Trans Siberian Orchestra founder Paul O'Neill says he's "damned and determined" to have the group's new album, "The Night Castle," finished and released in 2008.

Trans Siberian Orchestra founder Paul O'Neill says he's "damned and determined" to have the group's new album, "The Night Castle," finished and released in 2008. Of course, he said the same thing last year, and the year before that...

"The unfortunate thing is nobody believes me," O'Neill tells Billboard.com with a laugh. "Even my own manager doesn't believe me. But I do want to turn it in this spring and have it out this summer."

O'Neill says the delay in making "Night Castle" -- which will be TSO's first release since "The Lost Christmas Eve" in 2004 -- is one of quality control. "We just want it to be perfect," he explains. "I just think the band is slowly building a reputation of not letting the fans down. I don't want to let them down, ever, in live concerts and especially on the albums."

Also slowing process has been the fact that "Night Castle" has grown. Originally slated as a single, song-oriented CD, it will now be a double-disc set, one of which will feature another TSO rock opera that O'Neill describes as "like 'Doctor Zhivago' was about the Bolshevik Revolution, but told through the eyes (of the characters), so not, like, historically factual."

O'Neill says he's canceled all TSO commitments and turned down all offers after the group wraps its annual holiday tour on Jan. 6 in order to focus solely on finishing "Night Castle" -- which will include some big-name guests from the classic rock world who he's currently keeping secret (though he acknowledges that some have made cameos at TSO shows before).

Once the album is out he says the group will embark on a year-long world tour, including TSO's first-ever outdoor dates and some shows tied in with Major League Baseball teams.

O'Neill is also planning special packaging for "Night Castle," as well as a subsequent deluxe package re-release of 2000's "Beethoven's Last Night," TSO's only non-Christmas album to this point.