Behind The Scenes: Christmas Presence – Christmas Rock Single

By Jason Stallworth

December 21, 2016

Do you ever get tired of hearing the same Christmas songs over and over? 

What if I told you there’s an original metal Christmas instrumental song you can listen to instead? 

Christmas music is cool but you can only listen to the same song so many times before you get sick of it!

“So, what about that metal Christmas song you were talking about?”

It’s called Christmas Presence!

Click Here to Listen on More Sources

The Making of Christmas Presence

It all started sometime in 2012. I had this strong desire to write a metal Christmas instrumental. Inspired by a few traditional Christmas songs, I sat down in my studio and starting playing riffs on guitar.  

Naturally, ‘Carol of the Bells’ was the first song in my head, and I started playing different variations of the main melody line.  Within just a few recording sessions, I had come up with my own metal-style rendition of it.

Though there were parts that were similar to Carol of the Bells, most of the song sounded nothing like it.  Yet the song still had an organic Christmas feel to it if that makes sense.

There were parts of the song that were a clear revision of the main melody in Carol of the Bells.  And that was my challenge.  The last thing I wanted was to do another cover of Carol of the Bells.  That song has been covered many times already! No, I wanted something different

Watch the Video

The idea was for the song to be recognized as a Christmas track, but I didn’t want to do a note-for-note cover. In fact, I didn’t even want a rendition.

My vision was for Christmas Presence to have original progressions and melodies.  

Evolution Of An Original Metal Christmas Song

I sat on this song for the next few years (no, I didn’t literally ‘sit’ on the song! I just did absolutely nothing further with it!). On occasion, I’d go back and listen to it, and I played it for friends here and there. 

But there was always that itch to do something with it around Christmastime…

In early 2016, it dawned on me that I should release it as both my first single. 

I figured since I already had two full albums under my belt, why not release a single? And the funny thing is I had released the album Heavy Metal Workout in February of that year.

To add, I had already started working on songs for the next album.  I had a good deal of momentum, and I’ve learned that it’s wise to continue moving when you have that kind of momentum going. 

I went back to the studio and meticulously listened to my initial recording of Christmas Presence. I wasn’t satisfied with it. Something seemed to be missing and it sounded too much like a cover song. 

What happened next? I deleted all of the original tracks, made changes to the composition, and re-recorded everything from scratch.

The core change in the song was the structure of the Carol of the Bells rendition part. Hints of familiar Christmas sounds throughout the song were needed but not at the expense of being a cover or rendition.  

I ended up making several changes to those notes, to the point where I was comfortable. 

How I Recorded The Music For Christmas Presence

Christmas Presence metal song in the studio jason stallworth
Whoa, check out my beard here! Lol

If you’re a guitar player or musician, you will appreciate this part of the post. 

I’m going to briefly share how I recorded the guitar tracks for this metal Christmas song (even if you don’t play guitar, you may still find this interesting!). 

I ended up using three different amp sounds for my guitar tracks.

  1. Recorded the rhythms and melodic leads with a Fender Mustang IV amp miked with a Shure SM57 mic.  
  2. Used Positive Grid BIAS FX (virtual amp plugin) for my guitar solos. 
  3. And finally, I used my old Line 6 POD HD500 for the clean/ambient parts. There’s a specific reverb this unit has that I have yet to replicate with anything else. 

**You can read more about my Fender Mustang IV tones in this post: Fender Mustang IV Modeling Amp Metal Tones

But wait, there’s more…

For the acoustic guitar, I used a couple of Presonus Studio One Pro effects; a compressor and EQ. This gave the acoustic guitar a full, rich tone.

For the bass guitar, I used very another amp simulator. If I recall, it was Studio Devil’s Bass Amp Pro. 

The recorded process was smooth. The song came together so naturally and effortlessly. I did spend a decent amount of time on the guitar solos, but that’s expected.

Christmas Presence Video (First Version Prior to Release)

Fast forward about a year later and my first version of Christmas Presence was played live in a church. I had also posted a YouTube video with this track shortly after recording it.

The video was shot in our old apartment, and my wife and I introduced the song (instead of sending Christmas cards in the mail, we make a video each year for our friends and family). 

Here’s the YouTube video below. Again, this is the first version of Christmas Presence before it was officially released on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc. So the below will sound a bit different from the official release.

***Please forgive the video quality…I was very new to YouTube back then!

Click Here to Listen on More Sources

Now for the good stuff! I’m going to share the links where you can listen to and buy this metal Christmas song ‘Christmas Presence.’ 

I released Christmas Presence on all major digital streaming places like iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Google Play and many more.

You can also purchase the song where purchasing is available (ex: iTunes, Amazon). 

Click Here to Listen on More Sources

Metal Christmas Music Brings Good Tidings Of Comfort And Joy

Metal music is our passion. And many of us have a special love for Christmastime. So it’s an extremely cool event when you combine the two and have metal Christmas music!

The ultimate goal in creating the song ‘Christmas Presence’ brought you all the loving emotions that come with Christmas with the spell-binding and captivating feelings we get when we listen to metal.

I hope you enjoy listening to Christmas Presence and make sure you put this in your metal Christmas playlist! 

Keep it Metal,


Jason Stallworth

About the author

Jason is a melodic metal solo artist, songwriter, acoustic performer, and co-founder of Metal Mastermind.

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