TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA – Letters From The Labyrinth (2015)
TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA have set the wheels in motion for their sixth studio album, “Letters From the Labyrinth“, which is now due out November 13 on Universal Music. The album will extend the concept they began years ago with the band’s two creative visionaries, Savatage‘s Jon Oliva and producer Paul O’Neill, spearheading everything once again.
“Letters From the Labyrinth” boasts 14 new tracks, the fewest of any TSO release to date, and this also shows the intention of the band for a more commercial, friendly, and almost hard rock approach.
This is clear including the intriguing bonus track called “Forget About the Blame (Moon Version)” that features Lzzy Hale of Halestorm.
It’s not a concept album, and it doesn’t have a unifying story that ties the entire album together. Instead, it’s a collection of disparate songs about banking, humanity, bullying and the Berlin Wall.
There’s a lot of synths and keyboards like never before, and this is a welcomed variation for Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
The strong riffs are still present, elaborated melodies, guitar solos and intertwining string arrangements.
It’s amazing and technical playing that’s sure to impress any fan of precise progressive rock with a metal edge at places.
Tracks like the entertaining and dynamic “Mountain Labyrinth” is one of the highlights, which seems like perfect music to play during an action movie battle or as the background during a Dungeons & Dragons session.
“What the Night Conceives” is one of the heavier numbers with some aggressive playing, and vocalist Kayla Reeves delivers a solid performance. Also strong and melodic is the performance of Lzzy Hale, who sings on the aforementioned version of “Forget About the Blame.”
We have more surprises with the great Jeff Scott Soto singing the Queen-like “Prometheus”, or Russell Allen performing the hard rocking (and creepy) “Not Dead Yet”, adding more variation.
“Letters From the Labyrinth” opens some new frontiers for Trans-Siberian Orchestra, as it should be their more commercial and accessible album to date.
If you never liked their music too much, give it a try. The band now blend their traditional bombastic style with more melody and groovy rhythms, and the songs stand on their own, ‘song format’ I’d say.
01 – Time & Distance (The Dash)
02 – Madness Of Men
03 – Prometheus [feat. Jeff Scott Soto]
04 – Mountain Labyrinth
05 – King Rurik
06 – Prince Igor
07 – The Night Conceives
08 – Forget About The Blame (Sun Version)
09 – Not Dead Yet [feat Russell Allen]
10 – Past Tomorrow
11 – Stay
12 – Not The Same
13 – Who I Am
14 – Lullaby Night
15 – Forget About The Blame (Moon Version) *
* bonus track feat. Lzzy Hale