As much as I love metal music, once Thanksgiving passes, I get suddenly get full of holiday cheer like nobody’s business. And one of the things I look forward to so very much is definitely the music. When August Burns Red first came out with their rendition of “Carol Of The Bells”, I went crazy because I had never heard the metalcore fusion of one of my favorite holiday classics before. Many years and a few more holiday singles later, they’ve decided to simply make a full-length album with nothing but holiday songs, done in their particular style. What are we truly to expect from an album like this?
It’s hard to make stern judgments about an album like this. I’m sure lots of hard work went into it as any other August Burns Red release, but there’s no way this was meant to be taken very seriously. It’s pretty impossible to take these holiday classics, mix them with metalcore and come out with something that isn’t meant to make you smile. Some songs you can tell were just meant to be on the silly side, like their rendition of “Sleigh Ride” with a random jazz-like interlude in the middle. Or “Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer” which is also the only song on the album with actual vocals. But other songs like “Little Drummer Boy” or “O Come O Come Emmanuel” are done with the high level of sophistication that August Burns Red usually has on their original works. Even the first one that started it all, “Carol Of The Bells” makes an appearance and has been fine-tuned a bit. In the end, you get exactly what you would expect from Sleddin’ Hill; simple holiday tunes done in the metalcore style of August Burns Red.
If you take the album seriously, you’ll probably end up hating it. You take the silly moments and even some of the somber ones, and you end up with simply a fun experience. It’s not like they’re trying to do something that no one has ever done before, (e.g. Trans-Siberian Orchestra) but I don’t get the impression that want to start something revolutionary. I would just encourage you to have a little bit of fun with August Burns Red this holiday season with Sleddin’ Hill, because that’s all they seem to want for Christmas this year.