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    Album Reviews: The Lost Christmas Eve by Trans-Siberian Orchestra

    Christmas is the only season that becomes a greater and more beautiful thing when more pomposity and schlock is piled on. This is what makes the Trans-Siberian Orchestra truly holy: these Savatage vets found a way to make their chops and mythopoeic mindscape work for the greater good. The Lost Christmas Eve is apparently the conclusion of their Christmas trilogy, following Christmas Eve and Other Stories (1996) and The Christmas Attic (1998), and if you're wondering what took 'em so long, just remember that producer/mastermind Paul O'Neill ain't exactly J.R.R. Tolkien in the plot department. Here you get lots of guitars and teardrops and snowflakes, and the overall theme is one of redemption and forgiveness. Or as O'Neill puts it: "If there's anything in the past that you regret, hopefully this album will give you an excuse to go back and correct it."

    The album is 75 minutes long: 23 tracks comprising mostly originals along with some rocking Christmas faves ("Faith Noel" and the epic "What Child is This?") and prog-metal showoff numbers ("Christmas Canon Rock", which rips Pachelbel, and "Christmas Concerto"). There are moments that bring a tingle to your spine, and it's silly to criticize the vocals (which on most tracks locate themselves somewhere between Ronnie James Dio and Mandy Patinkin), or the drama, or the jazz and blues interludes. The overall effect is almost exactly the same as what happens when Night Ranger's "Sister Christian" comes on the radio: nostalgia, righteousness, stomach-dropping melodies, white boys trying to be soulful. This is Christmas: Empty your brain and let the sound take hold. Or, to put it a different way, you'll say the same thing to this album that Scrooge said to his last ghost: "Lead on. Lead on..." Highly recommended. - Mark Desrosiers

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