The Battle of the Songs: A Classic Christmas Battle Between Two Orchestras [25 Days of Holiday Songs]

Enough of my rambling, you are probably asking what the song is? Well, click to find out!

Mannheim Steamroller –  God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen

We start the battle off with Mannheim Steamroller’s version of “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”, The song starts off all mellow with a trumpet lead playing the opening verse. Then, at the 25-second mark, there is a dramatic pause for a couple of seconds with the drums playing a small solo. Then, the song spirals into different melodies and different directions with various instruments. Somehow, in this mass array, the different themes and instruments come together to create a unified song.

I discovered Mannheim Steamroller when I was in my high school years. I love their Christmas songs and, along with their rendition of “Carol of the Bells”,  their “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” is one of my favorite instrumental tracks to play during the holiday seasons. I just love the dramatic effects with the phrasing of each section and by the instrumentation.

(Note: Mannheim Steamroller gets brownie point because they originated from Omaha, Nebraska, my hometown.)

Trans-Siberian Orchestra with Savatage –  Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24

Next up is Trans-Siberian Orchestra with Savatage and their song “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24”. Now, I am cheating a little bit because this song isn’t really just “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”. It also features “Carol of Bells”. Well, it mostly features “Carol of Bells” and just one line from
“God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”. But, it counts in my rule book as
Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Mannheim Steamroller are the most well-known modern orchestras that have great Christmas music. Besides, having these two bands battling with their own rendition of
“God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” sounds fun, right?

What I love about the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is that they aren’t a classical orchestra, but feature both classical and modern instruments. And,
“Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24” shows this off well with a heavy metal guitar lead. Many people don’t know is that I love heavy metal. People think I love just like bubblegum pop, but I love metal too. I have been listening to Ozzy Osbourne’s album No More Tears and System of the Down all this week.

The reason why I like metal is that of the dramatic and soul-searing riffs performed by the lead guitarist. It created a thrill and excitement for me. And that is what I feel when I listen to the metal guitar solo in
“Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24”.

The other section to listen to is the piano break in the middle of the song. The way how the piano goes down the scale in a dramatic effect is eye-opening and just wow!

The story behind the song is inspiring. You can read an excerpt from Christianity Today where band member Paul O’Neill explained about the song: