Review Summary: Trans-Siberian Orchestra try mightily hard to conjure the ghost of their Christmas spirit, but with a magical void, it is impossible.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s musical style may seem simple at times, but it carries with it a sense of mystery and excitement that is difficult to repeat. Ironically, it captures the feeling of waking up on Christmas morning, and rushing to find shiny, wrapped presents under the tree. Indeed, the band can create some stirring pieces of Christmas music, and it was expected that Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night)
would be just as grand as past albums. However, to put it bluntly, this EP is boring. The first two songs are decent offerings, with the band’s classical music inspiration showing through their cheesy but fun instrumental rock, but the music only goes downhill after that.
‘I Had a Memory’ sounds like an attempt to emulate the spirit of Christmas Eve and Other Stories
, but it comes across very poorly. The verses aren't sung well, and the guitarist pounds out dumb, meaty riffs in the chorus as though he’s playing a different song. Then there’s ‘Someday’, a song that should be more enjoyable than it is. When I saw Trans-Siberian Orchestra live once, they had a different vocalist sing this song (Kayla Reeves). Despite her young age she screamed the song with such intensity she had the room in absolute stitches. In comparison to what I heard live, the recorded rendition of ‘Someday’ is as enticing as blood flavoured Jello. Luckily, the band had enough sense to end the EP on a strong note, with ‘Time You Should Be Sleeping’, a simple, beautiful song. However, the damage is already done.
Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night)
should be better than it is. Most of the songs lack that Christmassy, magical feel that the band have always been so good at evoking. I am not tired of the band’s trademark Christmas rock/metal, but at this point their formula seems stale from being left to dry for so long. It has been eight years since their last Christmas themed album after all, and after such a long wait, this EP is only more of a let-down. Not to mention that their last album (Night Castle
) was horrible. Can the band return to their former glory? Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night)
certainly doesn't inspire confidence.