Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Night Castle

Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Night Castle

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(CD, BMG / Tonpool, 2011)

If I remember well TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA (aka TSO) was formed as a project sometime after the release of SAVATAGE’s amazing “Dead Winter Dead”. This project released two Christmas themed albums making me lose almost all my initial enthusiasm. Of course, I am not implying that the music was bad; on the contrary, the musicianship was of high quality but how can you listen to this music if it’s not Christmas time? Fortunately, TSO decided to take a break from all this Christmas inspired music (although the band faces crowded venues in the US around X-mas) and put together “Night Castle”.

“Night Castle” is not a totally new album, since it has been already released in the US on the late of 2009. BMG decided it was time for the latest full length album to reach the European shores and I think that was a well taken decision. The album comes as a double CD and as you can understand is stuffed with music clocking something more than two hours! And I have to say from the very beginning that there is no filler music here. The album tells a story that is also available in the 68-page booklet that comes with the CDs making the use of the term ‘Rock Opera’ mandatory. From the moment the ‘play’ button is pressed, the listener is exposed to a wide range of emotions and music colors making the 2 hours to flow smoothly, reaching many times a delightful climax. TSO have many times in the past used classical themes in their music and “Night Castle” is no exception.

Apart from the classical music orchestrations, the second CD serves a hearty collection of re-arranged tracks that will blow your mind. If you think (like I do) that classic music sounds amazing when is played with electric guitar, then this track collection will definitely make your day. Although it is hard to identify the highlights of such an album, I have to acknowledge the SAVATAGE –esque (I feel Jon Oliva contribution here) magnificent atmosphere of “Mozart And Memories” (yes another SAVATAGE familiar tune), the theatrical and most expressional “Epiphany” and the excellent cover on Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. In the latter the guitar distortion extends the dynamics of this song to the maximum making once again me think how great Metal and classic music sound together.

Such music could not work without the proper production; here we find the band’s mastermind Paul O’Neil who has done his magic behind the soundboard and gave the music the power and the range it deserves. The classical layers meet the beauty of Metal music and form the fine blend of “Night Castle”. Any Rock opera lover has to get this album and be exposed to the kaleidoscope of music tastes that will stimulate most of your senses. Hit the play button and wander freely in TSO’s “Night Castle”...





Disc 1
01. Night Enchanted
02. Childhood Dreams
03. Sparks
04. The Mountain
05. Night Castle
06. The Safest Way Into Tomorrow
07. Mozart And Memories
08. Another Way You Can Die
09. Toccata - Carpimus Noctem
10. The Lion's Roar
11. Dreams We Conceive
12. Mother And Son
13. There Was A Life

Disc 2
01. Moonlight And Madness
02. Time Floats On
03. Epiphany
04. Bach Lullaby
05. Father, Son & Holy Ghost
06. Remnants Of A Lullaby
07. The Safest Way Into Tomorrow (reprise)
08. Embers
09. Child Of The Night
10. Believe
11. Nutrocker
12. Carmina Burana
13. Tracers


Phillip Brandon, Bryan Hicks

Luci Butler, Derek Wieland, Vitalij Kuprij, Jane Mangini

Roddy Chong - Strings
Caitlin Moe - Violin

Chris Caffery, Angus Clark, Joel Hoekstra, Al Pitrelli

John Brink, Tru Collins, Tommy Farese, Kristin Gorman, Autumn Guzzardi, Erin Henry, Tim Hockenberry, Erika Jerry, Jodi Katz, James Lewis, Georgia Napolitano, Jay Pierce, Kayla Reeves, Natalya Rose Piette, Andrew Ross, Bart Shatto, Jeff Scott Soto, Jason Wooten

John Lee Middleton, Dave Z

John O. Reilly, Jeff Plate