Trans-Siberian Orchestra Night Castle

The mixing of classical music and rock isn't anything new, but it is something that has apparently fallen from favour, apart from the occasional botched prog rock revival. So nobody could accuse the Trans-Siberian Orchestra of being slaves to fashion, as they've managed to carve out a successful niche for themselves playing primarily Christmas-themed music for the past decade. Their fifth album, Night Castle, might not have a seasonal flavour, but it is more of the same from the Orchestra ― a lot more. With more than 50 musicians and singers taking part, this isn't a subtle record; it captures all the excess and bombast that come with this kind of music. The best parts are cribbed from classical pieces, with added lyrics and extended guitar solos, with the other tracks coming across as filler to advance the elaborate story. Apparently, the band spend a great deal of their time playing live shows, and this kind of music would likely work a lot better in front of a willing audience. However, Night Castle is an exhausting and, quite frankly, dull album that unsurprisingly collapses under its immense weight. (Atlantic)