Saturday, December 22, 2007

The World That She Sees Through Ghosts Of Christmas Eve

On Trans-Siberian Orchestra's (TSO) 2nd release "The Christmas Attic" we get more if the transposed Christmas Carols into rock gems, but I feel there is more of an emphasis on original songs and a power ballad sensibility. I find I reach for each of TSO's albums equally and all for different reasons. They are all similar, yet each have there own sound. "The Christmas Attic" has no short transitional pieces found on their first album, but with 16 tracks the album clocks at over an hour and that's fine with me.

The story here is of how a girl, with the help of a young angel, finds the Christmas spirit by helping old friends re-unite using old letters of theirs she discovered in her attic. The story is heartwarming and emotional, but it's cool to like like it because of the killer rock tunes. Ah who am I kidding, I'm a sucker for a decent heartwarming tale.

The album starts off with the sticky sweet "Ghosts Of Christmas Eve" whose tinkling piano melody and almost narrative vocals sets a sugary mood for the rest of the album.

"Boughs Of Holly" kicks in as the first traditional Christmas tune and gives "Deck The Halls" a rock n roll make over. "March Of The Kings/Hark The Harold Angels Sing" and "Joy/Angels We Have Heard On High" are the Christmas instrumentals ("Joy..." features a vocal mid part and isn't fully instrumental) . "Boughs ..." is fun and flourished with some fine guitar work, "March ..." has a more progressive rock feel with some dark undertones early in the song before bursting into a powerful take on "Hark The Harold ...". "Joy/Angels ..." is slower and a more faithful rendition, but no less moving.

"Appalachian Snowfall" is an original instrumental and it's sparkling and fun. One of my favourite songs here is "Midnight Christmas Eve" which is another original instrumental. It's a brilliant, moving song with a deceivingly simple melody, but builds into a multi-layered guitar masterpiece. reminds me of the layered guitar work at the end of Savatage's "Believe".

There seems to be a number of power ballad-like songs here with "The World That She Sees", "Find Our Way Home", "The Snow Came Down" and a rousing rendition of "Angels We Have Heard On High" that interjects "Joy/Angels ...". "The World That She Sees" is a moving ballad with a sweet piano melody and some powerful vocals.

"Find Our Way Home" is more a traditional power ballad with a piano/guitar mix. The vocals are gritty and raw sung by (I think) Thomas Farese who I believe also sings on my album favourite "The Snow Came Down". "The Snow Came Down" is another raw and gritty power ballad with passionate and moving lyrics.

Daryl Pediford makes his studio appearance on this album singing on "The Three Kings (What Really Happened)". This is a bluesy jazz number and Daryl's booming bluesy voice is brilliant. The song is a play on the Three Kings who travel to find Jesus. It's fun and energetic and has some nice guitar work. "Christmas Canon" is on this album whose radio abuse is only 2nd to "Christmas Eve Sarajevo 12/24". This is the child's choir version and is moving and angelic. A great piece.

"The Christmas Attic" is a great follow up to "Christmas Eve And Other Stories" and shows the band knows what they are doing and how they want to do it. It has more of sentimental feel and more gooey in its Christmas Spirit. You can't be angry listening to this gem.

Tomorrow, I'll be review Twisted Sisters "Twisted Christmas". Come on back!


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