I dig Christmas music. From the crooners "Silver Bells" type shit to the old traditional hymns. I guess that's one of those "dirty little secrets" you’re not supposed to admit if you’re in a black metal band. Or an adult, really, but whatever. You can eat my entire asshole if you have a problem with it. Last year I was training for my job in Raleigh, which is just fucking flush with excellent record stores, and I decided to check out Sorry State Records due to a bunch of recommendations when I pitched out the question of cool spots to visit in the city on the cesspool that is my Facebook. I ended up walking out with the Zygote reissue, a Hoax 7" I'd never seen before, and, most importantly to this story, a nice copy of Tennessee Ernie Ford's "The Star Carol." This was one of the records my late mother would put on to commemorate the start of the holiday season when I was a child, but I'd lost the cassette during one of the many times I'd been uprooted since and never really set out to look for it again until last year, probably because the upcoming birth of my kid had me somewhat sentimental for memories of my own childhood.

Issues that require therapy aside, for an overall subculture that seemingly stands against the festive season there’s a lot of instances that mention it. The one you’re probably most familiar with, especially if you’re on social media and surrounded by people who think they’re fucking clever, is King Diamond’s "No Presents for Christmas." Now I’ve given this one a lot of shit over the years, and unfairly so--it's probably strictly because of the amount of people who’ll post it with some cool guy message about the holidays on their social media platform of choice, similar to anyone who posts Samhain during Halloween with some message about the (albeit, real) superiority of November Coming Fire over the Misfits. I know these are meant to impress their friends but if your friends are that easily impressed with nonsense then I'd consider finding new friends. Then you have other mentions, like Venom’s "Black Christmas," Helix’s multiple Christmas covers to (my favorite) Gehennah's No Fucking Christmas EP, and, if you’re brave/stupid you can type "heavy metal Christmas" into Youtube and be greeted with hundreds of fucking awful metalcore videos and pictures of Santa as a skeleton or drinking beer or some other stunted metal cliche. Bah fucking Humbug.

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Black metal’s snowier recesses definitely lend themselves to this time of year, but fortunately there's not a black metal Christmas record yet, which means there’s still time left before I'm forced to jump off a bridge. There’s enough stupid metal parody shit floating around the universe as is that make conversations with well-adjusted people who have normal listening habits, like a healthy collection of Phil Collins, more uncomfortable since that’s the kind of thing they're probably familiar with. One thing I'll continue to stress for the three columns Invisible Oranges allows me before I get fired is that most intentionally "funny" metal is absolute trash. Is there room for humor in metal? Absolutely, but trying to force humor is like trying to force a shit: you're going to blow your o-ring apart and it’s going to heal wrong. Then you’re left with a weird asshole for the rest of your life but at least then one thing about you will be funny.

If I were to pick an album out of all things metal or metal adjacent for this time of year I wouldn’t have to go much further than Krampusnacht's self-titled 2017 debut.

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Krampusnacht was ahead of the curve before a few dozen projects started doing "comfy synth" and basing it on the winter holidays. By taking traditional Christmas hymns and reworking them through the lens of dark dungeon music, he managed to create something that was darkly festive and completely original. It's become the way that I welcome the winter months and the holiday season; every late November I’ll pick a night when I'm driving home from work to put it on, almost as a little ritual for the seasons changing.

Hey fuck you, some people have pumpkin spice lattes (now available in mid August!) I have a weird synth record.

Anyway, Krampusnacht has been recording material since then, but nothing really ever scratched the itch of the self-titled, which Phantom Lure wisely put on vinyl earlier this year. He's begun to rework more popular holiday songs and each successive release was cool, but didn’t stick with me (except for the brilliant song title of "Kramp of Murmuur" last year) very long. Until this year when he released Krampusferatu.

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Krampusferatu is fucking brilliant from start to finish and picks up where the promise of the self-titled album left off. While he's moved away a bit from Christmas music's more hymnal aspects and leaned into some of the weird pulp-Christmas culture of the '50s-'80s, the music itself doesn't suffer and continues to be as bleak as hemlock-laced milk and cookies. Since I was a child in the '80s, I also appreciate the use of "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" towards the end of the record.

We could talk about Christmas music in punk, but all you really need is Poison Idea.

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I could really go on about Christmas music for much longer, especially after working in a few record stores during the holidays. And so I will, in a few weeks when I return with another installment of Noise Pollution. Don’t drink too much eggnog, it sucks to clean out of a couch.

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I know I'm not the only one that hears "deck the halls with boughs of holly" in there.

—Neill Jameson

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