Thrash metallers Megadeth put out their 14th studio album Super Collider in June, and the LP found the group testing the limits of its signature sound, namely on the banjo-infused bluegrass-metal crossover track “The Blackest Crow.” Now the veteran headbangers, whose biggest hits include songs like “Symphony of Destruction” and “Peace Sells,” are taking a real risk: They’re releasing (gasp!) a holiday album, Thrashing Through the Snow: A Very Megadeth Christmas, on which they play teeth-gnashed aggro versions of “Frosty the Snowman,” “The Little Drummer Boy” and “Do You Hear What I Hear?”
Luckily for the kids in the “infomercial” that Jimmy Kimmel premiered on his show Monday night, it’s actually all a joke. The good-natured metalheads – who once dressed in elaborate Halloween costumes for Kimmel and who are known for making their own spoofs – look liked they had a lot of fun filming the bit. Dressed in holiday sweaters and khakis, frontman Dave Mustaine and Co. bash their way through the Christmas classics, adding their own signature spin on the lyrics, such as a few “blah blah blahs” in “Drummer Boy” and the proclamation, “It’s deeeaaath!” to “Do You What I Hear?” The children present in the bit likely heard none of that, in that they had their hands over their ears.
The best moment, though, comes when they do a duet with indie rocker Jenny Lewis on the 1944 holiday classic “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” While she sings coolly and sweetly, her collaborators dig into their instruments in a way Ray Charles surely didn’t on his hit recording of the track with Betty Carter. The Lewis-Megadeth union doesn’t last long though, maybe because they performed it right after the band had made its holiday pitch for the camera: “These are the carols, we grew up loving, and you’ll love them, too. Or Santa will kick you in the throat!”