at just the right times. This song is well written and excellently executed.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Released: Nov 25, 2011

The artwork for this single closely follows the artwork for the recent album, Leveler, that came out earlier this year. The clouds have been changed from white to black and snow has been added to the ground. Very clever!
The artwork for this single closely follows the artwork for the recent album, Leveler, that came out earlier this year. The clouds have been changed from white to black and snow has been added to the ground. Very clever!

Wow. I can see why this song is currently number one on the metal charts! It has the driving force found in Thrill Seeker and Messengers, but it has the stylistic breakdown as found in Leveler. It is a wonderful blend! It is short at 2:48, but so worth it! It is fast paced until the breakdown. The drums have that awesome jazz-infused metal style. This song really is very good.

I apologize for the dominant comments about the drummer. I myself am a drummer in awe of the talented drumming of metal, especially that of ABR, and it is the central standard from which I judge all music, being that I relate to it the most.

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