Trans-Siberian Orchestra continues to mix metal, classical and Christmas


More than one year after the death of Trans-Siberian Orchestra founder, Paul O’Neill, the group surges forth. Trans-Siberian Orchestra is essentially a progressive rock group that is best known for mixing classical music elements with those typically associated with heavy metal and exploding them. Sometimes the pyrotechnics take place literally in the group’s live shows. Often, though, audiences can hear the ear-splitting shredding that takes place.

This year, 2018, marks the second year the group has been without its founder, Paul O’Neill. O’Neill died in April 2017. A New York native, O’Neill seemed inspired by the various types of rock music that he was exposed to. Those elements went into the inspiration for Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which he formed in 1996.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra on tour

The group’s 2018 tour is well underway and is scheduled to conclude on Dec. 30, 2018. According to the group’s itinerary, only three days of the remaining calendar dates are without performances- – Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. More information about the tour can be found at

As a potential audience member scrolls the information available about the group, it is clear that the band has a story and roster as big as its sound. There are several storytellers (the storylines are as important as the music), several of each type of musician and several vocalists. The group is a mix of male and female and is racially diverse, as well.

Despite the group’s rock-orientation, it does have the feel of a Christmas pageant. And that isn’t a bad thing. That unexpected mix of rock ‘n’ roll and Christmas stories that end well, has not gone unnoticed by critics. The stage shows of Trans-Siberian Orchestra are family friendly. People might not want to take small children to heavy metal concerts, but taking them to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra feels different.

Because Trans-Siberian Orchestra has such a lengthy history, and the band seems to have its own legend or mythology, it might seem a bit intimidating at first to jump in and start listening to the group.

The band’s website is a good place to start. There, people can get a brief education about the band’s origins and learn about their discography. Then, just like learning about any other band, taking Trans-Siberian Orchestra one song at a time is recommended. There are playlists attached to some of the DVD and CD links on the website. In addition, over on YouTube, users can find clips of songs, including the 11-minute “Carol of the Bells.” It is an audio version, but the quality is superior and the sharp and raging guitar chords imitate the bells nicely.

With Trans-Siberian Orchestra, there is a great deal to unpack. But since the group has been around more than 20 years, it seems that knowing what the band is about, taking time to listen to a song or an album or two, and perhaps even seeing them on tour are all effective ways to get started.

Like so many bands, Trans-Siberian Orchestra has its own sound. Audiences who have been treated to commercials for the group’s tour stops are likely familiar with the heavy, pulsating rock and classical mix that marks a Trans-Siberian Orchestra song. For rock fans who want to mix the genre they love with the traditions of Christmas, Trans-Siberian Orchestra might be just the band for them.


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