Five years since their last release, Trans-Siberian Orchestra return with a double album of all new material, entitled 'Nightcastle'. 'Nightcastle' is the Capra- esque story of someone changing their life for the better. T... more »he physical version of the album includes a 68 full color illustrated booklet.« less
Five years since their last release, Trans-Siberian Orchestra return with a double album of all new material, entitled 'Nightcastle'. 'Nightcastle' is the Capra- esque story of someone changing their life for the better. The physical version of the album includes a 68 full color illustrated booklet.
"I have been a fan of TSO for about 10 years now. I have gone to 3 concerts plus one this coming year. I remember waiting for the Beethoven CD and it did not disappoint. Then I waited after many delays for A Lost Christmas Eve and it came did not disappoint. It has been 5 years sense the last TSO album and its finally here! I remember hearing the preview songs and was not totally thrilled. It seemed over done, too clean, and it seemed there was too much hype that no album could ever overcome.
But the thing about Night Castle that makes a purchase worth it is the lyrics. TSO lyrics have only gotten better. My favorite song from their first album, Old City Bar, was the beginning of showing TSO's true colors. They aren't just about rocking out with electric guitars playing famous classical pieces....rather they take their time creating lyrics that mean so much more. "There was a life" may be my new favorite TSO piece over "What is Eternal" from the Beethoven CD. Not only do the lyrics have so much meaning but there seems to be a lot of effort in each song. Most songs are about 5 minutes long with some shorter and the longest at around 10. The sheer size of quantity AND quality show how much work has been put into this album.
Cons - 1. Seems overdone and over edited in some places 2. We have been waiting 5 years! So it may be too hyped
Pros - 1. Price is great for this double album 2. It seems there has been more effort put into this album than any other 3. A great mix of classic TSO album and their heart and soul lyrics that drive the album home 4. This album is a great for the entire album no matter what age you are.
Overall - I would say this would be a great addition to any TSO fans library. There are plenty of songs for non TSO listeners to be weened into being a fan with, especially if they aren't a fan of Christmas music.
This is a great CD. I highly recommend it!"
Great and a little dissappointing after 5 years
B. E. Nickerson | Amesbury, MA United States | 10/27/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Great: It's been nearly 10 years since TSO's last non-Christmas effort, Beethoven's Last Night. While completely bombastic, over the top, and bordering on ridiculous, it was a great and very original take on a story involving a key figure in musical history. The arrangments (vocal and instrumental) were solid as was the majority of the song witing and the performances.
I love TSO. Must make that clear, I directed live performances of two of their albums (Xmas Eve & Beethoven's Last Night) when I was in college and have studied them and their music in depth for over a decade. They have always had an unparalleled ability to instill beauty, magic, and tenderness in their music and truly captivate their audiences.
Now in 2009, we have Night-Castle. A double disc, 28-song epic. The question is however, does it truly reflect 5 years of work and the need for the constant delays.
The instrumentals, as TSO is famous for, are certainly the perk of the album. Leading numbers being Midnight & Madness, The Lion's Roar, Tracers, and Flight of Cassandra (possibly one of their most versatile and best) and Nutrocker.
My heart jumped when I saw the title "The Mountain" as I thought, my god, maybe finally a metal-version of Night on Bald Mountain. No luck, unortunately it was merely an underperformed, uninspired, rehashing of Savatage's cover of "Hall of the Mountain King"
The treatment of Verdi's "Requiem" re-titled "Night Enchanted" is solid and has a truly kicking opening but at about a minute in, gives way to completely over produced vocals (female mainly) and is a bit repetitive and over-produced. The lowest point of the instrumentals is possibly the shameless borrowing of Savatage's "Mozart & Madness". Now cleverly (not) titled "Mozart and Memories" it is so unneccessary that it borders on insulting to Savatage fans. I do respect that they may want to introduce fans to the music of Savatage and Mozart and Madness was a great track but its place was on Dead Winter Dead, not here.
While the instrumentals are strong, some absorb track time by overly repetitive riffs, immensely exaggerated ritardanos and diminuendo and few have any shred of modulation or creative tempo change.
The vocal songs are packed full of musical emotion albiet they are really just over-the-top ballads pounding I,vi,IV,V for up to ten minutes (see Epiphany & There was a Life) The vocalists sound unmotivated and do not at all refelct the immense emotion heard on previous TSO albums. Most open with a standard 8-16 bar piano progression. Oliva, Kinkell, and O'Neill certainly have an undoubtable knack for these openings as they always "twinkle" in a sense and bring about that "magical (Christmas?) feelings and provide for a delightful listening experience.
I was very happy at the lack of filler tracks (only 2 tracks under a minute) but between the amount of borrowed material, the mechanicaly-perfect sounds, and the computer-sounding choral vocals they should just focus on writing and continuing to be as original as possible, not over producing and perfecting everything beyond acceptable reality. With all of the formulaic, fake, and repetitive garbage in mainstream music, it is pertinent for a group such as TSO, who bring something so unique and new to modern Rock and Classical, to keep as much of their material as original and unique as possible.
As always, the musicians are top notch, the arrangments are masterful but the this is certainly far from their best effort. I do however have complete faith that as TSO continues to strive for new musical heights and directions (thank god they're laying off the dead-horse that was Christmas) they will certainly continue to broaden their audience and hopefully continue to bring us solid classical/classic rock/metal influences music for years!
A bit disappointing....
Phil K | Ohio | 10/26/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Ok..1st off..i'm a big fan of TSO..saw them on the very 1st tour in 99..and this year will be my 10th show. That being said..i'm a bit disappointed after the 5 year wait for Night Castle. Don't get me wrong..the instrumentals are great..the production is 1st rate..but there is a lot of "filler" here...and the "operatic" vocals are starting to wear very thin with me..the over-enunciated..Broadway musical style vocals get to be grating after a while. And i'm hearing the same lyrics being used over and over again..( on this night..stars being/not being wished upon..etc.). Maybe after all the hype and the long wait..it was innevitable that i would be a bit let down with this..i don't know. I know that it doesn't move me nearly as much as all the prior TSO releases did. Oh well..it was a good 10 year run! Let's just hope they don't get in a rut they can't dig themselves out of.......a great stage show will only take you so far."
TSO is Not your grandmother's Christmas CD!
Jennifer | MA | 10/26/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Most people that follow Trans-Siberian Orchestra know that they are also Savatage, but Trans-Siberian has the Orchestra. That being said, for those that don't follow Trans-Siberian Orchestra and want to buy a Christmas Album off of Amazon need to know what to expect. Trans-Siberian Orchestra makes magnificant Christmas Albums, but they are not what one expects to hear played over and over on the radio...(with the exception of Mad Russian's Christmas), rather it is more of a Christmas Rock Opera. A story beginning on Christmas Eve and concluding with a Christmas Miracle. The lyrics are fantastic and the music amazing. Trans-Siberian also gives the lyrics and the story in a nice little "book" in each cd it makes. That being said, read the story and lyrics while listening to the cd to really get a great picture of their meaning. Now, as far as the music, as I stated before Trans-Siberian (had/has) an alter band named Savatage. They do very similar Rock Opera type CD's, but not Christmas CD's. Savatage is a great hard rock band with amazing stories and lyrics as well. Check out Streets and Wake of Magellan as well as about 15 others. They are a huge hit in other countries, more so than in America unfortunately). Trans-Siberian is the same group of people from Savatage, but they add an equally talented group of muscians for their Christmas music thus becoming Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Although, they did Beethoven's Last Night with TSO which is OUTSTANDING. I apologize for being long winded, but I don't want people to see this CD under Christmas albums and then purchase it only to find Rudolph and Santa aren't on it! What I am hoping to do is encourage people to purchase this CD (as well as TSO's amazing Christmas Cd's) for what it is...a BEAUTIFUL Story using phenominal instrument arrangements and incredible lyrics coupled with pitch perfect voices. You will be getting a "head banging" Cd that will melt your heart! Night Castle took way to long to come out and a few songs are Savatage which causes me to give it only 4 stars, but it is without a doubt another winner for Trans-Siberian Orchestra."
Good Instrumentals Plagued by Poor Vocals
Alex Cole | Syracuse, NY | 11/25/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased "Night Castle" after attending TSO's 2009 Winter Concert in Manchester, NH. The entire second half of the show was mostly songs off Night Castle -- songs I ended up falling in love with. Wanting more, I decided to purchase the CD immediately to try and recreate my concert experience.
It's not quite the same.
Let me start by saying the instrumental tracks are fantastic. Adrenaline pumping, dynamic, and creative. I could listen to some of these tracks over and over again. "Mozart's Memories" and "Nutrocker" are some of the best neo-classical renditions out there. The instrumentation is impressive as well.
Unfortunately, the vocal tracks take away from everything that makes the album great. Stale lyrics and subpar singing plague about 3/4 of the set list. One of the biggest problems is that the singing is simply overdone -- almost like the vocalists are "trying too hard," so to speak. After awhile, the vocal tracks all start to sound the same.
The album itself doesn't have much of a "flow" to it. TSO could've stacked the songs better instead of having one heavy song followed by three soft ones. It causes some sections of the album to move rather slow.
Longtime TSO fans, I would've been disappointed if I waited nearly five years for this album. But regardless of its shortcoming, "Night Castle" earns a 3/5 overall. It's worth $10 for the instrumental tracks alone but don't expect much otherwise."