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Transatlantic - The Whirlwind CD (album) cover

THE WHIRLWIND

Transatlantic

 

Symphonic Prog

4.03 | 742 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I'm a huge fan of all the 4 bands that the musicians of TRANSATLANTIC come from. Though I still believe their best work is in each one of their different groups (DREAM THEATER, THE FLOWER KINGS, SPOCK'S BEARD/NEAL MORSE, MARILLION), Portnoy, Stolt, Morse and Trewavas have given me moments of beautiful music together, and their first album as a super-group, "SMPTe", was one of the first progresive-rock recordings ever to grace my collection (in fact, I met 3 of the main bands after, and thanks to, my first experience with TRANSATLANTIC). So, this band is very close to my heart. How does "The Whilrwind", then, compare with their two previous efforts?

I'll say it now: this is a great album, but it suffers from the same gigantism that recent Stolt and Morse works suffer from. The album starts with one of the greatest introductions of the last years, with joyous, exultant melodies that signal a bright future. Henceforth, the music develops in the expected ways, with repetition of the main themes, with Stolt and Morse taking turns in the lead vocals (with some participation by the other two members). the music tends to have a high-spirited taste to it, I think deeply influenced by the beliefs of Morse and the always-positive attitude of Stolt (Portnoy and Trewavas usually make darker music). "The Wind blew them all away" could've been extracted from a recording from Morse, for example.

Melodies are great, musicianship is great (Portnoy is very restrained, like always in TRANSATLANTIC, and Trewavas actually has more of a chance to shine here than in previous albums in my opinion). But the band makes one mistake: they are enjoying it too much, and they forgot that us, listeners, are not playing with them, but listening to their playing. The album tends to drag toward the end, and when we finally reach the final track we're exhausted. "Dancing with the eternal glory/Whirwind" seems to have been extended far beyond its reasonable running time, with a coda that is as long as it is unnecessary.

I still prefer "SMPTe", with incredible songs like "All of the Above" or their absolute best ever, "My New World". I rank "The Whirlwind" right next to "Bridge Across Forever", which has only four very long songs but incredibly appears more restrained. I think "The Whilrwind" is a fantastic progressive-rock album, with some of the best music that can be produced in the symphonic-rock world, but it misses perfection due to the inherent excesses of the genre. I think 4 stars are just what it deserves. With some trimming and editing, it could've reached an easy 5.

Note: The second disc, made of covers and 4 original songs, leaves this reviewer cold, as the four songs are rather forgettable, and the covers are usually entertaning but irrelevant in a review, for me.

The T | 4/5 |

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