Trans-Siberian Orchestra – “Night Castle” (2009)


Label : BMG Rights Management/Audioglobe

Review by Tony Cannella

By now everyone knows what to expect from Trans-Siberian Orchestra. A combination of Rock, Prog, Metal and Classical highlights this musical extravaganza.The band started out as a touring holiday troupe and their annual Christmas shows have become legendary. Now in recent years they have become a year round touring and recording entity. Their latest studio album, now released in Europe after 2 years from its original version, is the epic 2-disc, 28-song, over 2-hours long, “Night Castle”. As always, TSO has a great array of endless musical talent – from all backgrounds – at their disposal. The great Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Yngwie, Journey, solo, etc. etc.) adds his immense talents to “Night Castle” as well as three very talented female singers are on board. They are: Jennifer Cella, Alexa Goddard and Valentina Porter. All of which comes from a non-metal background but man can they ever sing! Not to mention some the great musicians who have participated. Alex Skolnick, Chris Caffrey, Al Pitrelli and Jon Oliva among many, many others are all on hand, even progressive rock legend Greg Lake (ELP) adds bass to the track “Nutrocker”. “Night Castle” is a complex concept album which you can read about on their web-site or CD booklet; suffice it to say there is a lot going on both musically and lyrically. The album kicks off with the choir dominated “Night Enchanted”. The 3rd track “Sparks” has an energetic classic rock feel to it, with a great guitar solo. Fans of Savatage will find the instrumental “The Mountain” to be familiar as it incorporates parts of “Prelude to Madness” from ‘Tage’s “The Hall of the Mountain King” album. The female singers don’t surface until the 2nd disc on the tracks “Father, Son & Holy Ghost” a hugely grandiose part ballad part mid-tempo track featuring some superb vocals from Jennifer Cella. The next track “Remnants of a Lullaby” also features Jennifer taking the lead on the acoustic ballad. “Child of the Night” features the duo of Alexa Goddard and Valentina Porter taking over the lead on this symphony laced track. One of my only complaints about “Night Castle” is the fact that the male singers tend to sound similar to one another so it would have been nice to give the female singers a bit more to do. That is just a mild complaint however, as the material more than stacks up to previous TSO recordings. TSO has delivered another grand, huge, monstrously, unapologetically epic masterpiece with “Night Castle”. TSO has continued to ascend to new heights, which I am sure they will continue to do.

Rating – 85/100



Disc 1

  1. Night Enchanted
  2. Childhood Dreams
  3. Sparks
  4. The Mountain
  5. Night Castle
  6. The Safest Way Into Tomorrow
  7. Mozart and Memories
  8. Another Way You Can Die
  9. Toccata – Carpimus Noctem
  10. The Lion’s Roar
  11. Dreams We Conceive
  12. Mother and Son
  13. There Was A Life


Disc 2

  1. Moonlight and Madness
  2. Time Floats On
  3. Epiphany
  4. Bach Lullaby
  5. Father, Son and Holy Ghost
  6. Remnants of a Lullaby
  7. The Safest Way Into Tomorrow (Reprise)
  8. Embers
  9. Child of the Night (Bonus Track)
  10. Believe (Bonus Track)
  11. Nutrocker (Bonus Track)
  12. Carmina Burana (Bonus Track)
  13. Tracers (Bonus Track)
  14. Requiem (Live 2010) (Bonus Track)
  15. Toccata – Carpimus Noctem (Live 2010) (Bonus Track) 


Line Up

  • Paul O’Neill – Guitars
  • Robert Kinkel – Keyboards
  • Jon Oliva – Keyboards
  • Al Pitrelli – Lead, rhythm guitars
  • Chris Altenhoff – Bass
  • Luci Butler – Keyboards
  • Chris Caffery – Guitars
  • Shih-yi Chiang – Keyboards
  • Roddy Chong – Violin
  • Angus Clark – Guitars
  • Jane Mangini – Keyboards
  • Johnny Lee Middleton – Bass
  • John O.Reilly – Drums
  • Anna Phoebe – Strings
  • Jeff Plate – Drums
  • Alex Skolnick – Guitars
  • Derek Wieland – Keyboards
  • Dave Wittman – Drum, guitar and bass


Lead Vocalists :

  • Jay Pierce (“Childhood Dreams”, “The Safest Way Into Tomorrow”)
  • Tim Hockenberry (“Sparks”, “Believe”)
  • Jeff Scott Soto (“Night Castle”, “Another Way You Can Die”, “Dreams We Conceive”, “Time Floats On”, “Safest Way Into Tomorrow (Reprise)”)
  • Rob Evan (“There Was a Life”, “Epiphany”)
  • Jennifer Cella (“Father, Son & Holy Ghost”, “Remnants of a Lullaby”)
  • Alexa Goddard (“Child of the Night”)
  • Valentina Porter (“Child of the Night”)   



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