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Transatlantic - SMPTe CD (album) cover

SMPTE

Transatlantic

 

Symphonic Prog

4.05 | 556 ratings

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sleeper
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Transatlantic are arguably the first prog super group of the 90's generation (so of course, it was released in 2000), made up from leading members of four of the biggest bands of the 90's. Roine Stolt, Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy and Pete Trewaves make up an extremely talented group of musicians and any band who's first song is 30 minutes long (!) is clearly ambitious.

This is an album clearly performed in the manner of classic Symphonic prog, big arrangements, big guitar solos, impressive keyboard solo's and genre defining bass guitar performances, the first album from Transatlantic has it all, and that includes intelligent sounding lyrics that tend to go nowhere. To be more specific the band sounds like a cross between The Flower Kings (largely from Stolts guitars and Trewaves bass) and Spock's Beard (from Morse's keyboards and Portnoys drumming).

Anyone that is familiar with these two bands will know what to expect, and that's mainly incredible musicianship ala Yes in their heyday. I feel that each of the four members here gave an impressively focused performance, there is no meandering into pointless instrumental parts that go nowhere, an accomplishment for Stolt as he is certainly guilty of this in The Flower Kings, and just break up the song. The opening track, the 31 minute All of the Above, is testament to this as it seems to go past in only half the time that it lasts, never being dull at all. This can also be said for the other two epics on this album, My New World and the Procul Harum cover In Held ('Twas) in I. The other trap that the band could have fallen into was the obvious attempt to create radio friendly tracks to gain attention (something that Neal Morse was guilty of doing in Spock's Beard from time to time). Thankfully, they've stayed clear f this as well.

Special mention should go to Pete Trewaves performance on this album as he really brought his level of playing up to that of the others, who are recognized masters of their respective instruments. Though no one could fault his creativity with Marillion, he never showed, or needed to show, highly accomplished levels of technical ability (I suspect because it wouldn't have fitted into the slightly simpler style of Marillion). But here he really pushes the boat out and shows what he's got, whilst keeping that impressive ability to always create an interesting bass line that grabs as much attention as any other instrument without overshadowing them.

Like the previously mentioned bands, Transatlantic doesn't re-invent Symphonic prog but gives it a more up-dated sound for modern times. This is rather derivative of the music pioneered by the classic groups Yes, Genesis, etc, but its just done so incredibly well that any fan of the classic bands should be able to get on with this like a house on fire. Each song is composed brilliantly and is both or either beautiful and exiting all the way through. As I said, its derivative of the classics but its just so enjoyable that I cant recommend this enough to any fan of the original bands. 5 stars without hesitation.

sleeper | 5/5 |

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