by Robert Bell
How's this for an unlikely music-biz success story: Some of the principal members of Savatage — a long-running metal turned hard-prog band that had found middling success throughout the '80s and '90s — formed a symphonic metal side-project inspired by the Russian Revolution.
They released a trio of Christmas-themed albums, in the process becoming one of the biggest concert draws in the country, thus earning glory, approbation and mountains of money beyond any of their wildest dreams. I think that deserves a cot-dang round of applause.
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is the ultimate story of heavy metal geeks done good. With its Christmas-themed concert and laser-light-show-overload extravaganza, the band has sold somewhere in the neighborhood of eleventy-gadzillion concert tickets since its inception and you just know that somewhere out there, the guys in Queensrÿche are kicking themselves for not coming up with something like this, right?