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“The Christmas Trilogy” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Artist: Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Title: “The Christmas Trilogy” – Boxed Set
Label: Lava Records
Release Date: 11/2/2004
Genre: Holiday Rock
Rating: 9/10

“The Christmas Trilogy” boxed set by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra was a great idea for the existing fan and those that for whatever reason are still finding themselves curious and unaware of what the group is all about. This set includes all three of the Holiday themed albums that were released as well as their DVD which was initially released around the time of the second album. Doing this made sense as it ties all of the threads together and makes it one cohesive story out of all the albums. It also gives you access to all of this music in one beautiful package. Wrapped in an ornately decorated book the CD’s and DVD sit comfortably and in the center is all of the lyrics for the albums and the stories that each brought to the listener. I enjoyed being able to focus on it as one giant epic as these recordings find regular rotations in my own CD player especially around the Holidays. The book also has several pages of photos which seem to have been taken from the various tour books.
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“The Christmas Attic” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Artist: Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Title: “The Christmas Attic”
Label: Lava Records
Release Date: 10/13/1998
Genre: Holiday Rock
Rating: 7/10

The second release that Paul O’Neill has created with his Holiday Orchestra is entitled “The Christmas Attic”. The release follows the astounding “Christmas Eve & Other Stories” with a combination of holiday inspired instrumentals and often moving vocal pieces. As I listened I admit that I found this a little harder to enjoy as much as I did the first release. Perhaps it was because of the overall quality of that CD and the impact that it not only had on music but for its effect on the holiday season in general. Once again, O’Neill weaves a story that captures your interest and heart as he revisits the Angel from the last tale and sends him on his next mission. He is building a wonderful theme with these stories and they make for a good read even without the music to go along with it. The instrumental numbers like “Boughs Of Holly” and “Appalachian Snowfall” are clearly highlights right off the bat. As most know, O’Neill was also a core-writer on many Savatage classics with Jon Oliva. As a result of this partnership you will find a very Savatage like vibe to be very present in much of the meatier numbers that the Orchestra does. In the vocal based numbers there are some very good ones as well such as “Christmas In The Air” and “Music Box” (sung by Katrina Chester) as well as it’s more soulful variation “Music Box Blues” (performed by Daryl Pediford). “Christmas Canon” is a soft piece that clearly belongs on a mass-released Holiday compilation of some sort to reach an even larger audience. Once again members of the band Savatage perform on this recording as well as a number of Broadway level talented singers. It is an interesting mix to say the least. For reference sake the key players on this CD are Robert Kinkel, Jon Oliva, Al Pitrelli, Chris Caffery, Jeff Plate, John Middleton, and Paul O’Neill.
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