Letters from the Labyrinth

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Letters from the Labyrinth
Letters From the Labyrinth.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 13, 2015
Recorded2012–2014
Genre
Length52:08
LabelRepublic Records
Producer
Trans-Siberian Orchestra chronology
Tales of Winter: Selections from the TSO Rock Operas
(2013)
Letters from the Labyrinth
(2015)

Letters From the Labyrinth is the sixth album by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It was released on November 13, 2015. Unlike TSO's previous five albums, Letters from the Labyrinth is not a rock opera, but rather a collection of songs on various subjects including bullying, banking, and the Berlin Wall.[1] The album reached #7 on the Billboard 200 album chart and #1 on the Billboard Top Rock Albums chart.[2] This album was the last for TSO members Paul O'Neill and David Z before their deaths in April and July 2017, respectively.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
CCM Magazine4/5 stars[3]
Omaha World-Herald2/4 stars[4]
Grande Rock4.5/10 stars[5]

Awarding the album four stars at CCM Magazine, Matt Conner states, "Indeed, it’s a tall order to educate, enlighten and entertain all at the same time, but TSO effortlessly passes the test, and in the process, turns in one of its most ambitious and gratifying works to date."[3] Kevin Coffey, giving the album two stars out of four from Omaha World-Herald, writes, "It’s amazing and technical playing that’s sure to impress any fan of precise progressive rock. But it’s also a little tedious. All those ever-present solos and precise melodies kind of blend together song after song. And I question why studio recordings would have so many synthesizers replicating strings and grand pianos when surely, with this band as successful as it is, they could have used real musicians. According to the liner notes, they did, but it’s hard to pick out the real players from the synthesized sections. The best performance on the record comes from Halestorm lead singer Lzzy Hale, who sings on a version of “Forget About the Blame.” Unfortunately, her talents are wasted on an extremely repetitive metal ballad. Your enjoyment of this album will probably depend on your overall enjoyment of the band in general...If you dig their rock opera style and hair metal music, you’ll be into this...But don’t buy this looking for another Christmas favorite."[4] Rockavlon awarded the album 4.5 stars out of 10 from Grande-Rock.com, writes, "A half-baked attempt at music theater by stitching together a lot of classical pieces and writing some rather uneventful in between parts to create a semblance of a plot… I’d rather listen to the original classics."

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)VocalsLength
1."Time and Distance (The Dash)"Paul O'Neill, Jon Oliva 3:44
2."Madness of Men" (instrumental)Ludwig van Beethoven, Paul O'Neill, Jon Oliva 4:10
3."Prometheus"Ludwig van Beethoven, Paul O'Neill, Jon OlivaJeff Scott Soto3:39
4."Mountain Labyrinth" (instrumental)Modest Mussorgsky, Paul O'Neill 3:15
5."King Rurik" (instrumental)Paul O'Neill, Vitalij Kuprij 3:31
6."Prince Igor" (instrumental)Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Alexander Borodin, Alexander Glazunov, Paul O'Neill, Jon Oliva 3:04
7."The Night Conceives"Paul O'Neill, Jon OlivaKayla Reeves3:38
8."Forget About the Blame (Sun Version)" (Johnny Green remake)Johnny GreenRobin Borneman4:15
9."Not Dead Yet"Paul O'Neill, Jon OlivaRussell Allen3:28
10."Past Tomorrow"Paul O'Neill, Jon OlivaJennifer Cella3:20
11."Stay" (Savatage remake)Paul O'Neill, Jon OlivaAdrienne Warren3:00
12."Not the Same"Paul O'Neill, Ireland O'NeillKayla Reeves3:41
13."Who I Am"Paul O'Neill 2:49
14."Lullaby Night" (instrumental)Johann Sebastian Bach, Paul O'Neill 2:44
15."Forget About the Blame" (Moon Version)" (Johnny Green remake)Johnny GreenLzzy Hale4:15
16."A Mad Russian's Christmas (Live)" (Amazon Bonus Track)Paul O'Neill 3:58
Total length:56:20

Personnel[edit]

  • Paul O'Neill - Producer
  • Dave Wittman - Co-Producer, Recording & Mix Engineer
  • BJ Ramone - Assistant Engineer
  • Jon Tucker - Additional Assistant Engineer
  • A&R - Jason Flom, Ryan Silva

Performers[edit]

Band[edit]

Background Vocals[edit]

  • "Forget About the Blame" - Lucille Jacobs, Minnie W. Leonard, Keith Jacobs
  • "Who I Am" - Danielle Sample, Erika Jerry, Chloe Lowery, Dari Mahnic, Bart Shatto, Andrew Ross, John Brink, Natalya Piette, Jodi Katz, James Lewis, Georgia Napolitano, Tim Hockenberry
  • "Time and Distance (The Dash)" - Danielle Sample, Chloe Lowery, Ava Davis, Kayla Reeves, Adrienne Warren, Andrew Ross, Chris Pinnella, Rob Evan, Parker Sipes, Phillip Brandon, Dustin Brayley, April Berry, Autumn Guzzardi

Strings[edit]

  • Roddy Chong
  • Asha Mevlana
  • Lowell Adams
  • Nancy Chang
  • Lei Liu

Horns[edit]

  • Jon Tucker (leader)
  • Kenneth Brantley
  • Jay Coble
  • Ashby Wilkins

Charts[edit]

Chart (2015) Peak
position
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[6] 15
US Billboard 200[7] 7

References[edit]

[8] [9]

  1. ^ Graff, Gary (30 October 2015). "Trans-Siberian Orchestra Teams With Lzzy Hale on the Hard-Driving Song 'Forget About the Blame'". Billboard. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  2. ^ Rutherford, Kevin (24 November 2015). "Trans-Siberian Orchestra & Jeff Lynne's ELO Debut on Top Rock Albums Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  3. ^ a b Argyrakis, Andy (December 16, 2015). "Trans-Siberian Orchestra – 'Letters From The Labyrinth' album review". CCM Magazine. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Coffey, Kevin (November 12, 2015). "Review: Trans-Siberian Orchestra's 'Letters From the Labyrinth'". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  5. ^ Rockavlon (November 24, 2015). "Review: Trans-Siberian Orchestra 'Letters From the Labyrinth'". Grande-Rock.com. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
  6. ^ "Trans-Siberian Orchestra Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
  7. ^ "Trans-Siberian Orchestra Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
  8. ^ Trans-Siberian Orchestra. "Letters From The Labyrinth". Amazon.
  9. ^ Trans-Siberian Orchestra. "Night Castle". Retrieved 11 October 2015.

External links[edit]