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Transatlantic - The Absolute Universe - The Breath of Life (Abridged Version) CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.70 | 148 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars In September 2019 the four-piece of Neal Morse (vocals, piano, Hammond organ, Minimoog, Mellotron, acoustic guitar, charango), Roine Stolt (vocals, electric & acoustic 6- & 12-string guitars, ukulele, keyboards, percussion), Pete Trewavas (vocals, bass) and Mike Portnoy (vocals, drums & percussion) met up to discuss what would be their fifth album. After a couple of weeks of working on material and mapping out songs each musician returned to their own studio to work on the recording. It was during this period that the album kept growing, and discussions were had as to whether this should be a double or single CD. Pete and Neal favoured the shorter version while Roine and Mike preferred the longer, so in the end they decided to do both. But it is important to understand that one is not a shorter/longer version of the other in that there are alternate recordings, new recordings, and even different singers on the single album.

'The Breath of Life' comes in at 64 minutes long, so some 26 minutes shorter than the other release. Some songs have been cut in length, others have been cut out altogether, but due to the relationship between the two releases it is virtually impossible to review them both, as in many ways they are different sides of the same coin, and the largest variation is actually in time. Yes, we have different recordings and singers, different versions and edits, but this is pretty much the same album, just shorter. 'Short" is not a word often associated with Transatlantic, as they have built a reputation on not only being master songwriters and performers, but also stretching performances. I still remember the first time I heard 'Live In Europe' ? I was absolutely blown away, even there were only five songs on a double CD release which was 140 minutes in length.

We don't want brevity, we want excess, and while 'Forevermore' isn't massively overly dramatic, it does give us 26 minutes more than this, and if I was only to own one then it would be that one, and not this. But, given I am reviewing both it is obvious I have both albums, and love them dearly. I guess the only real solution is to buy the limited deluxe clear 5LP+3CD+Blu-Ray Box-set ? contained within a foil-finished lift-off box with extended 16-page LP booklet & 60x60cm poster. This is yet another superb release, yet not quite as good as the longer one.

kev rowland | 4/5 |


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