The highly-acclaimed Progressive Rock band Trans-Siberian Orchestra is releasing their long-awaited new studio album, “Letters From The Labyrinth,” on Nov. 13. With this release, TSO once again crafts a conceptually provocative album and pushes the envelope. TSO creator, lyricist and composer Paul O’Neill calls this a hybrid album, complete with elaborate production and themes. In addition to being available online here, each 2015 Winter Tour concert ticket purchased online will come with a digital copy of the album “Letters From The Labyrinth” as well.
“Letters from the Labyrinth” is Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s first full-length album since their 2009 release “Night Castle.” This time around a major change has taken place in the way Trans-Siberian Orchestra creative process. Unlike their other works, this album is not built around a completed story. Rather it is a collection of completed songs. Each leaving the safety of the studio where they were born and emerging with their combined stories. The general concept is based on “Night Castle” and the dialogue between wisdom from the past and hopes for the future, which take place through a correspondence between a child and an old friend of the child’s grandfather.
In a Rock Opera style, “Letters From The Labyrinth” deals with a wide array of sounds and subjects from humanity’s journey through the ages in “Time & Distance (The Dash),” they touch on fall of the Berlin Wall on “Prometheus,” world banking controversies in “Not Dead Yet” and bullying is addressed on “Not The Same,” a song O’Neill co-wrote with his daughter. Produced by O’Neill at his Night Castle Studio in Tampa, FL, this album also features Halestorm’s very own Lzzy Hale on a beautifully heart-stirring song called “Forget About The Blame (Moon Version).”
During a recent teleconference interview, Paul O’Neill spoke about how Lzzy came to be involved in the project, “Originally, I was going to have a male/female do, ‘Not the Same,’ which is a song about the Amanda Todd cyberbullying situation.” “Lzzy Hale, from Halestorm has a great voice. She’s just a great rocker, a lot of emotion. It goes back to the whole ying-yang thing. Where one side represents the sun, the male, the masculine side.” He explained, “The other side represents the moon, the feminine, the more sensitive side. So we decided that, instead of having a male/female do, ‘Not the Same,’ that we’d have them do, ‘Forget About the Blame,’ because the Amanda Todd situation is something I am very passionate about.” O”Neill contined, “…we decided that we would have two singers sing that song, you know, different perspectives. Robin Borneman and Lzzy Hale, in my opinion, knocked it out of the ballpark.”
O’Neill explained the thought process behind the album saying, “The opening short story, ‘Time and Distance (the Dash),’ is basically, how we’re all given a certain amount of time on Earth, but we’re not told how much time that is or how we should use it. Each individual has to figure that out for themselves, but it’s also easier to make journeys if you have multiple people with you, not unlike Chaucer’s ‘The Canterbury Tales.’” He continued, “We included the very last story, ‘The Dreams of Fireflies,’ which is basically a bedtime, go to sleep tale. Where it just sends you into dreamland. Where you have happy dreams, not nightmares. You take on the world after that.”
When asked what he means when he refers to this album as an hybrid O’Neill said, “With TSO, originally, the whole plan was to be Rock Opera-driven, and eventually we would do one or two regular albums. We simply never got around to it. We toy with the idea of making this a regular album, but I have gotten so used to the story adding an additional element to it, a third dimension, that I couldn’t quite let it go.” He continued, “I decided, let me write just one short story to go with this one song, and I’m like, oh, let me write another short story. We just basically decided that we would make this a series of short stories that were all inter-weaved as time goes by. It’s just a whole different way of approaching it.” O’Neill also said, “In some ways it’s easier, when I have the story written I know emotionally where each song should go, I know where the melodies should go, the balance, the dynamic. This is a new action adventure for us, again, it’s not a Rock Opera, it’s not a regular album where it’s a bunch of songs, it’s kind of a hybrid, it’s something in between. It’s an experiment for us, Chuck, and we’re not quite sure how it’s all going to work. In about a year, you and I should have a follow-up to this one.”
Since its formation the Trans-Siberian Orchestra has been a touring force to be reckoned with, consistently leaving crowds of all ages speechless after viewing the wonder of the group’s musical prowess and spectacular stage show for themselves. TSO has cemented itself as one of the world’s biggest rock arena acts. TSO will be hitting the road again next month for their Winter Tour, which is based on the group’s cherished Yuletide story “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve.” The performance will featured beloved crowd-pleasers “Christmas Eve Sarajevo 12/24,” “O’ Come All Ye Faithful,” “Good King Joy,” “Christmas Canon,” “Music Box Blues,” “Promises To Keep,” and “This Christmas Day.” The tour kicks off Nov. 18, and will take TSO to 60 cities across North America before ending on Dec. 30. For more information click here.
LETTERS FROM THE LABYRINTH: TRACK LISTING
1. “TIME & DISTANCE (THE DASH)”
2. “MADNESS OF MEN”
4. “MOUNTAIN LABYRINTH”
5. “KING RURIK”
6. “PRINCE IGOR”
7. “THE NIGHT CONCEIVES”
8. “FORGET ABOUT THE BLAME (SUN VERSION)”
9. “NOT DEAD YET”
10. “PAST TOMORROW”
12. “NOT THE SAME”
13. “WHO I AM”
14. “LULLABY NIGHT”
15. “FORGET ABOUT THE BLAME (MOON VERSION)” FEAT. LZZY HALE — BONUS TRACK