Trans Siberian Orchestra
Based in New York City, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra united a 60-piece orchestra plus chorus with the talents of Paul O'Neill, a veteran hard rock producer for bands like Savatage. Savatage's Al Pitrelli (guitars), Johnny Lee Middleton (bass), Zak Stevens (vocals), Chris Caffery (guitars) and Jon Oliva (keyboards, piano, bass) also are on board. The Trans Siberian Orchestra can also be heard on Savatage's "Dead Winter Dead."

Christmas Eve Trans Siberian Orchestra - Christmas Eve and Other Stories (Atlantic)

1. "Angel Came Down" (3:52)
2. "O Come, All Ye Faithful/O Holy Night" [instumental] (4:19)
3. "Star to Follow" (3:50)
4. "First Snow" [instumental] (3:52)
5. "Silent Nutcracker" [instumental] (2:23)
6. "Mad Russian's Christmas" [instumental] (4:42)
7. "Prince of Peace" (3:33)
8. "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24" [instumental] (3:25)
9. "Good King Joy" (6:36)
10. "Ornament" (3:37)
11. "The First Noel" [instumental] (:55)
12. "Old City Bar" (6:18)
13. "Promises to Keep" (2:42)
14. "This Christmas Day" (4:21)
15. "Angel Returned" (3:52)
16. "O Holy Night" (2:40)
17. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" (1:16)

This is the first of two Christmas albums that are the brainchild of Paul O'Neill and Jon Oliva. Lead vocals are shared by six vocalists, while some of the backing vocals are handled by Zak Stevens, the current singer of Savatage. Surprisingly, Jon Oliva did none of the the vocals work, which is surprising since he has such a superb voice. In any case, Christmas Eve and Other Stories is a concept album. The story line is of a young angel sent down to Earth to find and bring back to the Lord "the one thing that best represents everything good that has been done in the name of Christmas." The angel's quest takes him all over the world, through Russia and Sarajevo, (the "Dead Winter Dead" connection) until he finally hears the prayer of a father who longs to see his daughter, who he hasn't seen in years. It's actually a pretty touching story. Musically, the band takes traditional Christmas songs ("O Come All Ye Faithful," "O Holy Night," "The First Noel") and mixes in some progressive rock and metal influences. Being a fan of the more recent works of Savatage (ie. "Handful of Rain," "Dead Winter Dead") this disc was right up my alley. Great disc to have on during the holidays when the family is over.

The Christmas Attic Trans Siberian Orchestra - The Christmas Attic (Atlantic)

1.   "Ghost of Christmas Eve" ()
2.   "Boughs of Holly" ()
3.   "World That She Sees" ()
4.   "Midnight Christmas Eve" ()
5.   "March of the Kings/Hark the Herald Angel"
6.   "Three Kings and I (What Really Happened)" ()
7.   "Christmas Canon" ()
8.   "Joy/Angels We Have Heard on High"
9.   "Find Our Way Home" ()
10.   "Appalachian Snowfall" ()
11.   "Music Box" ()
12.   "Snow Came Down" ()
13.   "Christams in the Air" ()
14.   "Dream Child (A Christmas Dream)" ()
15.   "Angel's Share" ()
16.   "Music Box Blues" ()

Very similar to the first Trans Siberian album. Chris Caffery makes an appearance on this one, so the entire Savatage gang is now present. Very cool Christmas disc..

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