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The Wizards of Winter - The Christmas Dream

The Wizards of Winter
The Christmas Dream
by Tiago Masseti at 29 December 2019, 10:33 PM

Christmas music is a long-time tradition in the United States and its association to Heavy Metal might seem strange to foreign listeners but it’s something that’s been gaining more and more strength in the last decade. TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA has established itself as one the highest-grossing live acts on the planet, without setting foot outside of the USA, and gathered a team of stellar musicians in a way that very few acts in history were able to. It would not take long for other artists to try and follow the trend and achieve similar success. And with high-quality songs and all these former TSO members, it wouldn’t be a surprise if THE WIZARDS OF WINTER is next in line.

“The Christmas Dream” opens with an operatic, mysterious, intro that falls into a joyful, keyboard driven song called “Secrets of the Snow Globe”. As expected, it has this Broadway-Style meets Metal with a theatrical vocal performance and great guitar solos. Instrumental track “Handel’s Torch” feels more progressive and nostalgic and immediately makes you envision the performance in a big arena with pyrotechnics and black and white tuxedos. “Gonna Snow” is a feel-good Hard Rocking tune with heavy orchestration that feels like a heavier version of a Broadway tune and has a “Jingle Bells” chorus. Next up, “Polar Eve” shows up to be the heaviest track so far, with snare breakdowns and a galloping riff that leads to the first male vocalist in the album so far. A low, whispering, performance followed by more aggressive operatic parts with a big vibrato adds a different feel to the work and resembles Andrew-Lloyd Webber’s greatest moments. It is followed by the guitar-driven uplifting track “Midnight Noel”.

“The Four Kings” is a burlesque, bluesy, jazzy, tune that resembles hundreds of songs in film and theater in a way that somehow never loses its charm. The male lead vocals answering to the female choirs and the saxophone and clean-guitar solos are some of the highlights of the entire album. Next is another instrumental interlude called “The Happy Song” and it is exactly what the name says: a a happy song, written in major keys and mid tempos. “In Plain Sight” is a nice blend between Progressive Rock and Heavy Metal with vocals that resemble the early HELLOWEEN albums and the current AVANTASIA. Once again, great guitar performances. Having the instrumental track “Christmas Dream” as the title track certainly comes as a surprise, but the song feels like the most carefully crafted of the record and builds up a great climax before the closer. “A Toast to Time” is a powerful ballad with male and female vocals together that feel like a great final song to a live setlist.

If you’re into TSO, Broadway musicals, Christmas music and Rock N’ Roll, this is one album you should definitely check out. This combination might feel completely alien if you’re not a North-American citizen but, once you get the spirit of it, you might be infected by the joy of these holiday ensembles. And if not, at least you will hear some great performances over well-written songs.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Secrets of the Snow Globe
2. Handel’s Torch
3. Gonna Snow
4. Polar Eve
5. Midnight Noel
6. The Four Kings
7. The Happy Song
8. In Plain Sight
9. Christmas Dream (Salzburg Carol)
10. A Toast to Time (Farewell)
Lineup:
Sharon Kelly - Vocals, Flute
Vinny Jiovino - Vocals
Karl Scully - Vocals
Shawna Marie - Vocals/Sax
Kornelia Rad - Violin, backup vocals
Fred Gorhau - Guitar
Steve Brown - Guitar
Greg Smith - Bass
John O.Reilly - Drums
Scott Kelly - Keyboards
Record Label: Breaking Bands LLC
     


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