The Whirlwind Special Edition
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The Whirlwind is a 77 minute piece of music that is sure to satisfy the legions of Transatlantic fans that have patiently waited almost the entire decade for the reunion of these four musicians. Dream Theater's Mike Portnoy, Neal Morse of Spock's Beard, Marillion's Pete Trewavas and Roine Stolt from the Flower Kings once again converge for another trademark outing into the prog-rock stratosphere.
Top Customer Reviews
.... that said, it is a fine album: assured songwriting, melodies with lots of variety; elegant, creative arrangements; rousing performances, excellent musicianship; well recorded: the suite [not a single piece!] mostly flows pretty well from pastoral beauty to vamped-up rock to rustic acoustic to grandiose ballad; intensity shakes hands with gentleness, fluctuating moods; lengthy instrumental sections liberally dispersed. Trewavas' energetic basslines are superb; heavy, powerful; I find Portnoy a trifle too hyper at times on drums, and some lyrics become a trifle preachy, but that's a relatively minor quibble.
My only previous Transatlantic record was debut SMPTe which left me unconvinced; a typical supergroup that flattered to deceive; but nine years later they sound much more `together' as a true band working in harmony, with subtle interplay and sensitivity: this is key to my enjoyment of this record and whether I will still feel as positive about it in a year's time, but I think I will! The Whirlwind is a classy, well-balanced record: the best retro-Prog album I have heard for many years; it knocks spots off most neo-Prog output!
PS - the extras on disc 2 [special edition] are fully realised recordings; OK in themselves but they don't really add any value unless you are a committed Transatlantic fan.
However - I needn't have worried as this is a GROUP affair; indeed Stolt, Trewavas and Portnoy frequently lead things. Reference has been made by one or two reviewers to Portnoys imposing drumming; well, he is an imposing drummer. Personally, I don't think he is that overpowering. Listening to this one appreciates Trewavas's solid bass and assured playing and Stolt's tight guitar runs. Of course Morse's smooth multi-instrumental skills are pretty much a backbone.
The title track is a 12 part 78 minute excursion into a variety of styles reflecting the performers various characters and influences; it's all played to perfection and very much a group effort - it might be my imagination, but I kept picking up The Beatles and Yes - what a mix. Then - it is Marillion, Flower Kings and Spock's Beard all rolled into one - not much Dream Theater!!
I am reviewing the Special Edition 2 disc set and believe it well worth getting.
CD2 starts with 4 originals the most surprising of which, is Trewavas's "Lending a Hand" - a even paced rock song led by Pete's plaintive voice and some really lush instrumentation.
They have fun with the Genesis cover - "The Return of the Giant Hogweed" which builds to a frantic climax.
Another surprise is a cover of Procol Harum's "A Salty Dog" with Mike Portnoy taking the vocal role and dedicating it to his father.
It ends with a rousing "Soul Sacrifice" - a real belter.
I am very glad Transatlantic have returned - they made it all worthwhile; all four playing together as one but each making their mark. A first class rock album from a first class outfit. My fears are allayed and - well; Neal's done good!!
If I have any complaints about this album it's the fact that Mike Portney's drums are often very prominent in the mix. MP is a great drummer but there are places here where it feels like there's too much of him (part 2, "The Wind Blew them All Away", is probably the worst example of this).
There's also a limited 2CD set available as well, with 4 shorter tracks and 4 cover versions, of which I have only heard their take on the Genesis track "Return of the Giant Hogweed", and an even more limited box set sort of thing with a 'making of' DVD.
Now it's fingers crossed for another European tour!!
The album has great moments and some mediocre moments. The playing as always is tremendous with Stolt delivering some of his best playing. The production is tight and the piece progresses with a natural flow. The lyrics are sometimes trite, but that's nothing unusual in prog land. Give it a go, you won't be disappointed.
And if the religion bit is worrying you, fear not. Passing the local Christian book/music shop, I stuck my head around the door and asked if they had anything by Transatlantic, he hadn't heard of them, we're 'safe'!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you are a fan of prog rock and are in any doubt, just buy it. It's absolutely sublime. Musicianship and songwriting of the highest quality. I play it again and again.Published 9 months ago by Andy McNod
Very nice, fairly 'classic' or retro prog rock. It's quite light (compared to some more 'metal' prog) but musical and lyrical. Read morePublished 24 months ago by K. Fearnley
"Use my body like a car, taking me both near and far," so sang George Harrison on Living in the Material World. Read morePublished on 30 Mar. 2014 by Mrs. P. BROOKSBANK
take your time, relax and enjoy some fine music in true prog tradition delivered in up to date style by a band that know and love what they are doing. Read morePublished on 10 Mar. 2014 by D. Weeks