Wizards Of Winter, The: The Wizards Of Winter
New Jersey's The Wizards Of Winter have been around for a few years now having started as a Trans-Siberian Orchestra tribute band. The TSO connection doesn't end there as a number of TSO members have toured with the band including Guy LeMonnier (vocals) who is now a full time member. The rest of the band are Scott Kelly (keyboards), Sharon Kelly (flute, vocals), Steve Ratchen (bass, vocals), Fred Gorhau (guitar), Natalie Niarezka (violins), T.W. Durfy (guitar), Vincent Jiovino (vocals), Mary McIntyre (keyboards, vocals) and Tommy Ference (drums).
If you enjoy the sounds of TSO I guarantee you will appreciate The Wizards Of Winter. Sure, just like TSO, some may find this a little cheesy and they might be right but I have always had a soft spot for well-done Christmas music and on that front The Wizards Of Winter deliver in spades.
The tone of the album is set right from the start with the energetic rocker "Arctic Flyer" and its 'Christmas time' feel. The keyboard arrangement is dominant here. "Special Feeling" is a rather moving ballad that gets a little heavier as the song evolves with some soaring guitar while "Sing O'Alleluia" is a wonderful reworking of the Christmas classics "Do You Hear What I Hear", "I Saw Three Ships" and "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring". Much like TSO, they do a great job of rearranging the classics while adding their own compositional brew.
The album's first single "March Of The Metal Soldiers", the band's take on "March Of The Toys", features heavy metal guitar and lovely choral vocals. All proceeds from the song go to the Wounded Warrior Project, certainly a nice touch by the band.
The album's heaviest track "Journey" is a dramatic slice of symphonic metal where they show off their considerable chops and features some of the best guitar on the disc. In contrast, "Just Believe" is about as poignant a ballad you will hear this year.
The Wizards Of Winter have created an uplifting and melodic album of rock and metal that will fit nicely beside your favourite Christmas music. I love it.
1. Arctic Flyer (3:41)
2. Special Feeling (3:40)
3. Sing O'Alleluia (4:50)
4. Night Of Reflection (3:54)
5. Once Long Ago (5:12)
6. Gales Of December (4:52)
7. Moments Of Wonder (5:13)
8. March Of The Metal Soldiers (4:02)
9. Journey (4:02)
10. Just Believe (6:15)
11. Toys Will Be Toys (3:38)
12. A Simple Cut (7:44)
13. Ode To Eisenach (3:38)
14. Christmas Lullaby (3:42)
Added: January 1st 2015
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
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