Watch a Christmas-themed Slayer cover from members of Dream Theater, Protest The Hero and more

Replete with sleigh bells, new lyrics, and a slew of easter eggs nodding to classic Christmas carols

Sleigher – the Christmas-themed Slayer cover band featuring members of Dream Theater, Protest The Hero, Haken and Inhuman Condition – have returned to put another festive spin on a tune from the iconic metallers. This time, they’ve reimagined ‘South Of Heaven’ into a merry metal ripper called ‘South Of Lapland’.

Replete with sleigh bells, new lyrics and a slew of easter eggs nodding to classic Christmas carols, Slayer’s 1988 song – the title track and lead single to their fourth album – has been entirely revamped. In the first verse, Rody Walker (of Protest The Hero) screams: “On Christmas Eve / You’ve just hung up stockings in time / Unsuspecting kids with a morning surprise / Jesus’ day of womb / Ejection is nigh / Once parents say goodnight / We must fly!”

Performing alongside Walker are guitarists Dan Goldsworthy and Charlie Griffiths (best known respectively as a graphic artist and one of two shredders in Haken), Fury bassist Becky Baldwin and Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess. Haken drummer Ray Hearne also plays tuba, and Inhuman Condition drummer Jeramie Kling delivers additional vocals. Drums in Sleigher, however, come courtesy of the anonymous, masked figure Delta Empire.


In addition, neoclassical guitarist Fernando Ufret makes an appearance as Skeletor. The accompanying animation and film clip was helmed by Goldsworthy and Griffiths, who also wrote the reinterpreted lyrics, produced the song and chopped the whole project together.

Take a look at the video for ‘South Of Lapland (Santa’s Gory Yuletide)’ below, then jam out to Slayer’s original ‘South Of Heaven’:

As mentioned earlier, this is not the first time Sleigher have brought some festive cheer to a thrash metal anthem. Last Christmas, a slightly altered version of the band (which also featured Cradle Of Filth bassist Daniel Firth) reinterpreted Slayer’s 1990 track ‘Seasons In The Abyss’ into the jovial ‘Seasons Greetings In The Abyss’. The accompanying video for that cover notably featured a hint at ‘South Of Lapland’ in its opening.

Meanwhile, Slayer guitarist Kerry King admitted last October that the group – who formally disbanded in 2019called it quits too early. In a video celebrating 30 years of fellow metal icons Machine Head, he quipped: “Fuck us, I know. Fuck me. I hate fucking not playing.”


There’s a glimmer of hope that Slayer may one day reunite – a prospect that Megadeth‘s Dave Mustaine is particularly keen on. Last month, he revealed that Megadeth are interested in reviving the concert series they played in 2010 and ’11 alongside the other “big four” thrash metal acts: Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax.

Meanwhile, Dream Theater are gearing up to record their 16th album – the follow-up to last year’s ‘A View From The Top Of The World’ – with studio sessions planned for late 2023.

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