Ray Van Horn, Jr. is a veteran entertainment journalist whose writing and live photography has been featured in Blabbermouth.net, Dee Snider’s House of Hair Online, Fangoria.com, Horror News.net, About.com Heavy Metal, MetalManiacs, New Noise, Music Dish, AMP, Hails & Horns, Unrestrained,Noisecreep, Impose, Pit, The Big Takeover.com, Rough Edge.com, Pitriff and others. His blog The Metal Minute won a “Best Personal Blog” award in 2009 from Metal Hammer magazine and he wrote and produced his own hard rock e-zine, Retaliate.

He has contributed essays to UK author Neil Daniels’ Iron Maiden and ZZ Top biographies. Ray’s fiction has been published in various periodicals and anthologies, including his flash fiction piece “Off the Record” for Akashic Books’ “Mondays Are Murder” noir series. His recent short stories “Before the Ball” and “Widow” were featured in subsequent editions of Alex S. Johnson’s Axes of Evil anthologies. Ray wrote serialized original superhero fiction for Cyber Age Adventures and five of those stories appear in the anthology Playing Solitaire. He was the winner of Quantum Muse’s fiction contest in 1999.

Ray is a former NHL game analyst for The Hockey Nut and one-time host of the forum “Comic Books” at ReadWave. He has done beat reporting, photography and lifestyle articles for Metromix, an affiliate of The Baltimore Sun, Carroll Magazine, The Northern News and The Emmitsburg Dispatch.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cool Yule

This is a lift and an update from a post I did last year at The Metal Minute where I came up with a list of holiday music that'll get you in the mood. Some of it is serious and reverential, some of it...not so much. Most of all, I just find these yuletide (now amended for 2011) selections the cream of the crop. Spike the nog, lock hips and lips under some mistletoe and have yourself a merry whatever you celebrate...

For me, this is the be all, end all of Christmas music. Even when I don't want to get into the spirit just yet, one spin of Guaraldi sedates me like no one else can at the holiday season.

Tchaikovsky. 'nuff said...

Christmas rockabilly style. Santa gets mondo horsepower here thanks to The Rev.

Setzer's become the mack of Yuletide Rock 'n Roll albums.

This one's hard to track down on CD, but Elvis can whoop it up and bring you to your knees with his Christmas lore. Fret not, though, there's a ton of different Elvis Christmas albums, so get some!

It's not Christmas until Nat sings...

Even if there's a controversy about "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24" being originally recorded by Savatage and swiped for this album, it's still a good time, particularly if you've seen TSO live...who would've thought metal and Christmas could co-exist back in the day?

Might be the best acapella holiday cheer you can grab...

It's okay, you're not a wuss. This one's simply divine.

Dig him or not, this is solid crooner revival, holiday-style...and I dig Harry.

Of course, we have to acknowledge the Chairman.

This one almost makes me wish I was alive in the 1940's. Bing and The Andrews Sisters, sweet sweet. Just put me in a P-47 and let's swing it.

Cheesy, but it goes down like a port with pinot noir.

Chuck Berry's the true king of rock 'n roll and "Run Rudolph Run" is the greatest Christmas rocker of them all.

"Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)." Seriously, what a gem. Miss you much, Joey.

C'mon, you know you want to laugh.

Resistance is futile, so just laugh.

Admittedly, we were all dubious when Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford (the greatest voice in heavy metal history) issued his all-Christmas-themed third solo album. In actualilty, Winter Songs is a home run. Shame on us for doubting The Metal God.

A new addition to this list, The Bird and The Bee's sensuous shoegazing take on "The Carol of the Bells" from 2007 has me lamenting the loss of Lush and Ride, but this might be the most textured, inventive holiday cover of this era.

Another new discovery I had this year, Brandon Walker's hilarious Chanukah vs. Christmas jam "Chinese Food On Christmas" could probably overthrow Adam Sandler if more people get exposed to it.

Reportedly kicked out of George Bush's fraternity, the DC-based Root Boy Slim and The Sex Change Band's "Xmas at Kmart" is so damned funny you'll go to Kmart just for their popcorn. "I must have died and gone to Heaven, 'cause Hell is Christmas at the 7-11." Riot. Rest in peace at the eternal blue light sale, RBS...


  1. I think my all time favorite Christmas songs of the rock variety are Father Christmas by the Kinks and Christmas in Hollis by Run DMC.

  2. Oh, dude, I forgot about Run DMC, lol....good pull.