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Transatlantic - SMPTe CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.07 | 762 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
4 stars A stellar entry into the symphonic rock genre with soaring melodies, dynamic performances, catchy songs, and genuine energy; the label 'super-group' is truly legitimate here.

The lineup does not really need to be raved about anymore, but I feel it bears reiterating that although it includes two of THE names of the time (Morse/Stolt), 'SMPTe' does not necessarily feel like a clone of those player's bands. While similarities are all over the place, this release comes across with a unique feel and energy which picks up the best of what Spock's Beard/Flower Kings have to over and leave out their respective 'fluff'. Perhaps most fun for me is Stolt's infectious voice and amazing guitar without the trite lyrics that completely bog-down FK's music, but there is so much good stuff going on here that no single player steals the show.

First, is the songwriting, which shines in terms of its likeability, polished performance, and craftsmanship. As expected, there is an outstanding contrast of tempos and dynamics, with vocal duties being covered mostly by Morse (who is more restrained and less grating than in SBeard). Portnoy's drumming is tight and intricate (obviously), but not quite as gung-ho as in Dream Theatre; Trewavas on the other hand feels like a whole new player-- cranking out fat bass lines very unlike what he does in this era of Marillion's music.

There is an exceptional feeling of approachability to this songs-- they're pompous and long, sure, but there is a level class in 'SMPTe' which I feel might extend to those who wouldn't normally consider listening to this kind of music. Of course, for those of us who do... this remains one of the best options out there.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 5 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Prog Leviathan | 4/5 |


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