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TRANSATLANTIC

Symphonic Prog • Multi-National


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Transatlantic picture
Transatlantic biography
Formed in 1999 - Disbanded in 2002 - Reunited in 2009

TRANSATLANTIC is Prog's premier super group. A truly illustrious collection of amazing talent that push the barriers which redefine the meaning of a progressive rock supergroup! Of course thats no surprise, looking at the all-star line-up: keyboardist / vocalist Neal MORSE (Spocks Beard), drummer Mike PORTNOY (Dream Theater), guitarist Roine STOLT (Flower Kings), and bassist Pete TREWAVAS (Marillion). Together, these multitalented guys have created some truly amazing music. For an all-star progressive rock band, TRANSATLANTIC has a chance to make some musical noise in the United States.

All four musicians agree that "SMPTe" is a timeless piece of rock history and one that shows such diverse influences as PINK FLOYD, YES, GENESIS, KING CRIMSON and The BEATLES. This album captures some of the finest progressive rock ever recorded. Barring the prog-nazis and their arrogant opinions! "Bridge Across Forever" is definitely more of a full-band effort. Those familiar with all the band members styles will certainly identify everyones characteristic touches -- Morses melody, Stolts vibrant playing, Trewevas tasteful licks, Portnoys intense drumming. Also appearing are: Chris Carmichael, violin, viola and cello; Keith Mears, saxophone; and the "Elite" choir, background vocals. Each member of the band gets a shot at lead vocals, and the vocal harmonies are outstanding. In all cases, the musicianship is intense, technical, and ambitious, but never goes over-the-top. Made for fans by fans, "Bridge Across Forever" will stand the test of time to epitomize progressive rock.

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TRANSATLANTIC discography


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TRANSATLANTIC top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.07 | 839 ratings
SMPT:e
2000
4.20 | 928 ratings
Bridge Across Forever
2001
4.06 | 1007 ratings
The Whirlwind
2009
3.84 | 661 ratings
Kaleidoscope
2014
4.03 | 236 ratings
The Absolute Universe - Forevermore (Extended Version)
2021
3.68 | 132 ratings
The Absolute Universe - The Breath of Life (Abridged Version)
2021

TRANSATLANTIC Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.41 | 147 ratings
Live in America
2001
4.46 | 210 ratings
Live in Europe
2003
4.36 | 222 ratings
Whirld Tour 2010 - Live From Shepherd's Bush Empire, London
2010
4.28 | 130 ratings
More Never Is Enough
2011

TRANSATLANTIC Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.88 | 123 ratings
Live in Europe
2003
3.91 | 59 ratings
Building the Bridge / Live In America
2006
4.65 | 224 ratings
Whirld Tour 2010 - Live from Shepherd's Bush Empire, London
2010
3.79 | 14 ratings
The Official Bootleg DVD
2010
4.42 | 67 ratings
KaLIVEoscope
2014

TRANSATLANTIC Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.14 | 88 ratings
Bridge Across Forever - The Limited Edition
2001
4.61 | 31 ratings
The Absolute Universe - The Ultimate Edition
2021

TRANSATLANTIC Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.44 | 83 ratings
SMPT:e (The Roine Stolt Mixes)
2003

TRANSATLANTIC Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Kaleidoscope by TRANSATLANTIC album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.84 | 661 ratings

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Kaleidoscope
Transatlantic Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Before Kaleidoscope we hadn't really had what you could call a "business as usual" Transatlantic album. The debut saw them not having gelled yet as a group, Bridge Across Forever found them delivering a more cohesive sound and later took on extra weight due to immediately preceding the hiatus of the band, and The Whirlwind was not just the return of Transatlantic, but also a return of Neal Morse to working as a part of band projects.

Since then, Neal seems to have found a new balance between his turning out his overtly Christian-themed solo work on the one hand and participating in bands whose music have less specifically religion themes on the other hand; after The Whirlwind he'd also crop up in Flying Colours and make guest appearances live and in the studio with Spock's Beard.

With Neal's creativity spread out like this, one might expect him to take a back seat compositionally speaking - reserving his most Transatlantic-like ideas for this, using other ideas on projects better suited to them, and giving his other bandmates room to contribute. Certainly, it's hard to judge what proportion of the music is contributed by which band member on Transatlantic releases, since they generally share the credit communally - but I certainly hear more of The Flower Kings on here than I remember on previous albums, suggesting that Roine Stolt's quirky, sometimes Zappa-influenced approach to prog had a particularly big influence this time around. (He also sings lead on Black As the Sky and certain other sections.)

It's not that the other members are absent here - far from it. Neal's combination of uplifting, soaring crescendos, lyrics which you can read a Christian meaning into if you want but don't have to, and nods to the 1960s pop scene that early prog grew out of are all here too, Portnoy and Trewavas are still pulling their weight in the rhythm section, this might be a Kaleidoscope but it isn't a revolution in the band's sound.

Since their reunion, Transatlantic haven't exactly been cranking out albums at a massive rate - part of that is probably down to everyone having day jobs with other musical projects to balance, of course, but to my ears it seems like they're also trying to make sure that each Transatlantic release is a little special. As I said at the start of this review, they hadn't put out a "business as usual" album before this one - and they don't do it this time either.

 SMPT:e by TRANSATLANTIC album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.07 | 839 ratings

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SMPT:e
Transatlantic Symphonic Prog

Review by Dapper~Blueberries

4 stars In the realm of progressive rock, supergroups come into the fray quite often. Many musicians love to get together and have a good time. It is a tradition in any genre really, hip hop groups like Wu-Tang Clan and Run The Jewels are fairly notable examples, same with punk music with groups like Fake Names and Me First And The Gimme Gimmes. Back to Prog rock though, supergroups happen all the time it seems. Emerson, Lake, and Palmer are the most popular examples, with Greg Lake from King Crimson being at the forefront of the band. Another example is Asia, with Steve Howe from Yes, Geoffrey Downes from The Buggles, John Wetton from King Crimson and UK, and Carl Palmer from ELP. However, there is no supergroup out there that has shaped the face of modern progressive rock music more so than Transatlantic.

Formed in 1999, this multinational group was built up by Neal Morse of Spock's Bears (Keyboard, Vocals), and Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater (Drums). They originally wanted Jim Matheos of Fates Warning to be a guitarist for the band, but due to the inability to participate, they got the next best thing, which was Roine Stolt of The Flower Kings (Guitar, Vocals). To complete the lineup, they called in Pete Trewavas of Marillion and Edison's Children (Bass). With this lineup of artists from bands that are extremely well received in the progressive rock community due to their great playing styles, it comes as no surprise that this group would garner a great deal of fame. This unique mix of retro progressive rock, Neo-Prog, and progressive metal and you'll get the brilliant work that is Transatlantic. I have been checking them out a bit recently and so far they have become, slowly but surely, one of my favorite acts in progressive rock. I only listened to two of their albums so far, and I wanted to review one or the other, and I didn't know which one to review, however, I landed on SMPTe ultimately since I think it is interesting to see the origins of a band that has become one of the biggest in terms of progressive rock more so than some of their most legendary works in my mind.

The album begins with the huge 30-minute epic of All Of The Above. The title doesn't lie, this does have pretty much the entire scope of the influences that shaped retro progressive rock. You get that complexity of Yes, those symphonic of Genesis, and the fun stylization of ELP, wrapped up into one big song. With the lineup of musicians we have here, we get some great instrumentation. The star of the show here must be Roine Stolt. His guitar skills are fantastic and goes so well with Neal's singing and Mike's drumming. Speaking of Mike's drumming, I fully believe it just soars to new heights here. It was great in Dream Theater, but here we have him truly embracing those proggy and fun feelings, which helps him a lot in the long run. These two helped shape this epic into a great one for me. However, while I think this is a great epic, I think it has some things that fall short of brilliance. For one, the song has a bit of weird way of ending. It has a big crescendo, a big finale at 26 minutes, and then after 28 minutes it fizzles out, and then we have 3 minutes left of ambient guitars, which I think feels very weird for an ending. I think if they put those ambient guitars on one of the quieter parts then the ending would become a lot better in my mind, while still keeping in tune with the long 31-minute time frame. However that's my only complaint because every aspect of this song, from the playing to the singing, is still virtually the cream of the crop in terms of progressive rock music, so any complaints I can give are gonna be very small in terms of the grand scale this song gives.

Switching away from the big grand epics, we get We All Need Some Light. This is that acoustic soft rock ballad Neal Morse loves to pull out in his albums, especially in his solo career, so I wasn't too surprised to hear it on here. In my mind, this song is very alright. It gets the job done for being that soft-spoken ballad that you might come across, but that is it. The song may be good, but I think all it serves is to get the job done, fill in some space. Compared to any other of Neal's many soft rock songs (from what I have heard) this is the weakest. It does not try to do anything cool or different, it is just another one of those songs they can play at a concert so people can pull out their lighters and sway them from side to side. It is practically just there.

Things do turn around though with Mystery Train. It has that wacky and silly type of progressive rock that sprouts up with more psychedelic influences, especially that of the 60s or 70s, but here with the more symphonic progressive rock type of music found here it comes off a lot different than what you'd expect. This is where they embrace the weirder side of progressive rock, but I feel like it is sort of in that weird middle ground of being completely silly, and still being grounded as a whole, which I think defeats the purpose of the sort of that surreal side. It feels like an experiment, where you can tell they are making great music, it feels like where they are making said great music is one where the members are in different mindsets in the song's direction. It's weird, and in some ways a good fashion, but in others, it is a rather poor way of conveying this type of music.

Getting back to the epics, we have My New World. This is where Roine Stolt comes into really shine a bit more of that Flower Kings sound. We get that jovial, and trippy form of progressive rock here that is helmed by Stolt's lustrous singing here. For a 16-minute epic, it hits all the right spots for me. A great mix of that rock sound, mixed in with a little bit of atmosphere and topped off with a great closure. With it being 16 minutes long, it doesn't overstay its welcome and instead allows the music to evolve in a great fashion. The musicianship here is on point as ever, and everything just fits seamlessly into place. I do not have any gripes on this song. This is their best original song here, and it's very easy to hear why.

Now notice how I said "original" in the last paragraph. Well, that's because My New World is not the best song on the full album, it's close, but it's not the best. That title has to go to the cover of Procol Harum's 1968 epic, In Held 'Twas in I. If you wanted to see a cover song that is better than the original, look no further than here. For the sake of this review I checked out the original epic, and I did fairly enjoy it. I thought it got a good amount of things right as an early progressive rock epic, but some parts felt weaker than others. Here, in the entire whole of the song, no part feels weaker or stronger. Every part of this suite has consistent greatness to it as it meshes together into one big whole. It even modernizes the song in such a way that the original doesn't get lost, but the additions and newer viewing scope help it stand tall more than ever. For a cover, this is a treat to behold, and quite frankly better than what the original had done. If you want a great cover song, look here.

As a whole, this album is amazing, if we only look at the epics. The two shorter tracks loosen this album up a bit for me, and they feel weak as in or out of the listening of this album. The epics however are great, as you'd expect from musicians that are some of the best in progressive music. I think this album is interesting because after this they seem to focus more on stretches of music, especially on The Whirlwind. With this, it's clear that this album as a whole is an experiment to see what route they want to go in, whether it be towards long and amazing epics, or towards the shorter song route, and ultimately, for the better, they went for the longer songs. I think this album is a great example of the differences in the facets that make progressive rock as it is. I say check it if you want some great retro progressive rock, however, I do suggest starting with The Whirlwind first since that album is much, much better than this one, but if you have the time then do check in on it.

 The Whirlwind by TRANSATLANTIC album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.06 | 1007 ratings

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The Whirlwind
Transatlantic Symphonic Prog

Review by Argentinfonico

5 stars After 8 years without releases, the supergroup Transatlantic resurfaces from the doldrums with the definitive song: The Whirlwind. Almost 80 minutes divided into 12 parts full of epic and conceptual strength and worthy of such a powerful formation. Here we go in detail with each division:

I. Overture/Whirlwind (5/5): The opening of the album seems to encompass all the arts that exist in a single indestructible and gigantic energy. It begins as a soundtrack and then teleports divinely over too many terrains in just a few minutes, as if it were finishing off everything in its path and looking for more lands to destroy. All the instruments are superb and pivotal: the hammond appears at exactly the right moments and plays a cautious but prolific role. The bass goes through 1970, then through 1980, then through modern prog... Everything is essential, original and devastating (even the lyrics). From a supergroup, a supersound!

II. The Wind Blew Them All Away (5/5): When it seems impossible that it can happen, the level goes up and up! This starts as a careful and intimate song, but at this point you know you can never trust Transatlantic! It's such a great piece of work, full of outstanding performances and worthy of study. That calmness shatters with the best progressive sound of the 21st century and breaks the barriers of creativity with a solo that slowly rises and pierces every part of your body leaving you blind with admiration. Roine Stolt delivers one of the most powerful guitar solos I have ever heard in my entire life! The bass player here reminds me a lot of Squire with his crazy ups and downs. The drumming is just as masterful as in the opening. The classic ambience provided by the synthesizers very cleverly accompanies the euphoria of the song. Then they decide to close by bringing back some of the initial calm but without letting the exciting fragments disappear. From the second song onwards you are already sure that everything that awaits you is enormous.

III. On The Prowl (4/5): With the bass as the protagonist, the album takes a slightly unexpected turn and plunges us into a bit of funk territory, with a wise hammond guiding us towards the sinister lyrics. The level of epicness has dropped a little, but it was needed! The neatness and the level of interpretation is still monumental.

IV. A Man Can Feel (4/5): "New frontiers, a scary prospect". Perhaps my favourite lyrics of the album... The level of songwriting is on par with any band that has ever existed. So much glory, so much mischievousness.... It's great.

V. Out Of The Night (3,5/5): I have to say that I didn't expect that after the multiple chaos of just now, the album proceeds with a song that seems to be made in the 80s. I like it, but I don't have much to say here. The electric guitar does a nice Brian May-esque plucking, the drums are constantly looking for gaps to place their impacts, and the last part of the solo continues into the next song.

VI. Rose Colored Glasses (5/5): Well, I think it all rises again here and in a big way. Another fantastic lyric! The poetry is on par with the instrumentation throughout. It may sound strange, but I was reminded of The Alan Parsons Project at several points. In the choruses, in the vocalist's outbursts, in the little passages.... The synthesizers play perhaps their best role on the album. This track would be half without them. And it's always just the right note! This band knows perfectly how to thrill fans of aggressive, orchestral-sounding progressive rock.

VII. Evermore (4/5): An opaque Close To The Edge lurks here somehow. Again, no instrument rests and all battle spatially in the battle of evermore! On this kind of album, where the songs and the energy are so prepared, one can't be unfocused for a second. The perfection that is achieved at times is overwhelming.

VIII. Set Us Free (4,5/5): From the beginning everything is a bit funky again... The keyboard and bass sound much more jazzy, changing the direction of the album, but the spectacular synth riff contrasts this tranquillity in a sublime way. The guitar keeps spilling out quality solos and the vocalist hasn't lost a duel yet!

IX. Lay Down Your Life (5/5): From funk we move to deep and decisive metal, with another interesting riff that provides the tension that the album needed a few minutes ago. The heaviest song on the album by far, with ruthless and deadly lyrics that elevate the subtle darkness of the album to its highest point. One of the band's best songs.

X. Pieces Of Heaven (3/5): The amount of styles this album possesses is curious. From a terribly aggressive and detonating theme it follows with a melody that sounds like something out of a Gryphon album. This piece, the shortest song on the album, is a fun and extroverted passage that combines elements of renaissance music with typical symphonic rock. There is nothing new in terms of the instruments played.

XI. Is It Really Happening? (5/5): From the very beginning of the song you can sense that perhaps the most elevated and intelligent moment of the whole album is approaching. Loose guitar chords and drums that slowly build up and achieve a film-like ambience. The keyboard makes for some very interesting arrangements and the bass has to work hard not to be left behind by such complex and heavy rhythms, but it does its job satisfactorily as you would expect. After a repeated lyric dealing with two or three questions, halfway through the song a bloody fight breaks out between the electric guitar and the hammond, and between the two of them they spill progressive blood all over the place. The album returns to the initial process and, therefore, nothing goes wrong.

XII. Dancing With Eternal Glory/Whirlwind (Reprise) (5/5): The perfect ending. The culmination par excellence. The endowment of epicness, emotions, composition, elements, details, neatness, care and responsibility. The instruments perform their best project in the final minutes. The elevation that is achieved in 80 minutes is inexorably augmented the whole time by the unquestioning eye of wisdom and, as you would expect, the final moment is the perfect peak of emotion and teaching.

I'd like to give it more stars and go beyond the rules of punctuation. Transatlantic took elements from classical music, the decisive progressive bands of the 70s, metal and modern prog to make this unforgettable masterpiece. The energy of the album gradually transforms with the excellence of the concept. Transatlantic tries to achieve the highest degree of musical maturity possible and looks for the exact moments to descend, ascend or balance the song. The work done by these 4 men will be etched on the eternal mural of music and its humble enthusiasts. When you know that you have to listen to a record a thousand more times, it is because you also know that it is one of your best musical discoveries. The feeling of knowing that a record will be with you for the rest of your life is incomparable and one of the most special.

A major work.

 The Absolute Universe - The Breath of Life (Abridged Version) by TRANSATLANTIC album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.68 | 132 ratings

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The Absolute Universe - The Breath of Life (Abridged Version)
Transatlantic Symphonic Prog

Review by 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.

 The Absolute Universe - Forevermore (Extended Version) by TRANSATLANTIC album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.03 | 236 ratings

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The Absolute Universe - Forevermore (Extended Version)
Transatlantic Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 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. While they are different albums, they are also the same, which makes it hard to write different reviews for each one, but life is never easy is it? When Transatlantic first came together more than 20 years ago I was blown away, as this was the first prog supergroup of the new generation and 'SMPT:e' is still a delight to listen to. Here we had musicians from Spock's Beard, Marillion, The Flower Kings and Dream Theater combining in a way which brought in influences from all these bands, taking the music in a vast symphonic manner which was both massively over the top yet also contained simple to understand melodies.

Given all those involved are also in other active units, Transatlantic have never been the most prolific of bands, and it has been six years since 'Kaleidoscope', which in itself was five years from 'The Whirlwind' while that was in itself eight years on from 'Bridge Across Forever' (although Morse had removed himself from popular music during that period as he concentrated on his Christianity). Morse feels this album has more in common with 'Whirlwind' than any other, while Trewavas states simply that it is the best thing they have ever done, and he may just be right. Transatlantic have a reputation of pushing boundaries and limits, sometimes extending where they might be better of trimming, which I am sure is due much to the influence of Stolt as this is something he has also been guilty of The Flower Kings. Yet in recent years they have definitely cut back, and the same is true here with this band, as while the album is 90 minutes long, there are 18 songs and only 3 of them are eight minutes or longer. This means we get shifts in approach far more often, and while at times it feels more like one continuous piece of music than a series of songs, there is no doubt that they are shifting melodies and lyrical ideas.

Since this band came into inception, I have often wondered what Trewavas thinks when he goes back to the day job, as I would take any Transatlantic album over any Marillion album released during the same timeframe as here we have a band that really is taking symphonic prog in new directions, lifting the listener. The 90 minutes of this release just fly by and listening to this version it is hard to imagine how it could work in a more abbreviated form. Transatlantic are back, and it is a masterpiece.

 The Absolute Universe - The Ultimate Edition by TRANSATLANTIC album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2021
4.61 | 31 ratings

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The Absolute Universe - The Ultimate Edition
Transatlantic Symphonic Prog

Review by DangHeck

4 stars What can I say here? I am just so excited for a new Transatlantic release. And of course, I had to listen to Forevermore, the extended version. Right from the get-go, we get that satisfyingly epic sound fans will know and love. Mike PORTNOY sounds incredible as expected. Coming off of listening to some of my favorite FLOWER KINGS tracks, I was hungry for more and I was all smiles seeing this finally reached "up next" on my queue of albums for the day.

I'm hard-pressed to not be impressed by these tracks, even when, compositionally, the songs are just okay. I mean, just exemplary musicianship; how could it not be? That all to say, as with the track "Swing High, Swing Low", the clearly MORSE-penned neo-gospel Worship song, I even turned to enjoying tracks that I otherwise didn't really like. And as an album (see how the aforementioned track runs into the next, "Bully"), again, right from the start, as others have noted, it is clear that this is one purposeful piece, linked together by not-so-disparate parts. Big surprise there lol.

Excellent vocals and vocal harmonies too, just as we know them to bring to the table. How could these parts not have been a blast for them to put together? From one review to the next, I go from jaded to excited (not that anyone asked). Random aside time: There is a guitar part at the end of "Higher Than the Morning" that I could have sworn was a David GILMOUR line.

At the intro to "Looking for the Light" (following the excellent BEATLESesque Psych-soaked Power-Pop-turned-Symphonic- masterpiece, "Rainbow Sky") my jaw literally dropped haha. And is that Mike on lead vox? It's a great, beefy track. Fortunately here, by the middle of the first disc, we have plenty of interest and diversity, while still feeling like one whole piece of music. This carries on to the very end. Just like when I first heard The Whirlwind, all I can say is "Impressive."

Far as I'm concerned, "Owl Howl" is the best track on the album. Give me as much of that Roine STOLT DARK ENERGY as humanly possible. A not-quite-close second for me was clearly "Looking for the Light (Reprise)". Quite the very-mini Epic. Other personal standout tracks include "Rainbow Sky", "The Sun Comes Up Today", and "The Greatest Story Never Ends."

 Live in Europe by TRANSATLANTIC album cover Live, 2003
4.46 | 210 ratings

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Live in Europe
Transatlantic Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

5 stars Transatlantic playing the best of their first two albums and in absence of enough of original material, add in some cover ingredients by one of the best Beatles pieces - the Abbey Road "Suite" which is almost complete (except Sun King)". Since Translantic was a hobby group, they could play whenever they had fun and you can see that they enjoy every minute of it. Morse doing magic on two pieces of keyboards only with synths/Hammond/piano/moog etc. You may complete that the sound is a bit artificial but it's modern and simpler to play. Guitar is less prominent and one would wish for more by Mr. Stolt. Drums and bass are well distinsguishable in the mix. Drumming is very proficient but you can hear that Portnoy is first and foremost, a metal drummer - his technique represens how much you can play in 1 sec and does not contains little feeling.

This concert should be preferred over "Live in America" which contained more covers. This is one of the reference live progressive rock concerts of 2000' so 4.5 or 5 stars can be granted. See them live and you will remember my words.

 Bridge Across Forever by TRANSATLANTIC album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.20 | 928 ratings

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Bridge Across Forever
Transatlantic Symphonic Prog

Review by lukretio

4 stars Transatlantic are the dream team of modern progressive rock. Comprised of Neal Morse (keyboards, vocals), Mike Portnoy (drums, vocals), Roine Stolt (guitars, vocals) and Pete Trewavas (bass, vocals), the project brings together some of the best musicians from the best bands (Spock's Beard, Dream Theater, The Flower Kings and Marillion, respectively) of the contemporary prog rock and metal scenes. Supergroups are not always a recipe for success, but in this case the class, expertise and artistic integrity of the four musicians involved is guarantee of quality and genuine musical value. Bridge Across Forever is perhaps not perfect and shows one or two rough edges, but it is nevertheless a great album, far superior to ninety-percent of the prog rock that was released around the same time.

The music "formula" that underlies the album is straightforward: full-blown prog rock extravaganza. This is music that harks back to the golden days of progressive rock and the work of bands like Yes and Genesis, albeit revisited in contemporary fashion and bringing in the metallic bite of prog metal. It can be described as a cross between Spock's Beard and The Flower Kings, with a slightly more metallic undertone relative to these two bands. The Marillion and Dream Theater influences are instead much less pronounced. The emphasis is on long-form compositions with multiple sections, extended instrumental run-throughs and recurring themes that tie together the different parts of the song and give the listener a reference point to hold on to as they navigate the sprawling compositions. The playing is highly-technical and virtuosic ? it could not be otherwise given the calibre of the four musicians involved in the project -, but it never loses sight of melody and accessibility. Whether you are into extended guitar solos, flamboyant keyboard parts, spectacular bass grooves or six-armed drum extravaganza, Bridge Across Forever has it all and it's guaranteed that you can spend hours dissecting the monstrous performances of the Morse, Portnoy, Stolt and Trewavas.

The vocal department is also strong. A difference between this album and its predecessor, Transatlantic's debut record SMPTe, is that on this one Morse, Portnoy, Stolt and Trewavas share duties behind the mic. This was a more or less conscious attempt at making Transatlantic sound like a Neal Morse's solo project, after the debut album, where Morse had a leading role in the vocal parts, had been criticized for its excessive similarity with Morse's and Spock's Beard's output. The alternation between four voices is interesting and freshens things up, although Morse does remain the most accomplished vocalist of the four, followed with some distance by Stolt.

The album is comprised of four songs for a total duration exceeding 70 minutes. Two tracks, the opener "Duel with the Devil" and closer "Stranger in Your Soul" are approximately 26 minutes each, "Suite Charlotte Pike" clocks at 14+ minutes, and the title-track is only a mere 5:33 minute long. "Duel with the Devil" and "Stranger in Your Soul" are the two "prog epics" of the album, where Transatlantic pour all of their creativity and skills and then some more. The two pieces share some common musical themes (the strings section that opens both tracks) and a similarly complex structure, with multiple parts that feed into one another, alternating between furious musical workouts and more atmospheric and mellower sections. Although both songs are great fun to listen to, "Duel with the Devil" is the one where Transatlantic truly reach near-perfection, thanks to a beautiful melodic theme (the chorus "Motherless Children?") that recurs throughout the song in multiple arrangements (including a sublime choral arrangements near the end), and a balanced structure that does not abuse with too many digressions but is firmly grounded around its central melodic idea. "Stranger in Your Soul" is instead slightly less satisfactory and shows some of the pitfalls of long-form songwriting. It opens strongly with some of the most exhilarating musical passages of the album ("Pt I: Sleeping Wide Awake" and the heavily metallic "Part II: Hanging in the Balance"), but it loses steam afterwards (the dull section "Pt III: Lost and Found pt 2") and then gets tangled into a messy conclusion, with a faux finale (the orchestral crescendo at the end of "Pt IV: Awakening the Stranger") and a repetition of quiet/loud sections that goes on for too long.

The other two tracks of the album are less spectacular, but nevertheless enjoyable. The title-track, a simple piece for piano and vocals beautifully sung by Neal Morse, is especially endearing. "Suite Charlotte Pike" is a sort of "glorified blues jam", where Transatlantic showcase their love for The Beatles and 1960/70s pop rock. It's fun to listen to, but it lacks the depth and musical nuance of the two epics, which makes its 14+ minutes perhaps a tad unwarranted.

Overall, Bridge Across Forever is a strong album that will surely not disappoint prog rock/metal aficionados. It has everything that the genre is known for: tight musicianship, sprawling compositions, clever songwriting and sophisticated arrangements. Most importantly, it packs four songs that strike a great balance between melodic accessibility and musical complexity, making this a record that is both instantly enjoyable and with great replay value.

 The Absolute Universe - Forevermore (Extended Version) by TRANSATLANTIC album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.03 | 236 ratings

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The Absolute Universe - Forevermore (Extended Version)
Transatlantic Symphonic Prog

Review by Mark-P

5 stars This album should be in my opinion one of highlights in 2021 progressive music scene. With a long seamless listening experience consisting of 9 shorter pieces of each of two CD (last respectively 47 and 43 minutes), this concept album is an epic progressive record.

One of great features of Neal Morse and Roine Stolt being in the same band is that both of them are really good in writing well-structured track, most of the time with grand theme and creative elaboration of that theme throughout the album. The opening track 'Overture' is the example of this. The theme is well composed and nicely performed by Roine's soaring guitar, with complex time signature, several key changes and great rhythm (bass and drum) arrangement. This theme will be played throughout the album with many wonderful approaches.

The fourth track 'The Darkness in the Light' has a nice jazz-flamenco feel particularly in the middle of the song. Pete Trewavas' bassline is really good in this track. The seventh track 'Rainbow Sky' is a nice track, with Genesis and Beatles influences creating a unique style. There is a good moment where the theme is played with such style.

The ninth track 'The World We Used to Know' has a heavy instrumental intro. I think there is an intentional homage to Yes's 'Ritual' (from 'Tales from Topographic Oceans') before the vocal section starts. This track ends the first part (first CD).

The second part is opened by an uplifting track 'The Sun Comes Up Today'. Roine's guitar work in this track is amazing. Twelfth track 'Owl Howl' is a rather dark track, with part of has a flavor of modernized Pink Floyd. Again the main theme is performed with different style that really fit in this track. Mike Portnoy's drumming in this track and the next track 'Belong' are outstanding. 'Belong' is mostly instrumental track, with a great guitar works with amazing bass and drum companions.

The last 3 tracks are kind of crescendo that bring us to a beautiful end. 'Greatest Story Never Ends' has a vocal harmony that reminds me to Gentle Giant's and Yes' style. The main theme is played gloriously with orchestral background, before smoother ending with 'Love Made a Way'.

These four progressive rock masters of present day have brought so many creativity and great musicianship in this album. A great enjoyable 90-minutes journey with a lot of musical intelligent to appreciate. References to other prog- rock giants like Yes or Pink Floyd and additional orchestration are other nice elements of this album. A different (and shorter) version of 'The Absolute Universe' is also released ? and despite the fact that each version has its own great feature, I like this extended version better, for it has a lot more of Roine's guitar work and more listening enjoyment. A five-star album, that for me set another standard for present day progressive rock.

 The Whirlwind by TRANSATLANTIC album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.06 | 1007 ratings

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The Whirlwind
Transatlantic Symphonic Prog

Review by CygnusX72

3 stars Day 2 random review, and with some trepidation given the high regard for this Supergroup including this album. The Whirlwind never grabbed me, and on yet another listen, it still doesn't. Sure, the musicianship is top notch, and credit for ambition, but song length and a concept does not necessarily a great album make. In stark contrast to the first two excellent Transatlantic albums, this one is largely ponderous and dull, which is a problem for an album consisting of one continuous track. There are moments: A Man Can Feel; Out of the Night; and the brooding Is It Really Happening ? But otherwise, its a bit of a drag, and lacking in inspiration.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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