(9/10) After having played a fantastic show in union with the mighty Savatage the Trans-Siberian Orchestra releases a new album called "Letters From the Labyrinth".
The success story of TSO started in 1996 with "Christmas Eve and Other Stories". The record was sold 3.4 million times and kicked off an extraordinary musical history. Next milestones followed such as "The Christams Attic", "The Lost Christams Eve",... And since Christmas was a kind of constant factor in most of the TSO longplayers there is the tradition of a US winter tour that attracts many visitors to the TSO shows year by year.
There are rock musicals, there are metal shows, there are plays and there are rock operas like "Thommy". The uniqueness of TSO is to combine all this into an exceptional musical experience.
It's this seamless combination of rock, metal and classic that makes also the new longplayer "Letters From the Labyrinth" to an outstanding listening experience.
"Time & Distance" is the first chapter in this new conceptual story that is generally based on "Night Castle" from 2009. It's about the dialogue between the wisdom of the past and the hopes for the future, symbolised by a dialogue between child and an old friend of the child's grandfather.
The opener combines, as stated earlier, excellent rock guitars with big choirs and melodies. The following instrumental "Madness of Men" emphasis this even more before the piano introduces "Prometheus". It's a typical TSO song in which the keyboard continues having a leading part, accompanied by riffy guitars that adds some tension to the track.
"Mountain Labyrinth" starts mystic. It spreads a baleful sphere that continues throughout the entire track and also bridges into "King Rurik", a song with heavy guitars and well-crafted arcs of melodies.
TSO adds an organ sound in "Prince Igor" that gives the sound a new appeal. Via "What the Night Conceives", one of the hardest tracks on the longplayer, you get to the already mentioned "Forget About the Blame".
A cool bassline opens "Not Dead Yet", which stays a very rhythm-based song that has a certain Alice Cooper touch, esp. in the beginning.
"Past Tomorrow" is one of the most silent tracks on "Letters From the Past". It comes with fragile soundscapes, but it also comes with a lot of feeling and emotion.
"Stay" calls a lot of expressiveness its own. The intesity that can be created by 'just' vocals and an acoustic guitar is amazing ... and we are not talking about the typical ballad-stuff here. This would be far to trivial for TSO.
We're getting closer to the end of this cineastic longplayer. "Not the Same" is another typical TSO song that contains all the trademarks of this cooperation. "Who I Am" brings back the rock with dramatic elements and multilayered choir parts before the bombastic "Lullaby Night" closes the last chapter in TSO's latest sonic story.
Highlight in the end, as an extra, is "Forget About the Blame" with Lzzy Hale from Halestorm taking over the vocal duties. Her rough voice fits perfect to this song and arises the wishful thinking of having her becoming a part of the TSO ensemble, even though this would be a pity for Halestorm.
TSO releases with "Letters From the Labyrinth" another musical milestone that will be as successful as the predecessors. The music of TSO stays magic and unique. It unites people, regardless if young/old, metal/classic,...
This is big.
- Time & Distance
- Madness of Men
- Mountain Labyrinth
- King Rurik
- Prince Igor
- The Night Conceives
- Forget About the Blame
- Not Dead Yet
- Past Tomorrow
- Not the Same
- Who I Am
- Lullaby Night
- Forget About the Blame (feat. Lzzy Hale) (Bonus)
Label: Universal Music
Release Date EU: November 13th, 2015