Review Summary: Without the Christmas spirit, there's no magic to be found.
The success of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is nothing short of astounding. Taking a heavy metal band (Savatage) and re-purposing them as Christmas entertainers had to be a failure, but yet it worked. The band has sold millions of albums, and have two touring companies that sell out everywhere they go during the holiday season. Night Castle is the second album to pull away from Christmas, and is a perfect example of a band that doesn't know their limits.
Night Castle is bloated. It is a gigantic record sprawling across two discs, filled to the brim with orchestras and vocals. All of the elements of the band's best works are still there, the pianos still play their classical via Jim Steinman chords, the guitars sit in the background while a cast of singers stretch their lungs to keep up. But something is missing throughout the two hours of music here: fun.
The Christmas albums work because they are fun music, getting into the spirit of the season. Night Castle is a serious work, too serious. Song after song plods along, twenty six in all, almost exclusively ballads. The record is so slow, so devoid of any emotion besides sorrow, that there is no chance to let the music come alive. This is ponderous, tedious, unlistenable at times. Fatigue sets in well before the end of the first disc, making the second a chore to get through.
That second disc is largely composed of instrumental tracks and reinterpretations, rendering it needless. Worst of all is the rerecording of the Savatage classic "Believe". The song is the hallmark of the band, and turning it over to the sanitized Orchestra has put the final nail in the coffin of the metal pioneers. The song is still a classic, but is slowed down, neutered of its original power and guitar harmonies, sung by a vocalist bordering on ridiculous. It is a mockery of one of the greatest songs anyone involved in the Orchestra has written.
Night Castle probably has enough music in it to fill one good album. What that music is remains a mystery, because as it stands, Night Castle is not worth sitting through to get to the gems.
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What would have been an OK album, is bogged down with obvious filler....
two hours of dweedle and yodel minus christmas fun sounds dreadful
great review and like Ulsufyring said, two hours of dweedle and yodel minus the fun sounds downright dreadful
two hours of dweedle and yodel minus the fun sounds downright dreadful? egads
I probably won't be checking this group out good review
These guys are only good for a track or two, and that's with their Christmas material. So I can only imagine how awful this is to listen to. Nice review.
Album Rating: 2.0
I don't believe you
I love Trans Siberian Orchestra (going to see them in December) and I'll probably check this out.
What's with the change of logo? Good review, though I heard they recruited Kurdt Vanderhoof for this one so I want to at the very least give it a listen.
This band is amazing to listen to a few days before Christmas.
I'd rather listen to Savatage.
This sucks to hear, but I might check it out anyway. I love these guys, they bring the spirit of the holidays. I hope to see them again this year, their so sick live
Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off
1.5?! Surely it isn't *that* bad...
That's a shame. I was optimistic for this, since 'Beethoven's Last Night' was so good and they've played the Christmas theme out a bit.
NOOO. I was really excited for this, but i can see what you mean where it went wrong. I saw them... it was phenomenal and the last one was good. But I thought this would be great. They played a song from this at the show that was sick. What happened...
i hate this fucking band
Well they hate you too
gah thats too bad, ill check it out later but usually i agree with the scores on here so it must not be all that great, other albums are still great though.
I'll probably check this out when my dad eventually gets it. TSO is his favorite band.
God I have to buy this!
This review is absent of any understanding of what TSO and it's members are all about. This album is a story of love, tragedy, and redemption. It is not about the joyous season - it is about the paths in life we take and how we redeem ourselves from our less than proud moments in life.
Fun? Well, I guess not - it is a departure from the Christmas music fun they have displayed in the past, but it has a much different purpose as well.
I bought this on Tuesday (release day). I went home, sat in my recording studio, told everyone to leave me alone for a few hours. By the time it was over, I had cried, smiled, and gave thought to some of my own past actions, some with pride, some with shame. The emotional reaction, may have been uncomfortable at times, but it was most definitely strong. This is not a fun story, but so often in life, the fun just isn't present.
I agree about Believe. I do much prefer Jon Oliva's original recording of that tune. But it's nice to re-introduce it to a legion of fans who will likely not buy a copy of Streets.
If you are a genuine TSO Fan, and have seen the past works of TSO and Savatage as a whole body of work, I think you will enjoy this album very much. It is not a "Fun" story, but it is a very hopeful one.
No magic to be found? Anytime John Oliva and Paul O'Neill step into the same room there is magic to be found. This is not an album, it is an experience.
All I ask of you, is believe...
I LOVED IT!!
Album Rating: 2.0
honestly I love every record this band has especially the beethoven one but this was just bad
it's because there aren't as many pianos on this one