PelleK – “Christmas with PelleK”


christmas with pellek pre orderChristmas has always been a special part of my families tradition from celebrating Jesus Christ to handing out gifts and that great Christmas lunch or dinner. A time of celebration often for most, a time to enjoy family and friends and an opportunity to make the choice to leave the worries of ones life at the door for at-least one day and celebrate in something wonderful and magical. One of the things we have made a tradition is playing Christmas music on the day, its normally something like Brian Setzer or Abba to name a few amongst some traditional Christmas worship music as a backdrop to the days events. I love the smell of food cooking away, the laughter and happiness of my children as they open their presents and just relationing with my family. These are some of the things that embodies the day of Christmas for me.

One of my all time favorite musicians and vocalists is Pellek. He has just brought out an album this year entitled Christmas With Pellek. So you must know I was excited to have the opportunity to review the album. After all I am a fan of traditional Christmas songs, especially the hymns.

Christmas with PelleK is the third studio-album by Norwegian power metal band PelleK. Mixed and mastered by Scott Atkins (Cradle of Filth, Sylosis), and features artwork from Jan Yrlund (Manowar, Korpiklaani) and it’s recorded entirely by the PelleK band in PelleKs studio “The Ninja Academy”. This eight track album features ancient and classic Christmas songs that have been re-arranged to accommodate a symphonic melodic metal sound, with a lot of progressive riffs and twists. Vocally it has been said to expect PelleK’s 4 octave vocal range to shine through in all it’s glory, as well as an added element of jazzy and classy vocals. Within the booklet you’ll notice a special message to everyone who pledged towards the album, from PelleK, and a nice Christmas image of the guys, as well as the amazing and funny artwork by Dargrove custom design-studio.

Now I can see many of the traditionalist frown at this, especially since its a metal Christmas album. The last metal album I heard from a someone of Pellek’s caliber doing a Christmas release, if not better was from Rob Halford, I think it was entitled Winter Songs, and that kicked some serious Christmas butt.

I see this more as a Christmas concept album, than an actual album. We all know that Christmas songs are timeless and are steeped in much tradition and even folklore. It also seems at some point almost all musicians will tread down the path of either releasing a Christmas song, or go all out and release an EP or album of Christmas material. Some it will be out of love for Christmas, for some it could be if it succeeds a cash cow of sorts. Either way Christmas songs are generally loved by all, even the pessimist and grouch can sometimes be won over by a good Christmas song.

To Start with Pellek did not mess around, he chose a very strong set of popular culture Christmas songs that are all classics in their own right. He aces on songs like “Deck the Halls” and “Jingle Bells”,”O Holy Night” and “Come All Ye Faithful” Mixing up traditional Hymns with populist secular jaunts.

He drives home the songs in his usual unique manner, never bastardizing the songs beyond recognition or spirit, yet making them his own. The songs press forward in a mid tempo metal fashion through-out, allowing the songs to grab your attention, rather than race away on their own adventure. He blends his own uniqueness with the traditional hooks of the originals, especially at the beginning of the songs, and its that familiarity that he brings that sets the foundation for his metal interpretation to sweep you along. It also shows in a way the respect he has for the actual songs, and that its not just something he is doing because its the right time of the year to do that, and that it would be beneficial to him to do so.

Now for some might find it strange to hear Christmas songs sung in this fashion, and his unique vocal quality might find itself misplaced by some as they try to digest the uniqueness of his vocals. I have watched how he has covered songs over a period of time by popular artists across numerous genre’s and though some might have seemed out of place with his vocal sound, he always delivered the songs with professionalism and respect of the original, adding his unique brush stroke to them, and certainly always striving to give his best interpretation of those songs…..and to be honest though there might have been the odd one that seemed out of place due to his unique vocal styling, they were never short of being spectacular renditions of the originals. I am not afraid to be bold and place his vocal quality in the same category as greats like Rob Halford and Freddy Mercury.

All the songs are performed well. If there is to be criticism amongst the praise is that he seldom reaches some of those high epic yells that he is so good at. His octave range is spectacular just like Rob Halford…imagine a duet with him and Rob..huh huh Pellek? So in someways it was a little disappointing, but still a powerful performance delivered. I don’t think its going to be everyone’s cup of tea of the holiday season, and I am sure there will be a few metal fans that will take turns in bashing Pellek on the songs, just like with Halfords Christmas album, but at the end of the day, despite the stabs people might take at this, its a great Christmas album.

So there might be shards of wasted talent here with some of the approaches towards one or two songs like “O Holy Night” where I would have loved to hear him bear his amazing octave range on the signature PelleK qualities for some high yells that make for epic remembrance.

As I wrap the review up onE has to give Pellek credit, he puts a lot of passion and energy into the songs and has the right stuff to pull them off with utter brilliance and drop jaw awesomeness. I reckon folk that might have a disdain or disinterest in Christmas music might find themselves enjoying this album. It certainly makes it enjoyable for those whom love metal, and who perhaps have a similar love for good old Christmas songs. This is no regular Christmas album, and is thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. Great to play whilst putting the Christmas tree up, and to be enjoyed whilst opening your Christmas presents or just relaxing on the sofa with the family. So whether you a fan of Christmas songs or not, Pellek shows once again the immense talent and caliber he has as a musician to take just about any song and give an original interpretation able to stand alongside the original without being a shadow in its wake.

Rating: 8.5/10

Written by Donovan de Necker

1. Twelve Days of Christmas
2. O Christmas Tree
3. Deck the Halls
4. Beautiful Savior
5. Jingle Bells
6. O Holy Night
7. Come All Ye Faithfull
8. Silent Night

Band members:
PelleK [Damnation Angels] – Vocals
Patrick Fallang – Guitars
Ingemar Bru – Bass
Stian Andrè Braathen [Highland Glory] – Drums

Bag of Tricks (2012) [review]
Ocean of Opportunity (2013) [review]
Christmas with PelleK (2013)

Record Label: Independent, Nov. 2013

Weblinks: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Buy the album here:
Holland: First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission
USA: Metal Helm

Video below ‘Come All Ye Faithfull’

Video below ‘Jingle Bells’

Video below ‘Beautiful Savior’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts