Music Clip Archives

Dead Winter Dead

Last year I fell in love with The Lost Christmas Eve by TSO, and this year I am pleased to say that I have found another terrific Christmas rock opera by the (very) closely related Savatage: Dead Winter Dead. Dead Winter Dead is a bit harder rock than The Lost Christmas Eve, and fits well with the heavier and more serious theme of Christmas Eve in worn torn Sarajevo. Below are some paraphrased excerpts from the CD jacket, after which I've included several music clips from the CD which outline the story.

In the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, there is a town surrounded by buildings that were constructed during the middle ages. At one corner there is a thousand year old church with a gargoyle carved into its belfry. For the past thousand years this gargoyle has been trying to comprehend human emotions of laughter and sorrow, but they still remain a mystery.

The story begins in 1990; the Berlin wall has just fallen, Communism has collapsed and for the first time since the Roman Empire, Yugoslavia finds itself a free nation. A young man by the name of Serdjan cannot believe his good fortune to be alive at such a time in history (This is the Time).

But little men with little minds are sowing the seed of hate in pursuit of their own greedy aspirations (I Am).

The idealistic Serdjan joins the Serbian militia, where he finds himself firing mortar shells from the hills surrounding Sarajevo, while down in Sarajevo itself a young Muslim girl by the name of Katrina finds herself buying weapons from a group of arms merchants and then joining her comrades firing into the hills. The country has fallen into war.

Years pass and it is now November 1994. An old man looks at the war torn land and exclaims that when the Yugoslavians had prayed for change, this is not what they intended, (This Isn't What We Meant). Rather than taking refuge like everyone else though, he climbs atop the rubble of a fountain bombed in the war and starts playing a cello.

Later, on patrol one day in late December, Serdjan comes upon a school yard and sees the bodies of young children killed from the mortar shells fired that day, (One Child). Horrified by what is actually happening, he decides that he will desert at the first opportunity.

On December 24th, Serdjan and Katrina each happen to hear the old man playing Christmas carols in the distance, (Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24), but the music is cut short amid the blasts of war. Fearing the worst, Serdjan and Katrian make for where the sound of the music had come from, and find the cello player dead. A single liquid drop falls from the cloudless sky wiping some blood off the old man's cheek. Serdjan looks up to see only the stone gargole above him.

Overcome by the horrors he has seen, Serdjan knows he must leave the war immediately. He turns to the young Muslim girl and asks her to come with him, but seeing his Serbian uniform she is afraid. Pouring out his feelings, Serdjan explains that he is not what she thinks (Not What You See), and he eventually wins her over and they walk away from the war together.

This is the Time

I Am

Not What We Meant

One Child

Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)

Not What You See


Note that I've chosen some of the softer, gentler songs to highlight here. There are significantly harder rock songs on the CD which vividly convey the insanity of war. If you're interested in hearing more, or actually buying this terrific CD, here is a link to the CD on Amazon: Dead Winter Dead CD