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Transatlantic - SMPTe CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.07 | 749 ratings

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Mr. Mustard
5 stars Myself, as I'm sure many others, used Transatlantic as the gateway to find the members' main band. Of course, the styles of these bands are immediately recognizable. Transatlantic takes the chunky and rhythmic bass of Marillion, the happy and upbeat vibe of The Flower Kings, the powerful and dynamic drums of Dream Theater, and the unforgettable melodies of Spock's Beard and confines them into a perfect package. But everyone here is better than they are in their original band. After all, Transatlantic is better than the sum of its parts, and SMPT:e is the perfect example of this.

SMPT:e starts off strong with the amazing 'All of the Above,' (10/10) which is as much a prog anthem as Suppers Ready or Close to the Edge. This song has everything: energy, atmosphere, top of the line instrumentation, and most of all spectacular melodies and harmonies. The song is subdivided into six sections due to the immense size of this epic (31 min.) but they are all connected perfectly. Every moment in this song is so great it's just impossible to discuss highlights.

I would say those that know of Neal's work may note that this is probably more Morse-dominated than some of Transatlantic's later stuff as it does have that strong Spock's Beard feel. But you can easily find Roine's signature touch throughout, and Mike Portnoy's style is easily recognizable. I would say, besides 'Duel With the Devil' (from Transatlantic's second album), this is their best song.

'We All Need Some Light'(7/10) is the ballad of the album and is very similar to some of Spock's Beard's slower moments. It is acoustically driven, which complements the largely synthesized and electric guitar dominated rest of the album. Usually I'm impartial to songs like these, but in this case it's just beautiful.

Mystery Train' (8/10) is one of the supergroup's more unique songs It. has a fun psychedelic Beatles vibe which is always nice. The change-up at 3:09 which is led by Portnoy's crazy drumming gets me every time.

'My New World' (10/10) is an easygoing and fun prog song. It has a great positive, upbeat and flowing vibe similar to the Flower Kings and has all the great melodic moments you'd expect from Morse. This is as great in all aspects as 'All of the Above,' it's just half as long.

The album concludes with a cover of Procol Harum's 'In Held Twas I.' I usually try to avoid rating covers or anything that isn't original material so this rating doesn't really factor in to what I think of the album. I will say I hadn't heard the original before listening to this, so I have no way to properly compare. But after giving Procol's version a try, I believe Transatlantic's version is a bit better.

SMPT:e is the perfect example of what you get with four musicians at the top of the genre and at their creative peak. While this album isn't as much a team effort as their following albums, this is still modern prog at its greatest.


Mr. Mustard | 5/5 |


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