Arrangers: John Sykes; Jonathan Cain; Al di Meola; Livingstone Brown; Michael Lutz; Neal Schon; Robin Trower; Ted Nugent; Trevor Rabin.
Like its predecessor, Merry Axemas, Vol. 2: More Guitars for Christmas contains an abundence of clever, surprising instrumental interpretations of classic Christmas carols and tunes. Virtuoso guitarist Steve Vai has rounded up an impressive lineup of guitarists -- including Robin Trower, Zakk Wylde, Neal Schon, Al DiMeola, Steve Lukather, Stu Hamm, Steve Stevens and Trevor Rabin -- all of whom contribute distinctive, unpredictable variations of well-known standards. There are some moments that fall flat -- at this stage in the game, Ted Nugent inevitably sounds like a hack -- but overall, Merry Axemas is an enjoyable album that should satisfy most guitar fiends. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine