One of my favorite things about the holiday season is the covers and original Christmas songs that my favorite bands and artists create. I've collected seven Christmas covers that have been released in 2020 by various artists with genres ranging from instrumental, rock, punk rock, and alternative. Merry Christmas, or as Andrew Stanton would say, Merry Riffmas!
1. August Burns Red - All I Want For Christmas Is You (album)
The iconic mainstream Christmas song, "All I Want For Christmas Is You," popularized by Mariah Carey every Christmas season since 1994 sees covers every year. This cover is one of my favorites. August Burns Red is a metal band who has consistently given to the Christmas scene widely since 2012. Often, their covers are instrumental, as is this one. Although the lead singer, Jake Luhrs, also covered it visually (look at that cover art!). This cover was accompanied by a compilation of their past few covers and Christmas-related songs.
2. Anchor And Braille - "All I Want For Christmas Is You"
Adding his soothing, charming voice to our Christmas song scene this year is Stephen Christian. The lead singer of Anberlin, and the lead altogether for Anchor and Braille (who released a new album this year), covers the same song that August Burns Red did, "All I Want For Christmas Is You." This cover captures the Anchor and Braille sound well, and Stephen's voice is accompanied by a ladies' voice in the background as well. Stephen shares, "My daughter Nola listened to the original version on repeat last Christmas. As one of her presents for Christmas this year, I am going to give her this song. Hopefully, some other family or friends can make lifelong memories of my version of this song, as we did."
3. Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh - "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas"
Getting a bit heavier this time, Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh (GFM) cover a Christmas classic for the second year in a row. Last year, it was "It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year" and this time, it is "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas." The beautycore band of three passionate sisters brings some screams, riffs, and a mini-breakdown to the song. If you need a high-energy cover of a Christmas song, GFM has you covered.
4. Jenna Parr - "Mary, Did You Know?"
Jenna Parr is a newer Christian rock artist. Her single, "Break Me," reached #11 on the national Christian Music Weekly chart and was #1 for 8 weeks straight on ChristianRock.net. Fans are liking what they hear from this new female-fronted rock band. She brings her talents to this cover of "Mary, Did You Know?" I really like the arrangement and the guitar-driven sound. She also has a cover of "O Holy Night" (from 2018) if you want more of her style.
5. Andrew Stanton - Merry Riffmas (EP)
Andrew Stanton is a former member of the Christian rock band Disciple. His guitar skills are incredible and he's been flexing this year. He has released four instrumental rock albums throughout 2020. He also released a three-song Christmas covers EP titled Merry Riffmas. He covers "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "We Three Kings," and "Angels We Have Heard On High." Each song, as the title suggests, is heavy on the guitar riffage and each one sounds really cool. Maybe we can have an August Burns Red/Andrew Stanton collab on an instrumental? Just an idea.
6. Mawcore - "O Come, Emmanuel"
The alternative rock band Mawcore aims to bring hope this Christmas with their style of a cover of "O Come Emmanuel." About their cover, they share "This holiday season may be a little dark as families have divided over temporal issues, even making it harder for reconciliation," guitarist Jeff Redding says. "Music can be a great tool of the Spirit to unify hearts." They took special care in creating a visual message also in their lyric video for this song too. Both the song and video are good.
7. NEEDTOBREATHE - "Silent Night"
This one might be one of the softest covers on here musically, but it deserves its place. NEEDTOBREATHE has always been a supporter of the rock scene and their cover of "Silent Night" is beautiful. Bear Rinehart showcases great vocal range and the music is captivating. Don't let this one pass you by just because it doesn't have a lot of big drums or guitar riffs.
Ryan Adams lives in Ohio but grew up in Boise, Idaho. He graduated Boise Bible College in 2018. He fell in love with the heavy music scene through a best friend and enjoys sharing his love for it through NRT.
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