Trans-Siberian Orchestra – “Letters From the Labyrinth” (2015)

Label: Lava Music/Republic Records

Review by Tony Cannella

Trans-Siberian Orchestra is so tied in to their yearly Christmas touring extravaganza that sometimes it is easy to forget that they are capable of music which has a non-holiday flavor. With their new album “Letters From the Labyrinth”, TSO proves that they are a viable rock band for all seasons. “Letters From the Labyrinth” is pretty much what we’ve come to expect from TSO. Big grandiose rock songs, beautiful ballads, progressive arena rock and classically flavored numbers – all augmented by some seriously talented musicians and vocalists. The opener “Time and Distance” is a huge choir-filled number and a great way to begin the proceedings. The instrumental, “Madness of Men” is next and is followed by “Prometheus” which features lead vocals courtesy of Jeff Scott Soto. As always an enormous array of talent is utilized. With such talents as Paul O’Neill, Jon Oliva, Al Pitrelli, Chris Caffery, Joel Hoekstra and Jeff Plate – just to name a few – and believe me, there is a lot more and they all deserve recognition. Some of the great singers you will hear include the aforementioned Soto, Sir Russell Allen (Symphony X) on “Not Dead Yet”, Kayla Reeves and Jennifer Cella. Other highlights include: “The Night Conceives”, “Stay”, “Past Tomorrow” and “Forget About the Blame” – there are actually two versions of this song. The first features Robin Borneman on vocals and the second is a bonus track with none other than Lzzy Hale contributing lead vocals. For anyone who has seen TSO’s shows it is no secret that they bring it every night (sometimes twice-a-day). With “Letters From the Labyrinth” they have proven that that energy and vitality can translate to – very comfortably – the studio. Still, there is nothing like seeing TSO live. That is not to minimize “Letters From the Labyrinth” – this is a great album created by some great musicians.

Rating – 85/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Time and Distance
  2. Madness of Men
  3. Prometheus
  4. Mountain Labyrinth
  5. King Rurik
  6. Prince Igor
  7. The Night Conceives
  8. Forget About the Blame
  9. Not Dead Yet
  10. Past Tomorrow
  11. Stay
  12. Not the Same
  13. Who I Am
  14. Lullaby Night
  15. Forget About the Blame feat. Lzzy Hale (Bonus Track)

 

Line-Up

The Band

  • Paul O’Neill – Guitars
  • Chris Caffery – Guitars
  • Angus Clark – Guitars
  • Joel Hoekstra – Guitars
  • Al Pitrelli – Lead & Rhythm Guitars
  • Jon Oliva – Keyboards, Guitar & Bass
  • Luci Butler – Keyboards
  • Mee Eun Kim – Keyboards
  • Vitalij Kuprij – Keyboards
  • Jane Mangini – Keyboards
  • Derek Wieland – Keyboards
  • Asha Mevlana – Violin & Strings
  • Roddy Chong – Violin & Strings
  • Lowell Adams – Strings
  • Nancy Chang – Strings
  • Lei Liu – Strings
  • John Tucker – Horns (Leader)
  • Kenneth Brantley – Horns
  • Jay Coble – Horns
  • Ashby Wilkins – Horns
  • Johnny Lee Middleton – Bass
  • David Zablidowsky – Bass
  • John O. Reilly – Drums
  • Jeff Plate – Drums
  • Dave Wittman – Drum, Guitar & Bass inserts for those little things the rest of us forgot

 

Lead Vocals

  • Kayla Reeves on “The Night Conceives” and “Not the Same”
  • Robin Borneman & Lzzy Hale on “Forget About the Blame”
  • Jeff Scott Soto on “Prometheus”
  • Sir Russell Allen on “Not Dead Yet”
  • Adrienne Warren on “Stay”
  • Jennifer Cella on “Past Tomorrow”

 

Background Vocals

  • “Forget About the Blame”: Lucille Jacobs, Minnie W. Leonard, Keith Jacobs
  • “Who I Am”: Danielle Sample, Erika Jerry, Chloe Lowery, Dari Mahnic, Bart Shatto, Andrew Ross, John Brink, Natalya Piette, Jodi Katz, James Lewis, Georgia Napolitano, Tim Hockenberry
  • “Time and Distance (The Dash)”: Danielle Sample, Chloe Lowery, Ava Davis, Kayla Reeves, Adrienne Warren, Andrew Ross, Chris Pinnella, Rob Evan, Parker Sipes, Phillip Brandon, Dustin Brayley, April Berry, Autumn Guzzardi

 

Links

facebook.com/TSO

twitter.com/trans_siberian

trans-siberian.com