Reviewed by Anthony Longville
Long ago, in the early years of the 21st century, a progressive rock supergroup was born. From the USA drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater) and keyboardist/guitarist Neal Morse (Spock's Beard) linked up with the Europeans Roine Stolt on guitar (The Flower Kings) and Pete Trewavas on bass (Marillion). The band, appropriately christened Transatlantic, produced two albums highly acclaimed in proggy circles, "SMPTe" and "Bridge Across Forever" - filled with huge symphonic rock arrangements, with an ability to lift the spirits. Around the same period all this was occurring, Morse became a Christian. After the recording of 'Bridge' Morse quit Spock's Beard to pursue a solo career and also called time on Transatlantic. Whilst his full time band carried on without him, this was the death knell for the side project. As Morse's career has progressed, Portnoy has been regularly recording with him and Stolt also guested on a Morse recording. So fans began to wonder, could Transatlantic be reborn? The answer in 2009 came loud and clear as the foursome reunited to record a 77 minute tour de force. Musically, it is everything you would expect of Transatlantic, bombastic and overblown but thoroughly inspirational, in fact musicianship of the highest calibre. Some of Stolt's guitar solos lift the hairs on the back of the neck, particularly two solos in "The Wind Blew Them All Away". The only place where the music flags for me is on the final track "Dancing With Eternal Glory" with its numerous false endings. Morse's lyrical influence is certainly there although the band assure us this is a band effort, even if the original 'Whirlwind' concept was Morse's - considering how we can be battered by life's struggles but can ultimately find hope. A personal favourite track is "Rose Coloured Glasses" a song written after Morse lost his father, which speaks of the hope of resurrection but with an endearing honesty and vulnerability which is entirely appropriate to the subject matter. Jesus is not name checked, but he's certainly not hard to find in the lyrics here: "In the heart of the whirlwind/One who has been for all time/And he was sent to deliver/And bring forth the river of life". Great music to inspire you musically and spiritually.
The opinions expressed in this article are
not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed
views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may
not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a
Interested in reviewing music? Find out