Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Letters from the labyrinth

album by:
Trans-Siberian orchestra

Reviewed by:
On 2 February 2016
Last modified:2 February 2016


This is a superb album and is highly recommended.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra formed 22 years ago and have been massively successful selling over 10 million albums, and playing around 1600 concerts (selling 12 million tickets in the process).  What makes them so sucecssful?  Well their albums are a superb blend of classical and rock music and that appeals to a wide range of people, and their live shows have a well deserved reputation for being some of the most visually spectacular shows around.

It’s been a long wait since their last full-length album – 2009’s “Night castle”, but finally they’re releasing a new one – “Letters from the labyrinth”.  Unusually for TSO the new album isnt based around a single story as they’ve done for their previous albums, but instead this is a collection of songs with a looser concept based on Night Castle and a dialogue between the wisdom of the past and the hopes for the future, via a correspondence between a child and an old friend of the child’s grandfather.

While this may be a loose concept rather than a full-blown single story concept album, some things are reassuringly consistent.  The music is the usual TSO blend of rock and classical.  While many bands now use an orchestra in their music, Trans-Siberian orchestra take the approach of blending the musical styles rather than having a rock album with a token bit of classical in the background.  The best example of the TSO approach is the “Beethovens last night” album, but it’s clear to hear in all the bands albums, so you rather than a rock band playing rock with the strings adding a classical feel, you have elements of the classical music being played by the rock band, and the string section merely enhances this.  It’s a great approach and is one that introduces rock fans to elements of classical music and fans of classical music to rock – the appeal really is wide.

The subjects covered on this album are pretty diverse – Bullying (“Not the same”, the financial/banking crisis (“Not dead yet”) and the fall of the Berlin Wall (“Prometheus”) are just some of the subjects covered.

The first single from the album is “Forget about the blame” which features Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale adding guest vocals.  It’s a great song, but unlike some albums where you can easily pick out a couple of songs as likely singles, with this album you can’t – all the songs are incredibly good.  This is a superb album and is highly recommended.

Letters From The Labyrinth, on January 29th, 2016 through Decca Records UK.  Ahead of this the band are on a major 100-date North American arena tour.

Track listing:

1. Time & distance
2. Madness of men
3. Prometheus
4. Moutain labyrinth
5. King Rurik
6. Prince Igor
7. The night conceives
8. Forget about the blame
9. Not dead yet
10. Past tomorrow
11. Stay
12. Not the same
13. Who I am
14. Lullaby night
15. Forget about the blame (Featuring Lzzy Hale)

This is a superb album and is highly recommended.

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.