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Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Letters From the Labyrinth (Lava Records)




Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Letters From the Labyrinth (Lava Records)
CD Reviews: November 19, 2015

11/19/15
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



 If you don’t know the TSO story, it’s actually pretty interesting. High-level music biz guy Paul O’Neill had produced power-metal band Savatage, whose guitarist, Jon Oliva, agreed to start this project. But then Oliva’s brother (and Savatage mate) Criss was killed by a drunk driver, and TSO was put on hold for a few months so that Jon could keep Savatage’s record contract from melting down. So although it may seem like this band has been a holiday fixture forever, this stuff happened only 20 years ago, which brings us to this LP, the first proper full-length since (and the conceptual sequel to) 2009’s Night Castle. Like that album, LFTL doesn’t rely on holiday carols to radiate Tchaikovsky-esque magic; it’s more of an ear-grabber prog-metal exercise steeped in Wagner (“Promethues”) and Orff (“Time and Distance”), its knuckleballs coming by way of a chick singer who sounds like Melissa Etheridge (“Not the Same”) and a cowboy-metal fling (“Forget About The Blame”). Any of it would work in the context of their laser-heavy show, which will be at Manchester’s Verizon Wireless Arena for two shows (3 and 8 p.m.) on Nov. 28.






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