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Transatlantic - The Whirlwind CD (album) cover

THE WHIRLWIND

Transatlantic

 

Symphonic Prog

4.04 | 744 ratings

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DisgruntledPorcupine
5 stars Transatlantic returns after a long hiatus with a 78 minute epic!

The prog supergroup Transatlantic's third album, The Whirlwind, is a 78 minute epic. And it's just amazing. For the first time in all three albums I feel that the guys really clicked as a group. This sounds less of a Neal Morse side project and much more of a band effort here.

A description of the music: There are hints of several different musical styles here. There are several jazzy influences in tracks like "Set Us Free" and "On The Prowl." There are symphonic elements in "Overture/Whirlwind" and "Dancing With Eternal Glory." "Is It Really Happening" takes on some Floydian influence. "Lay Down Your Life" is a combination of glam and prog. "Out Of The Night" is a Beatles influenced song. "A Man Can Feel" should appeal to fans of The Flower Kings because of Roine Stolt dominating the vocals and the chorus seems like something of their style.

PROS:

The production: The production quality is just amazing. The sound of Portnoy's drumming is crisp and clear, probably some of the best drumming quality I've ever heard. The bass really has a punch to it. In many bands (Dream Theater is a prime example) the bass can be barely heard and is just a small background noise. Here, it's loud and clear and it really has a neat sound to it. The vocal harmonies are also great.

The musicianship: There is no absence of virtuosity in this album. Mike Portnoy is using his complex and technical drumming as usual, but I think he's better here than he ever was with Dream Theater. Not only are his drumline difficult, but here they tend to be incredibly catchy. Pete Trewavas' basslines are also terrific, especially in the track "Evermore" which contains one of my favourite basslines of all time. Roine Stolt proves himself as one of the most underrated guitarists out there in this album. He shows he can play with proficient speed (Overture/Whirlwind) and he with incredible soul (The Wind Blew Them All Away).

The composition: Some of the longer epics tend to repeat themselves after a while and get very bland. This one manages to repeat moments, yet at the perfect time. I also find that the ballads have great placement throughout. They are placed just when you might need a rest from the heavier tracks.

The intro: I find every epic needs a strong intro, and this is an incredibly strong one. It starts with a quiet symphony that suddenly begins to rise and then explodes as all of the instruments come in. The overture also does a great job of representing the themes of the album yet giving them nice little touches.

CONS:

Length: Lets face it. 78 minute long epics are not for everyone, even some prog fans. If you feel like you can tackle 78 minutes, then you probably can. This should only be a con for some people.

Lyrics: The lyrics can be a little cheesy and nearing towards the end get quite religious. I guess you could expect the religous lyrics from Neal Morse, but I really find it didn't belong in this song.

Track Ratings:

Overture/Whirlwind: 10/10 The Wind Blew Them All Away: 9/10 On The Prowl: 9/10 A Man Can Feel: 10/10 Out of the Night: 9.5/10 Rose Colored Glasses: 10/10 Evermore: 10/10 Set us Free: 8.5/10 Lay Down Your Life: 6/10 Pieces Of Heaven: 8/10 Is It Really Happening: 10/10 Dancing With Eternal Glory: 8.5/10

Recommended for: People looking for a retro-symphonic sound, but with sleeker production.

My rating: 5 stars. 2009 was a year of disappointment for me as both my favourite bands (Dream Theater and Porcupine Tree) came out with albums not so good for themselves, but this album definitely made up for it. Best album of 2009.

DisgruntledPorcupine | 5/5 |

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