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110 of 114 found the following review helpful:
The strongest TSO album thus far! Nov 28, 2004
By Mike Coleman
TSO finally completes their third album to the Christmas Trilogy they have been planning to complete, and they finish it with a bang! Here is the whole overview of the album...
1. First Noel (Instrumental) - Starts out with nice catchy piano, and into the main melody, and then around 2 minutes into an added part by TSO. Similar to the bridge in "Boughs Of Holly" back on "The Christmas Attic". Then back into the main melody Great guitar work, lots of fast paced soloing with a hard rock touch (like most of the songs on this album are). Great instrumental.
2. The Lost Christmas Eve - Starts with a haunting guitar melody. Then the vocals kick in, and then distortion later on. Great lyrics as well. Then around the 4 minute mark, Bam! The guitar comes back for another round of shredding.
3. Christmas Dreams - A catchy song. Catchy vocals and piano part. Even though there are awesome guitar harmonies in this song the vocals are also great as well, to make this TSO original one of the catchiest yet...
4. Wizards Of Winter (Instrumental) - Right at the beginning, you know this is going to blow up to something big. This song is a battle field for orchestra instruments vs. the electric guitar vs. Piano all competing to gain there own spot of superiority in this song, while the drums and bass act as a peacemaker to even the score. The doubling of violins and guitars later on in the song is fantastic. Absolute Perfection. Amazing song. A real rocker with ALL the instruments rocking out.
5. Remember - Starts out soft, we need something soft after "Wizards Of Winter". Starts with piano and church bells, and then the choir kicks in. A nice choir arrangement which is very soothing to listen to. There just isn't too much to say about this except that it is nice and relaxing to listen to
6. Anno Domine - An other choir piece (highlighting the men), although you do hear women parts kick in very soon. Awesome 4 part harmonies if you like choir pieces, here is another one, with a piano part which will make you smile.
7. Christmas Concerto (Instrumental) - 42 seconds of Brass instruments playing a Christmas Concerto, nothing more... nice little addition to the album
8. Queen Of The Winter Night (Instrumental for the most part) - The rock couldn't be gone for long! Because here it comes again. A very upbeat christmas song especially when it kicks in around 1:10, with the violin and piano playing a melody and the guitar keeping the rhythm. Then a vocal humming notes as the piano repeats the notes that the vocal casts out, more battling, haha. Then back into the upbeatness, almost like a "Boughs Of Holly" or "First Snow" type feel again, (which I love), with more guitar playing that will blow you away!
9. Christmas Nights In Blue - A song about a Christmas night in NYC. A man singing the blues, with a VERY hard rock touch for the blues. I must say, very awesome, piano part in the beginning, VERY bluesy.
10. Christmas Jazz (Instrumental) - An acoustic piece. A Jazz piece with a Christmas type feel. An acoustic guitar with also a bass guitar as well which you can here. Very nice piece. Great work on the guitar
11. Christmas Jam (Instrumental) - WOW! TSO just exploded into Savatage again with this one. Nothing but a hard rock edge to this instrumental. Awesome guitar riff and soloing. Almost doesn't sound like a Christmas song, but this just shows how Hard Rock TSO can be with still being able to tell it's them playing the song! Guitar players, enjoy.
12. Siberian Sleigh Ride (Instrumental) - Don't be fooled by the soft little acoustic intro. guitar players, don't sit down yet. You have another shredder right here!!! SICK guitar work! Almost a Joe Satriani influenced instrumental. It does indeed feel like you are on a sleigh ride riding down a hill to the sweet sounds of that electric guitar screeching out those notes, in a wonderful major key. Nice drum work as well. In fact all of the instruments do an extreme job in this one. Another rocker right here! Absolutely awesome!
13. What Is Christmas? - Back to the vocals, but we are still very upbeat right at the beginning of this song! A great upbeat song with all the instruments included. Starting out with Piano and a Synth, blasting in with violins, bells, guitar, bass, and drums. Then the song takes you from there, with those vocals that double the notes the bells/synth are doing.
14. For The Sake Of Our Brother - A soft one, but you need one after all of that! Wow! A beautiful piano and vocal piece. Also in the middle of the song going into O Come All Ye Faithful. Beautiful vocals. I usually don't say that about TSO vocals. But wow this guy has a beautiful voice, especially when he goes into "O Come All Ye Faithful", just beautiful...
15. Wisdom Of Snow - A piano instrumental. I enjoy listening to this. Not complicated piano work for an experienced player, but the melody, and chords he plays put you in the mood of Christmas like you wouldn't believe. That's what TSO does, all the time, with every album. You can just picture the snow falling while listening to this perfectly.
16. Wish Liszt (Toy Shop Madness) - Starts out with Piano (you can tell trouble is ahead). And you are correct, because here comes a SCREECHING guitar, and a nicely organized piano part, with guitar to pack it up. The guitar gets a little more complicated throughout the song and the song gets a little darker/heavier with guitar as it goes by. Then BOOM! Back into "Christmas Jam" we go!!! Then the GUITAR SHREDS like you wouldn't believe, ALL over again! Just like in Christmas Jam! It's awesome, and unexpected! It then goes back into Wish Liszt and ends with piano and guitar doing part of the original melody. (Instrumental)
17. Back to A Reason (Part II) Yet another nice vocal piece. Sounds like a single almost. Something that would be worthy of being on the radio. I mean to me everything on this album (expecially the crazy instrumentals) should be on the radio. But this one may be one that would be expected by the pop crowd.
Includes Guitar, drums, bass, piano. Mostly piano.
18. Christmas Bells, Carousels and Time (Instrumental) - Church Bells, Synths, and Strings create an intro for the next song. Sounds dark, and very nice...
19. What Child Is This? - Starts out dark from the last track. Vocals kick in. Around a minute or so, the distortion kicks in and things pick up. Much later a choir kicks in and joins in with the upbeat and distorted guitar with piano. Everything together sounds just excellent.
20. O Come All Ye Faithful - Acoustic piece. Just acoustic guitar. Sounds very nice, very well organized.
21. Christmas Canon Rock - starts out with a nice piano and keyboard arrangement. Guitars kick in. Then guitar harmonies kick in. Very nice. Female vocals kick in, very nice too. Choir in the back is very nice. Then the guitar and vocals duel later on, and its absolutely amazing. Awesome Guitar solo yoo.
22. Different Wings - Just acoustic with female vocals. Not much to say except that it sounds very nice and relaxing to listen to, and the acoustic part is awesome, something I would never think of coming up with...let's just leave it at that.
23. Midnight Clear (Acoustic) - an added track. Another acoustic track. Playing the original melody of the song, with a few added licks in there, as TSO always does. Great outro to the album.
And there it is...I love this album, hope I helped.
88 of 95 found the following review helpful:
TSO Makes Christmas Rock! Dec 29, 2004
By D. Mikels
"It's always Happy Hour here"
Humbug. Even before Halloween treats can be digested the endless Christmas tunes come calling. Thanksgiving feasts give way to carols and jingles and sing-a-longs that saturate the airwaves and muzak systems from sea to shining sea. Each Holiday Season becomes so musically maniacal that I tell myself if I hear one more rendition of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" I am absolutely going to go Scroogal.
Thankfully, I learned about the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The brainchild of gifted musicians/composers Paul O'Neill and Robert Kinkel, TSO takes traditional Christmas music and transforms it into clean, enthusiastic, hard-driving rock 'n roll guaranteed to make the listener strum his or her air guitar. TSO's latest installment, THE LOST CHRISTMAS EVE, contains some first-class tracks that make Alvin & The Chipmunks a delightful distant memory.
Granted, some of the 23 tracks on this CD fall short of the mark: either the singing is lacking or the lyrics too sappy--or both. But the brilliant stuff overshadows the shallow cuts--hard-driving tracks like "Faith Noel" and "Christmas Jam" are worth this CD's purchase price alone. The best cut, by far: "Christmas Canon Rock," a haunting, stunning, incredibly impressive menagerie of beautiful harmony and lead guitar wizardry. In fact, lead guitarist Al Pitrelli can come jam at my house anytime.
THE LOST CHRISTMAS EVE is must-listen music for those tired of the typical Holiday grind. Even Santa himself would enjoy this band--and he's got the long hair and beard to fit right in.
29 of 30 found the following review helpful:
I Heart TSO (And hope I can get an A off of them...) Oct 20, 2004
By Kelly Gondek
I am taking a music business course in college. We were given the task to choose an artist that is releasing an album in time for Christmas and track the progress of the band and album while doing research about such things as distribution, royalties, and all the work that goes into cutting an album. When I got this album, I was pretty pissed off at TSO because I was writing a paper on them at the time. But as soon as I put it in my Discman, all the anger melted away. Faith Noel, the first track, is much like Christmas Eve Sarajevo from "Christmas Eve and Other Stories": a totally rocking instrumental of a classic hymn. As I am also a guitar student, the use of electric guitars is amazing to my ears. It put me in the mood for Christmas, even though it was the middle of October. Other great instrumentals: Wizards in Winter, Wisdom of Snow, Wish Liszt, O Come All Ye Faithful.
As a theatre student, the songs with singing seem very Broadway-esque, as some of the male singers remind me vocally of Michael Crawford, the Phantom of the Opera. Such intensity, such force, such emotion. Great tracks with lyrics: The Lost Christmas Eve, Christmas Dreams, Anno Domine, Christmas Nights in Blue, What Is Christmas?(They all are awesome, those are just my favorites!)
If you love TSO, dramatic music, or classical music with a rocking twist, get this album...give me something to write about! Happy Halloween!
29 of 31 found the following review helpful:
The Lost Christmas Eve Oct 12, 2004
By B. E Nickerson
Not saying that I know everything about everything and this whole thing is just my opinion. Last July I met with TSO and auditioned for them. I am on a call back list and will hopefully be going again to play for them in Jan. For the past 2 years I have directed live performances of Xmas Eve and Other Stories and Beethoven's Last night at the University of MA in Lowell. Since first hearing them and then seeing them every year since they began touring, I have been absolutely amazed with everything they do. They have never ceased to amaze me.
Comes in expanded size CD pack with booklet separate from Jewel case. No wonder...it's a really long and well developed story. This album features just about ever member of TSO both from the studio and the road including David Z, Tristan Akavian, Angus Clark, and Jeff Allegue. Also 3 different drummers, 3 keyboardists and 3 different choirs. This incredible vocal and instrumental cast shows how huge and successful TSO has become. The artwork is simply beautiful and layout is identical to previous TSO albums.
Awesome kickin' opener, not as melodious and singable as Boughs of Holly but feature awesome guitar work and great arrangement. Simple yet complex enough to be enjoyed
Lost Christmas Eve
Eerie, ominous yet ho0liday-esuqe somehow. No strings, which would've made it even better. Incredible lyrics and a great opening narrative song. Has an eerie section of a child singing which ads to the wandering ambience that the song creates. I personally would have loved to have hear Jody Ashworth (Beethoven) but J. Mark McVey holds his own very well and delivers this song with power and passion.
A much softer and warmer feeling. This song really feels like the opening to a Broadway show. Michael Lanning reminds me of a Guy Lemmonier. He does very well. This song is not as strong or grabbing as previous TSO vocal songs. Music is so-so, lyrics are very good. This guy is definitely straight from Broadway and it shows in his execution of the vocals. Song stars slower and picks up to a driving "Vienna-esque " feel. Still no strings...L
It is clear thus far that the songs were written solely centered on the lyrics. It sounds at times like the lyrics are too complex and too arduous for the music. Not as verse-chorus-verse based as previous songs
Wizards In Winter
Full instrumental. The song from the opening of the new TSO site. Awesome song with a great heavy feel much more string based. Has a truly Russian-driving feel feels based off of a lost section of the Nutcracker. A bit repetitive but it doesn't matter because it's just that little bit different each time. The music feels more movie-score based than a traditional song that one would sing along with (even though it's an instrumental). Awesome piano lines I must learn at once. Great flying string and guitar work with choirs in background.
Opens with a March feel like Prince of Peace but a bit more energetic. Calmer piece and first children's choir song since Xmas Attic. Vocals are similar to A Star to Follow but with children. O'Neill will never loose his remarkable ability to write rounds especially those centered around children's choir. Great melodic lines with repeating music in background. This prevents the music from distracting the listener from the strong lyrics and vocal performance.
Sounds like an old-style Carol sing-along. A child/male choir mix with light instrumentation. Again, very vocal based. At this point, it has set a completely different feel than the opening album. As enjoyable as these songs are, they're much more background Xmas party music than the opening of the album. At this point, it better get much heavier from here. I appreciate choirs and round and nearly a cappella stuff but TSO is about the rocking Xmas
Ok,. now I'm scared. I'm waiting for Gene Autry to come in singing some old-style Xmas song. This horn quartet sounding piece is a little sequence into the next song. It's very short and rather pointless.
Queen of the Winter Night
Back to the flying piano fingers and heavy guitars and band. It's like a warm bath of TSO. Another instrumental featuring the opening line from Mozart's Don Giovanni. Very cool mix of operatic vocals and pinched-guitars. With lighter but still revved section interspersed within. Definitely imagine "Figaro" going Xmas. And it works more or less. These songs aren't as easy to sing along to or as catchy because they are much more musically involved. There is much more true musical composition so far rather than just chugging the typical I-IV-V with rhyming lyrics above it. After Beethoven, it feels like TSO has taken a much more serious and mature approach to their pieces.
Christmas Nights in Blue
Here we go, the Jazz hits. Sounding like a mean street song lost from Oliver or Annie. Nice gritty vocals provided by James Robert Lewis. Again, great and very involved lyrics and at times the music the music barely holds on. In the style of "The 3 Kings and I" but nowhere near as driving or heavy.
Acoustic guitar and Bass reprise of the main melody heard in the before. Here, the melody is varied and developed. Great acoustic work and performance. I still feel like I'm waiting for the heavy TSO to take the stager. Thus far, the album feels like a warm-up or opening act for TSO. Thus far, it just doesn't have the TSO flare and feel that I've come to love...L
Opens with a cheesy useless poetic line. Then the band comes in full throttle. Same rhythmic line for the first minute or so then the piano and tubular bells take the helm for the melodic line. Definitely could imagine the group just going with a singular rhythmic line (like in the instrumental section of "The Grinch") and letting Al and Bob or Jon take turns going back and forth with improve. From that standpoint, it's a very cool song. Just expect something you can just listen to and enjoy and again, not really hum along to. After a few minutes, it gets much more intense and concentrated and really opens up. Still with the same chordal lines going on underneath, the guitars really show off to the end.
Siberian Sleigh Ride
Starts with a clean guitar line of Jingle Bells. The band comes in with an offbeat feel between the rhythmic guitars and drums. It feels like they are really flying over the top with the fluttering guitar/piano/string fingers to make up for the previous soft and often times dull songs. Again, nothing very recognizable or sing-able. When I listen to instrumentals (especially previous TSO works, Appalachian Snowfall, First Snow, Beethoven etc.) I like to be able to sing along or at least be able to tell which part is coming because of the flow of the song). These songs are preformed extremely well and as I said, the composition is terrific, they just have a much different and unpredictable feel than previous TSO pieces.
What is Christmas
Hmm....was Vangelis visiting the studios this day? Robert Evan (featured on many TSO tours) comes in strong and sure. He has such as great voice and this song does him perfect justice. Again, similar melody repeated under great lyrics. Section B of the song is such pounded chords under a narrative feel. Is he the Grinch? Scrooge? It definitely works, this song is very enjoyable and entertaining. Still very Broadway feeling and I can only imagine what TSO will do with these song when performing them live.
For the Sake of Our Brother
Finally, after no show L on the BLN album, Diamond Daryl Pediford makes a glorious and delicate return to the TSO scene. More like Prince of the Peace but different in enough ways that this song can stand along. The immortal passion and divine dedication to his singing shows more than ever in this piece. I remember seeing this God live, he is probably one of the best live vocalists I have ever seen or heard. He makes it seem so natural and easy, I can only imagine the work he must put into everything that he does. God bless you Daryl!
The Wisdom of Snow
Warming piano opening to another instrumental. Feels much more like the interlude music than Bob provides during TSO shows. Then goes into a piano performance of the opening to the Savatage song "Back to a Reason" no doubt foreshadowing the TSO-treatment that the song will receive later on the album. A complete piano solo and very well performed and quite enjoyable. I can never tell Jon's playing from Bob's and it really doesn't matter cause they're both awesome.
This must have a quite a piece to put together. Piano virtuoso Franz Liszt was known for extremely difficult and heavily demanding passages and composition. So before even listening to it, kudos to TSO for taking it on. When band comes in it beings to take shape and sounds like it could be competent to stand up to the rendition of Tchaikovsky's "Mad Russian's Xmas". The piano is obviously very featured in this and definitely shows upfront the fine musicianship that this band possess. Again, just a listenable track showing how classical music can (with the right arranging mind) be interspersed with rock band lines. It's sound a bit forced at times but then again, I could never do any better and as I said Liszt is quite difficult to work with so I definitely do not hold it against them. Unfortunately, I am not as familiar with Liszt's repertoire as I am with others so I did not recognize much within the song, but it was definitely a great track.
Back to A Reason
Taken from the Savatage (the band that later became TSO) album "Poet's and Madmen". It's such a great song and this vocal treatment certainly does the song justice and I hope Jon oversaw the complete creation and recording of this song. This version is much heavier but not as metal in the Savatage. It's definitely TSO doing a cover of a Savatage song (as odd as that sounds as they are essentially the band. The change in the bridge is perfectly fitting for TSO and probably provides the best vocal/instrumental lines thus far on this album. The song is originally about the cruelty of the world and how a lonely and lost soul put all of its confidence and trust in a single love. This version provides a completely different view and yet retains the power and emotion that the song originally created.
Christmas Bells, Carousels and Time
Darker and almost video game esque orchestra opens this track. All I have to say is...that's it? It's about a minute long and really goes nowhere. Again, they feel they needed a mild transition to the next song. As much as I love the little ditties that TSO puts on their album, often times I expect them (such as this one) to blast into something huge and exciting and they just end...very disappointing.
What Child is This?
Another dark and somber opening with light drums and piano. Opens with the line from the famous carols but them goes into original composition. Gets heavy and again Robert Evan's magnificent vocals are showcased. Once again, repeated chordal and rhythmic pattern under great lyrics. Sensing a pattern on this album? Thus far, this album's lyrics are much better and not as forced to rhyme as the other albums have seemed and not as cheesy as Beethoven's Last Night.
Great bridge section where the music and lyrics truly meet on a level of greatness. It seems finally like the music is supporting the lyrics and vocals rather than barely holding on. When the choir comes in behind the lead vocals it provides a similar feel as to when This Christmas pounds into the heavy and quick section. Probably, the best vocal song on the album. The vocals overall are much more powerful and in-your-face (but not too much) and it feel more like a live show than listening to an album.
O Come All Ye Faithful
Quite brief acoustic instrumental similar to the post scripts on Xmas Eve & Other Stories.
Christmas Cannon Rock
Taken from The Christmas Attic. They first did this version of this song at their show last year. It was definitely an awesome performance. The song is similar enough so that anyone who liked the original will not be disappointed but it is also different enough that anyone who didn't should enjoy this version. I wasn't expecting this be on the album but when I read the track list, I was definitely quite pleased. Great strong vocals provided by Jennifer Calla and again I can close my eyes and feel just like I'm seeing TSO live. This is a truly magical and warming song that stands as one of the strongest vocal/instrumental tracks on the album.
For the closing song, Jennifer Calla takes the duties and this song is a light "Old City Bar" meets "A Final Dream"-esque tune that brings the album to a soothing and dreaming close. I kind of wanted something heavy to end the album like Xmas Eve or Xmas Attic but this a good song in it's vocal lines and light acoustic guitar accompaniment.
The final post script and ultimate ending to the Christmas Trilogy. Another acoustic tribute to one of the greater Christmas Carols that we have all come to love.
Upon finishing the album, I am not as touched and speechless as I was when I first heard the Beethoven or Xmas Attic albums. The Lost Christmas Eve is definitely a very strong album with many great moments. It is just not as concentrated in being something that you can sing along with after a few listens. The instrumentals are not as recognizable as previous ones have been thus I don't feel so "holy crap, I know this song and that' incredible what they did with it". Also, keep in mind, they are only so many traditional Christmas songs out there, and TSO used many if not all of the most recognizable ones on their previous 2 albums so they only had so much left to work with. Not that that's a bad thing, but take it as you will. After waiting 5 years for a new TSO album, I must say I'm a bit disappointed but I certainly love and respect the band and their heaven-sent abilities to capture Christmas and it's truest and often most buried meaning. I am certain that when these songs are performed live, they will be given the energy and show-stopping performances that will truly bring them to live and then maybe I'll completely understand where the band is coming from. . You really have to read the story to understand the songs. Unlike Xmas Eve and Xmas Attic the songs will not stand alone as well if one does not first read the story. The story is absolutely amazing, the lyrics and very strong and powerful, the music gets a bit too Broadway for me at times and the songs (even the instrumental) just don't move me the way previous TSO efforts have. Overall 6 stars out of 10. Or in this case 3 out of 5.
12 of 12 found the following review helpful:
Symphonic Christmas music Dec 07, 2004
By E. A Solinas
Trans-Siberian Orchestra is not Christmas music for mall-shoppers -- it's richly symphonic Christmas music. And "The Lost Christmas Eve" is a rock opera of epic proportions, giving a new edge to Christmas music while telling a story about love, magic and beauty. It's Christmas music for classical fans, rock fans... or anyone who appreciates a new spin on the old.
It opens with a bang in the guitar-driven fervor of "Faith Noel," a sweeping rock reinterpretation of "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "The First Noel." Following it up is the eerie title track, and the bouncy bells of "Wizards in Winter." Some songs are driven by rich choirs, like "Remember" and the upbeat, soaring "Anno Domine."
But the rock edge is kept all throughout the album, such as the piano-driven "Christmas Dreams" and "Queen of the Winter Night," that blossom into bass-driven rockers. Not to mention the cascading hard rock of "Christmas Jam," or the rollicking "Christmas Sleigh Ride." But it ends on a quiet note, with the acoustic instrumental "Midnight Clear."
While Mannheim Steamroller tends towards Christmas music with a medieval edge, the sound of Trans-Siberian Orchestra is pretty modern. It blends classical, rock, jazz, choral numbers, and even a bit of metal. What's especially good is that it's enchanting without the story, though the story enhances the music further.
The story that "The Lost Christmas Eve" frames is, let's face it, a little sappy -- but it's a pretty, sweet one anyway. It's the tale of a little angel ("the youngest angel") sent to Earth for one night. He has only that long to find the person who best continued Christ's work on Earth; when he arrives, he finds many people from many walks of life, any of whom could be the one he seeks. The potential sappiness is tempered with references to crack babies, the mentally challenged, lost spouses, and much more. The entire story is included in an accompanying booklet.
The vocals are pretty solid, although J. Mark McVey sounds rather melodramatic in the title song. Michael Lanning gives some strong, restrained singing before letting rip, and Jennifer Cella's vocals are quiet and gentle. And that's only a few of the singers. There are also four choirs, including the strong Rock Choir, and the sweet-voiced Christmas Canon choir.
Bass and guitar aren't usually thought of as being "Christmas" instruments, but the typical rock blasts are tempered into symphonic grandeur, assisted by quiet piano and strings. The keyboards are especially important; they take the melodies just over the top to make them sound epic and sweeping. In a nutshell, the instrumentation is a perfect blend of typical Christmas music, and solid rock'n'roll.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "The Lost Christmas Eve" is a win-win scenario -- sentimentalists will love the story of loss, love and Christmas, while the more prosaic will love the sweeping rock orchestrals.
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