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Merry Axemas, Vol. 2: More Guitars For Christmas
Various Artists
Merry Axemas, Vol. 2: More Guitars For Christmas
Genres: Blues, Jazz, Special Interest, New Age, Pop, Rock, Soundtracks, Classical, Classic Rock, Metal
 
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1

Steve Vai takes the concept of pairing guitar shredders and Christmas classics one step further, putting another string of pickers on the tree with a little less spectacular results than on his first outing. Which isn't to...  more »

      
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Synopsis

Amazon.com
Steve Vai takes the concept of pairing guitar shredders and Christmas classics one step further, putting another string of pickers on the tree with a little less spectacular results than on his first outing. Which isn't to say that this album is a lump of coal. There are some riveting moments, especially when Steve Stevens dry-gulches "Do You Hear What I Hear," first lulling the listener into reverential submission with an almost medieval rendering of this time-honored classic, then shifting gears and jetting into Christmas future with some unconventional note-bending. Ted Nugent's "Deck the Halls" reminds one why the Amboy Dukes and Damn Yankees were appealing, before the Nuge filled himself full of hot air. An added plus is Robin Trower's rather restrained "O Little Town of Bethlehem." One complaint: the players tend to lose the melody line in their efforts to tart up Christmas classics into something experimental. --Jaan Uhelszki

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CD Reviews

Holiday music given the electric twanger treatment!
12/10/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Steve Vai is a lot of things, but "compilation producer" may not leap to mind. But that's just what Steve is in his spare time, and here comes volume two of his excellent Merry Axemas instrumental "guitars for Christmas" series. The first volume featured the expected shred kings (Vai, Satriani, Eric Johnson...) and the second volume brings in an array of other classic six-stringers (and one four- five- and six-stringer in session bassist Stu Hamm). Along with Stu we've got Steve Lukather, Neal Schon of Journey, Steve Stevens who you might remember from Billy Idol's 80s band, Trevor Rabin, erstwhile member of 80s Yes and the most prolific South African scoring movies today, Jersey cowboy Zakk Wylde from Ozzy Osbourne's band and Pride and Glory, metaller John Sykes from the Thin Lizzy/Tygers of Pan Tang/Whitesnake/Blue Murder, Robin Trower (second most famous utilizer of the Uni-Vibe), jam whiz Al Di Meola, and the master of fifth-chord mayhem -- and my namesake -- Ted Nugent. Every track works, even if some of them are relatively obscure Christmas songs since many of the obvious choices got used up on volume one. Standouts include Zakk Wylde setting aside his Les Pauls to play a beautiful arrangement of "White Christmas" on classical guitars; Rabin's highly-processed but lush and engaging guitar-synth take on "O Come All Ye Faithful"; and Nugent's wailing, wild, tongue-in-cheek explosion of "Deck the Halls". If you love Mannheim Steamroller you'll be made uneasy by most of these renditions...if you've always wondered how many harmonics can be fitted into a Christmas classic, or what Emmanuel would have done with a PRS and a Marshall half-stack, look no further. A guaranteed hit with any and every guitarist on your list."
Creative Liscence for musicians took them a little too far
jeffrey | Canton, MA United States | 12/04/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)

"The first CD was great. Almost everyone did a wonderful job in not losing the melody. Melody is the key part in christmas songs. I'm a believer in the fact that if you're going to do a song (where the melody is important)- you should be creative in ways to keep the melody going without playing the same thing over and over again. On the second CD, Al Dimeola, Mr. Wylde, and Stu Hamm all play examples of what I'm talking about. None of them lost the melody of the song. The rest of the tracks on the Vol. 2 CD also have tremendous musical ideas in them, and they sound great until whoever's playing goes off into his own world, and the melody get's trashed. The solos may show that they're gifted musicians, but it's almost like they forget what they're playing. I found the first CD more enjoyable because it had a lot less of the "losing the melody". Regardless, the CD is worth getting for Stu Hamm's track and Zach Wylde's White Chritmas."
This Is The One
Herb | West Milford, NJ | 11/11/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"It seems that I may be among the minority that found this one to be better than the first. This one does rock harder and does have a tendency to take wild rides that may clash at times with the main melody, but isn't that what rock is all about? It never gets boring. I would recommend this one to anybody for the first track alone. Steve Lukather proves himself as a master of the fretboard with his rendition of The Christmas Song. I am a fan of the production on this one as well. Another success for Vai. Pour some eggnog, turn your stereo up to 11 and enjoy the ride!"