Customer Reviews: The Lost Christmas Eve
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on October 25, 2004
Finally, the new Savatage..uh...I mean Trans-Siberian Orchestra album is here (wink-wink). And it's getting better with each listen, which is scary, because it was already 5 stars right out of the box. The amazing instrumentals are here again (check out "Wizards In Winter", as well as their takes on classic songs ("What Child Is This")..glad they did that song. They seem to be running out of the classic songs that can be re-tooled, however, as "The First Noel" appears here again in slightly different form. Now let me just contratulate this band for the extreme marketing makeover of the last 2 decades. As the base-band "Savatage", their fan base was very hard core, and limited. But playing Christmas songs in their one-of-a-kind style, they now have everyone from 7 to 70 at their concerts and buying their cds. I applaud any effort to spread metal to the masses. And for those just catching on, and can't get enough of them, be sure to check out TSO's "Beethoven's Last Night" as well as the SAVATAGE cds "Dead Winter Dead", "The Wake Of Magellan", and "Poets and Madmen". Heck, venture further back into their catalog if you dare. In the meantime, I'll be joining you children and granparents at the next concert and rocking out!
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on December 4, 2005
Take the best classical music, add electrified instruments and even more electrified musicians and you get this amazing sound you will never, ever forget. All you have to do is listen to a couple of songs and you'll be hooked for life. Wizards in Winter is my favorite of this CD, but the whole thing is incredible. If you ever get the chance to go to a concert of theirs, do it, the lights and sounds are all synchronized and will blow you away. After that you will want all 4 CD's and will be panting for more.
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on January 1, 2005
Not being a Christian country, we don't celebrate Christmas in Turkey. Therefore, the lyrical content on TSO albums (except Beethoven's Last Night) has never been of much significance to me. I have been following them because I happen to be a big fan of Savatage whose music I enjoy a lot. TSO producer Paul O'Neill and and main songwriter Jon Oliva have been exploring a different kind of music in their side-project (which eventually turned into another full-time band) and The Lost Christmas Eve is the last album of their Christmas trilogy. I personally think their previous disc Beethoven's Last Night is better than all three Christmas discs put together and wasn't really enthusiastic about The Lost Christmas Eve as I tend to grow tired of TSO's Christmas stuff after a while whereas BLN continues to remain an ageless masterpiece. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I heard The Lost Christmas Eve.

While the first TSO release may, to most fans, still be their best among their Christmas albums, this one is without doubt the darkest, heaviest and most progressive of the three. This may be due to the fact that it shares a good amount of common characteristics with Beethoven's Last Night: hauntingly melodic songwriting and relentlessly heavy musicianship! On the other hand, it continues to expand upon the synthesis of progressive music and textured soundscapes previously established on their first two Christmas records. There is also a stronger emphasis on vocal arrangements here with more dynamic song structures. Paul O'Neill's primary songwriting partner, Jon Oliva, didn't contribute to The Lost Christmas Eve as much as before, mainly because he was busy with his solo album (which you should check out as well), but Paul O'Neill proves to be stronger than ever. He wrote all lyrics and most of the music himself with the exception of some tunes where he was accompanied by other writing partners such as Rob Kinkel and Al Pitrelli. Special mention goes to Pitrelli who, as the musical director of TSO, certainly leaves his imprint on most of the songs, particularly the amazing album-opener "Faith Noel", the mid-section on "Wizard in Winter", the Mozart-influenced "Queen of the Winter Night", and the "Christas Jazz" and "Christmas Jam" masterpieces. Former Savatage axeman Alex Skolnick as well as Paul O'Neill himself among others also play some impressive leads and rhythms throughout the disc.

I do agree that it would have been to cool to hear Jon Oliva singing lead on a couple of songs, but I feel none of the tracks on The Lost Christmas Eve are suitable for him. I know that "Back to a Reason pt.2" is actually a song off of Savatage's last record Poets and Madmen, but Robert Evan who sings it on this disc does a fantastic rendition, especially in the ending when he switches to different lyrics and vocal stylings. Evan also defines the other two tracks he appears on, "What is Christmas?" and "What Child is This?", both of which have a certain BLN flavour to them. Paul O'Neill, however, could have used new Savatage singer Damond Jiniya on one track just so Damond could prove his incredible range and versatility. Since a new Sava album isn't going to come out any time soon, introducing Damond to the Sava fans would have been great. That said, each singer is amazing on the album, be it the title track, which is one of the best songs on the record, "Christmas Dreams" with Michael Lanning who has a grittier voice, the female vocal-driven tunes "Christmas Canon Rock" and "Different Ways" (with a killer scream in the end) or "For the Sake of Our Brother" delivered by Daryl Pediford who unfortunately passed away shortly after recording the album. I'm not saying this cause Pediford is no longer with us, but this song is one of the most haunting vocal deliveries ever, on ANY Trans-Siberian Orchestra release. It is strictly vocal based and Pediford's vocals give me goosebumps. May he rest in peace.

Finally the instrumentals, i.e. the strongest aspect of the album. The album is filled with tons of brilliant moments mainly led by Al Pitrelli and Paul O'Neill. A wide range of instruments are used and weaved together in a haunting combination of rock, prog, Broadway, and modern Christmas music. Paul O'Neill offers us new renditions of Mozart and Liszt. "Wish Liszt" is mercilessly heavy, and this only adds to the song's tension as it kicks off right after "The Wisdom of Snow" (which actually is the piano intro of "Back to a Reason" from Savatage's Poets and Madmen album). Its crushing groove, rhythmic bass and guitars along with pummeling drums is the ultimate climax of this CD. However, the songs preceding this, "Christmas Jazz", "Christmas Jam" and "Siberian Sleigh Ride", are equally mesmerizing with their epic structure, unexpected mood shifts, and dexterous instrumentation. In short, Paul O'Neill continues to make bold statements in his artistic evolution, and now that he's got the Christmas trilogy out of his system, I want a new Savatage album and the long-awaited Romanov project next.
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on November 3, 2006
As great as all these Christmas albums are, I am "Christmased out" as far as TSO goes. I still rate this 5 stars because it is absolutely beautiful music, I just want something different...I think Beethoven's Last Night is their best. I went to a TSO Concert a few years back and during the second half of the show, they played a song or two from their "upcoming album" called "Black Castle" (or something like that). I have not seen or heard anything about this album since. But this "Lost Christmas Eve" has since been released. Maybe I heard wrong, but I am really looking forward to some non-Christmas TSO in the (hopefully) near future.

As far as the songs go, my favorites are Christmas Jam (which rocks extremely hard) and Christmas Canon Rock (which is heavy and beautiful at the same time). The male and children chorals worked much better on Beethoven's Last Night but work ok on this album.

PS You HAVE to see these guys in concert, they put on one of (if not the best) shows I have ever seen.
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on November 26, 2006
Scanning the reviews to date, it looks like the formula is pretty simple: if you loved and expected too much of TSO, you don't like it. If it's one of your first tastes, you're stunned and amazed.

Well, I was introduced by the Christmas Lights video. I bought the disc for that. It only arrived a couple days ago, and I haven't listened to the whole thing yet. I jumped to track 18 because those songs had titles that seemed somewhat familiar. Well, at first I had no reaction. But then I got to the last 3 minutes of track 19 (what child is this?) and was shaken to the very core. In my lifetime I have heard only 4 songs that hit me like that. All I can say is, WOW.
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on October 14, 2004
I am a big fan of both TSO and Savatage. For those who don't know, all the musicians in the heavy metal/rock band Savatage are members of the TSO band. I think the instrumental portion of this cd is stellar. Al Pitrelli's lead guitar is simply smokin. All other instruments in the band lay down a very strong foundation making the bands change of paces smooth sounding rather than forced. Now I have to tell you why I have deducted two stars. Many of the vocals on this cd lack the emotion that were on the prior three TSO cd's. I also hear a bit of rehash from the prior two Christmas cd's. If you have listened to Savatage you know that Jon Oliva's prior version of Got To Get Back To A Reason was much more heartfelt and soulful than the vocal track put down for this cd. The vocal part added on to the song had a nice touch, but Jon could have sung that with more emotion as well. This cd needed at least one track sung by Tommy Farase. He only sings back up vocals on this one. The women who sing on this cd sing quite well. There are some good male lead vocals on this cd, just nothing as extrordinary as the prior Christmas cd's. This cd is more of an instrumental album than the previous cd's as well. Overall, it is still a worth while purchase and I myself am excited about seeing them live. If you have ever seen them live you know they do not always have the original singer sing anyway because they have one group to cover the concerts on the west coast and another for the east coast.
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on November 6, 2004
I hesitate to write a review simply because I think that reviewer "dwtroska" summed it up so well already. This album is better than the second album (Christmas Attic), but does not come close to the first album. Like many other TSO fans, I love the first album (Christmas Eve and Other Stories). It is so powerful that I absolutley do not expect it to ever be topped. My prediction that this album would fall a little short was correct - but not by much.

The album starts out ok, but then diverts into a series of uninteresting songs in the middle (roughly tracks 5-11). At this point I was thinking, "this is not the quality of work I expect from TSO." But it does redeem itself! Beginning with track 14, it really picks up and comes alive. This is what I have come to love about TSO! Strong, inspiring, touching, but not mundane. The last half of the album more than makes up for it's weak start.

Bottom line - if you are already a fan, I don't think you will be disappointed. If you are new to TSO, I would recommend buying 'Christmas Eve and Other Stories' istead of (or better yet, in addition to) this album.
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on November 19, 2005
Trans-Siberian Orchestra makes Christmas so great. All of their albums, including the one that isn't christmas related, is awesome. I've seen this group perform live two times, soon to be three. Whenever I listen to any song of theirs I smile. They aren't the usual christmas songs but they take you into the music, they make you a part of it. I highly suggest this CD as well as any other one of theirs to anyone looking for a different flavor of Christmas music. Or anyone looking for something new to listen to. There are slow songs as well as upbeat ones. Every piece is beautiful though. If anyone is wondering if there will be more from this group, they are planning to come out with another CD soon. Keep your eyes out!
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on November 3, 2004
I've waited to digest this TSO release before I wrote a review for it, so here goes. Christmas Canon Rock is enough reason to buy this cd! Whoever the lead vocalist is, needs to record an entire album with the band! As a whole, this release is a little different from the first two. The Lost Christmas Eve seems to be a little more rock oriented with a harder edge than the previous two. All in all, you can't go wrong with Paul O'Neill, Robert Kinkel, Jon Oliva, and the Savatage boys! If you liked the first two, then you're sure to love this release! Also, if you like all of TSO's stuff, then buy Savatage's Dead Winter Dead and Wake of Magellan albums! It only makes me, you'll be hooked!
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on December 10, 2004
When I first listened to TSO's Lost Christmas Eve my first reaction was (huh?) So I played it again, and again and again. I just couldnt stop playing this. I immeadiatly went out and purchased everything I oculd find by this band and have not been dissapointed yet. This is a CD of epic proportions. Just be aware, This aint yo mammas Christmas music.
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