Personnel: Dave Wittman (guitar, drums); Chris Caffery, Al Pitrelli, Paul O'Neill, Angus Clark, Joel Hoekstra (guitar); Roddy Chong (violin); Nancy Chang, Lowell Adams, Karen Dumke, Eric Nordstrom, Mary Corbett, Virginia Respess, Jason Jerald, Betsy Isaak (strings); Derek Wieland, Jane Mangini, Jon Oliva, Vitalij Kuprij, Mee Eun Kim (keyboards); John O. Reilly, Jeff Plate (drums); Chloe Lowery, Erika Jerry, Jay Pierce, Phillip Brandon, Dari Mahnic (background vocals).
Recording information: Night Castle Studios, Tampa.
Released to coincide with the classically inclined, Yule-loving, progressive metal powerhouse's 2012 performances of its multi-platinum Last Christmas Eve rock opera, Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night) represents the first new collection of holiday music from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra since 2004. The five-song EP begins appropriately with a pair of instrumentals, "Winter Palace" and the title track, both of which are muscular, meticulous, and steeped in the kind of ornate, wintry melodrama that serves as the group's foundation. The remainder of the EP is relegated to non-instrumental cuts, including the theatrical praise-pop anthem "I Had a Memory," and a pair of stage-ready ballads in the sentimental "Someday" and the uplifting lullaby "Time You Should Be Sleeping." ~ James Christopher Monger