While the Christmas album is a standard of most country and easy listening artists, it isn’t something you hear from metal bands very often. Sure, both John and Paul had Christmas songs and I remember David Bowie Singing “The Little Drummer Boy” with Bing Crosby. But aside from Twisted Sister, Psychostick and a few others not many metal bands have ever tried the genre.
Which made me very curious when a Reverbnation email invited me to download A Space Pirate Christmas from Oakland, CA’s Wonderland Syndrome. I had no idea what to expect. I’d listened to the band at some point and obviously enjoyed what I heard because I was a fan on Reverbnation. The thing was: IT WAS A CHRISTMAS ALBUM and they were releasing it in July. I wasn’t sure if that was the dumbest or smartest thing I’ve ever seen a band do.
As musicians at least, they’re not simple. “Carol of the Bells,” my personal favorite Christmas carol, is done with a death metal vehemence that rivals The Black Dahlia Murder. “Winter Wonderland” takes the tempo down a few beats per minute, but still keeps the viscous vocals and delivers a nice solo. “The Island of Misfit Toys” isn’t a typical Christmas carol and for that reason sounds more like it could be a regular staple for the group. Really it’s not much different than any other metal song with lyrics about societal outcasts and pariahs. The EP ends with “Christmas Time is Here,” a song I’m not familiar with. The tune is carried by a Primus-esq bass line and drives the group to a chaotic and clamoring end.
I really enjoyed A SPACE PIRATE CHRISTMAS and I’m sure I’ll be listening to it again in the near future. It’s better than anything I’ll be hearing on the radio from Thanksgiving to New Years (aside from “Merry Xmas (War is Over)), but it’s hard for me to look at it as anything more than a novelty. That being said it does make for an ingenious piece of marketing as I’m now curious to hear more from the group and hope that I’ll enjoy their other stuff just as much.
Download “A Space Pirate Christmas” for free here.