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Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Christmas Eve & Other Stories CD (album) cover

CHRISTMAS EVE & OTHER STORIES

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

 

Crossover Prog

3.00 | 50 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Draith
4 stars For a while I wasn't sure where to place TSO on the progressive map, but with more careful listening I decided they were indeed a good fit for Crossover. There are plenty of progressive elements to go around and quality musicianship, as well as with this band the unavoidable and inevitable tendency towards popular music as a result of the cliché quality that Christmas music naturally has since we hear it so much every year. Fortunately, there is little if anything at all cliché about this album, which I think is their most underrated, and is a great progressive album overall, especially for the holidays. It is not without it's flaws, of course, but it has many strengths, and in my book enough to somewhat compensate for them.

Unlike pretty much all of the other albums I've heard of their's, there is virtually no filler through the album. Just about every song is well thought out, instrumentally and lyrically, and the produced result is great. The only somewhat mediocre track I would say is Ornament, which is, if you hear the song, for obvious reasons. Specific instruments and their usage, such as the bells, are effective in giving the overall album a great atmosphere, portraying the mood of the conceptual story very well at each moment. When I listen to this album, I get a great sense of instrumental balance. Some of this album is quite reminiscent of classic prog and hard rock, especially Fragile and A Night at the Opera. The drumming is relatively interesting and compliments the rest of the music quite adequately. The most notable songs are the more well known ones of course, A Mad Russian's Christmas and Sarajevo 12/24, though the album would still carry its own weight without them. Even the tid-bit guitar bonus tracks at the end are quite pleasant. I won't discuss the story line, as the version most will probably buy doesn't have the special narrated version, which helps a lot in understanding it. I was quite fortunate in being able to hear it really, because it really does add a lot to the album, as it is a good story, to say the least.

Only a few flaws slightly bog this album down from otherwise being a masterpiece. The main one is the vocals - mainly the guest vocals. They aren't really bad, and tend to fit well with the mood as they are, but are just quite mediocre. As well, there are occasional keyboard/piano parts that are at times repetitive and at others corny, but these are quite few and far between. There are also a couple sections where the writing seems a bit thin, like it could have used another instrument or two added on top or bottom. However, these are issues that are common in many not quite masterpiece albums.

Overall the album is very well composed and produced. It has a great, balanced mixture of classical Christmas tunes combined with hard rock, almost metal elements and some very interesting arrangements. It is the band's first, and in my mind, best overall album so far. It's a great album for anytime, and especially Christmas.

Draith | 4/5 |

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