Night Castle

Studio Album by released in 2009

Night Castle review

Heavy metal Christmas or New Year hard-rock?

How can Christmas and hard-rock co-exist? After short thinking, one may say out loud that in the world of music this type of combination is impossible and even undesirable. Metalheads should be severe and dismal people who play and listen to the similar music. If they do have a holiday, this must be Halloween, arguably an opposition to Christmas. This is what the largest part of the society tends to think about those who like hard music; and the idea is false. These are seriously-looking guys from the heavy-metal band Savatage who are credited with the forming in 1996 of the splendid ensemble Trans-Siberian Orchestra that focused on producing huge conceptual albums with amazing rock- and symphonic music. Even the titles of the majority of the released records make the listener refer them to the category of the so called Christmas albums. The names of three long players contain the word Christmas. In 2009, Trans-Siberian Orchestra issued the fifth full-length effort, Night Castle, which again has the folder and the content aimed to take us away to the frosty winter night close to Christmas.

Large and variegated material of Night Castle

You start to study the new album with studying its folder. The new CD by Trans-Siberian Orchestra is covered by a pleasantly-looking picture depicting what is put in the title: a night castle. With nothing extraordinary drawn here, it fulfils its function brilliantly. The cover conveys the atmosphere that is produced by the music you are about to taste soon. And the listening will take you a while. This is a double CD featuring as many as 26 tracks with the total length equaling two hours. The first part of this vast piece of art is comprised by hard-rock oriented numbers; and track one, Night Enchanted, is definitely what the followers of the band expected to hear. Many would believe that this is the best song here. Meanwhile, the others are at least worthy of a single listening. Trans-Siberian Orchestra remained loyal to their own priorities and continued successfully playing fragments of classical music in the rock-sound package. This is exemplified by a composition called The Mountain. Another traditional method applied by these musicians, namely, execution of vocal parts in the form of dialogue, is demonstrated nicely by the track The Safest Way to Tomorrow. You will also have the opportunity to assess some unexpected experiments here. Let every listener use his or her own judgment to decide if a rap-based speech in Another Way You Can Die was a good idea. The second part of the album is more in the orchestral part and is much lighter than the first one. Even the word lullaby in two of the songs serves the aim of softening the whole effect of the music.

Five years spent efficiently

Before the arrival of Night Castle, the fans of Trans-Siberian Orchestra had two big reasons to believe in the success of the new album. First of all, these musicians had never let down their listeners before and made their previous four efforts as strong as possible. Secondly, the making of Night Castle took the band an unprecedented five-year period, meant it had to be something monumental and vast. And such was the fifth album by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. However, the vastness and monumentality of this effort could easily be blamed for the excessive length of the record. Some of the tracks, albeit not many, are of no interest in terms of music and appear on the album only to narrate the story. Evidently, the participants of Trans-Siberian Orchestra are not those musicians who take time to filter the material before recording it for the final album. Night Castle, particularly its second part, could have been shortened without harming the positive effect of the whole record. Nevertheless, it turns out to be the only tangible drawback of this studio work. The musicians once again showcased their professionalism and interest in what they do. It is sufficient to say that the making of Night Castle involved several dozens of performers! The impression left by the new album of these people enables us to state that this was not in vain.