Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Letters From The Labyrinth (Decca Records UK)

Genre: Progressive Metal/Symphonic Metal

Renowned for their spectacular light shows, intricate arrangements and revolving doors line-up featuring the cream of classic rock, Trans-Siberian Orchestra hark back to a golden age of creative freedom and outrageous production values.

And in America they continue to sell shedloads of albums – the band shifted a whopping (by modern standards) 136,000 copies of Letters From The Labyrinth in the States last week following a string of platinum records stretching back to their 1996 debut.

In the UK the band remain an oddity. Due to the sheer scale of their theatrical shows, tours outside North America are few and far between. And there’s little doubt this is a band that needs to be seen live to be fully appreciated.

Letters From The Labyrinth does, however, stand alone as a rousing rock record featuring everything from full-on orchestral humdingers to stripped back ballads and heavy instrumental sequences.

Bringing on board woman of the moment Lzzy Hale to front current single Forget About The Blame (Moon Version) is a shrewd move and her passionate vocal complements a more commercial heavy rock approach. Elsewhere the Adrienne Warren vocal on Savatage cover Stay fits remarkably well into a track list that’s free from a binding concept but benefits from a clear transition.

It might be a little too much for those who prefer their rock plain and simple. That’s not TSO’ style. This is for the discerning fan with several hours to devote to a grandiose and often gripping project.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Love Letters