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Released: 2004, T2
For The Twelve Days of Christmas my true love gave to me…
12. Northern Light Orchestra-Celebrate Christmas
11. Notre Dame-Nightmare Before Christmas
10. Psychostick-The Flesh Eating Rollerskate Holiday Joyride
9. Raskaampaa Joulua-Raskaampaa Joulua
8. Raskasta Joulua-Raskasta Joulua
7. Raskasta Joulua-Raskasta Joulua 2
6. The Kings Of Christmas-365 Days A Year
5. The Wizards Of Winter-The Wizards Of Winter
4. Trans-Siberian Orchestra-Christmas Eve And Other Stories
3. Trans-Siberian Orchestra-The Lost Christmas Eve
2. Twisted Sister-A Twisted Christmas
1. Various Artists-Monster Ballads Christmas
13. (Bonus evil album!) Onkel Tom-Ich Glaub’ Nicht An Den Weihnachtsmann
Every year on Dec 1st, I pull out the box containing over 40 of my cherished Metal Christmas CD’s. This year I decided to review a few more for Metal-Rules. Please enjoy all of this 12 days of Christmas Metal album review feature…, plus one evil bonus review! Who says Christmas can’t be Metal?
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra was such a massive global phenomena that it inspired any number of artists and bands who started doing essentially the same thing…Christmas Metal. Back in 2004, Finnish guitarist Erkka Korhonen decided to make a Finnish version of TSO and he called it Raskasta Joula, meaning ‘Heavy Christmas’. They released their self-titled debut on a little label called T2.
The debut was a fairly low-key affair, the packaging was simple, no pictures, no liner notes, and of course the semi-indie release was all in Finnish. It seems a little low-budget however, I actually consider myself lucky to have a copy because the album was never released in North America.
HEAVY CHRISTMAS from it’s inception had some pretty heavy hitters in the line-up. The bass was done by Lauri Porra (Stratovarius), the drumming by Janne Parivainen of Waltari and Sinergy, (keeping in mind this was before he joined Ensiferum) and Kari Tornack, of Thunderstone, on keyboards. So what we have here is the genesis of a mini Finnish supergroup. Once the core of the band was established each song had a different singer as well. Vocalists include Pasi (Thunderstone), Marco (Nightwish), Toni (Machine Men), and several more.
In terms of music, performance and production HEAVY CHRISTMAS is decent but not ground-breaking. The album is a fairly conventional blend of traditional Christmas songs interpreted in the Metal way. I suppose one minor disadvantage for the North American audience is that the songs are sung in Finnish. They are instantly recognizable, but it seems weird to hear ‘White Christmas’ song sung in anything but English. The album is not extremely heavy, per se but there are some good, fast heavy moments. The band certainly does not betray their metal roots. I’d say it is a 66% Metal to 33% Christmas ratio. Looking back with the benefit of hindsight you could really see where the seed of the Christmas tree was planted to grow this project into the behemoth it is today. The band had quite a gap between 2006 and 2013 , and in that time-frame, the band essentially focused on a project called The Northern Kings. That is a whole other story. This debut was eventually reissued in 2013 on Spinefarm Records.
As this project grew in stature and recognition, more and more artists got involved and the band continued on to the point where it has become a pretty big deal in Europe. If you have a chance check out where the European TSO started, way back with Heavy Christmas.
1. Oi jouluyö
2. Valkea joulu
3. Heinillä härkien
4. Kuului laulu enkelten
5. Jouluyö, juhlayö
6. Maa on niin kaunis
7. Sylvian joululaulu
8. Enkeli taivaan
10. Varpunen jouluaamuna
11. Joulun rauhaa
Tag Laiho Vocals (track 1)
Past Rantanen Vocals (track 2)
Antony Parviainen Vocals (tracks 3, 7)
Kimmo Blom Vocals (track 4)
Sammy Salminen Vocals (track 5)
Tanya Kemppainen Vocals (track 6
Marco Hietala Vocals (tracks 8, 10)
Ville Tuomi Vocals (track 9)
Tipe Johnson Vocals (track 11)
Erkka Korhonen Guitars
Lauri Porra Bass
Tero Kostermaa Keyboards
Janne Parviainen Drums
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