Letters From The Labyrinth-Universal Music
TSO mastermind Paul O’Neill is a very creative person. He came to the scene as producer/songwriter with the band Savatage. Some years ago he started the Trans-Siberian Orchestra franchise using several musicians of Savatage. But many other musicians were invited to lend their talents in the studio as well as on stage. In The United States TSO has grown to a major thing. ‘Letters From The Labyrinth’ is a new album, that O’Neill has made with help from Jon Oliva, Joel Hoekstra, Chris Caffery, Al Pitrelli, Vitalij Kuprij, Jeff Scott Soto, Russell Allen and many, many other talents. We are not listening here to straight forward metal. There are some metal tracks there (,,Not Dead Yet”), but the bulk of the album exists of progressive rock and some classical music. There are a couple of compositions from Beethoven and Bach that have been put through the blender by O’Neill. The results are sometimes quite amazing, sometimes a little over the top, but always with lots of melody and thought. The heavier songs remind me a lot of the old Savatage (not strange with all these Savatage guys playing on this record). There are a lot of big choirs (,,Who I Am’’) and big vocalists , several instrumental tracks, acoustic songs, a piano ballad (,,Not The Same”) and two versions of the best song on the album ,,Forget About The Blame’’. It is a great ballad sung by Robin Borneman (the first version) and Lzzy Hale (second version). Both singers deliver an excellent job. ‘Letters From The Labyrinth’ (the CD cover is also a bit in the Savatage style) is all in all a record that might not appeal completely to the taste of a prog rock fan or a metal fanatic, but listeners with an open and adventurous spirit will embrace this little jewel. Oh yeah, there is of course a lyrical theme/concept but you should dive into that yourself.