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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 6 February 2014
Look, it was always going to be an impossible task following the sheer brilliance of The Whirlwind, an album I consider to be in my all time top 10. Maybe if they had tried some different ideas the outcome would have been better. But to go down the well trodden path with material that isn`t up to it just wasn`t going to work. Consequently Kaleidoscope fares very badly in comparison.

There are some very nice parts on the album, but not enough to outweigh the substandard majority so I am left with a feeling of extreme disappointment. Even the Morse ballad, Beyond The Sun, is a dirge. Bridge Across Forever, it ain`t. I found myself playing a game of "Heard this before" or "this sounds like" so many times. It really pains me to say these negative things, as I consider Neal Morse to be one of the best songwriters around.

So are the reviewers giving this album 5 stars really saying this is as good as the Whirlwind? Really? Oh, and one more thing. Please don`t let Pete Trewavas sing again. Ever.
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on 31 January 2014
I agree with other reviewers that this is exactly what we've come to expect from Transatlantic. That said Kaleidoscope is excellent. On the main album there isn't a duff track. The musicianship is first rate. Into The Blue has some classic 70's synth sounds and reminds me of Yes at their peak. The ballad Shine is gorgeous and ends too soon. The title track is an epic 33 minutes long and not a moment is wasted. If you like prog rock you'll love this.
The bonus disk is very good indeed. The covers of And You And I and Conquistador stand out and their workout on King Crimson's Indiscipline shows a band that's willing to take risks.
The vinyl package which is a triple LP set which also includes the both the CD and the bonus CD is good value, especially when you consider that the average price for a double LP these days is around £25 without an included CD. You still can't beat a gatefold LP sleeve and this one comes inside a slipcase with the bonus LP in its own sleeve. I also got a nice 3D postcard of the cover art thrown in too. Recommended.
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on 13 February 2014
I've now had some time with this album. It has all the usual TA ingredients: structured symphonic style epics, soaring melodies, superb singalong moments and top playing from all. This time I note in particular the tasteful synth playing, especially the use of mini moog and Hammond. There are no significant weak moments. I prefer the structure of this album to The Whirlwind. I find TA are best at 20-30 minute pieces with recurring themes and moods.

The influence of Neal Morse is strongest, but I always enjoy Roine Stolt's vocals and Portnoy's busy drums. The latter's familiar fills are there along with some more unusual moments.
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on 31 January 2014
Kaleidoscope is the 4th studio album from Prog super-group Transatlantic.
The first disc contains 5 new tracks while a bonus disc offers covers of other 'prog' and rock classic.
First off the quality of musicianship and production is uniformly excellent (and should be no surprise to anyone familiar with the players).

The album opens with the lengthy "Into the Blue". and closes with the even more lengthy "Kaleidoscope".
In the middle there are three shorter tracks (two of which "Shine" and "Beyond the Sun" are ballads)

Overall, I do like this album but it lacks something. Everyone is playing well within their comfort zone here and the songs are all pretty 'safe'. It would be unkind to describe the album as derivative, but it certainly doesn't plough any new furrows and for the most part lacks edge

The best song on the album is Black is The Sky - which romps along at a fair pace while still delivering enough keyboard, bass, guitar and drum virtuosity to satisfy.
The two ballads are also pretty decent .
It's the longer songs that somehow disappoint.
If for no other reason than they feel long - and Into the Blue seems like more a meander through collection of fragments than a coherent piece with a theme or direction.

All that said, Portnoy, Trewavas, Morse and Stolt are so obviously at ease playing together and such capable musicians in their own rights that even if this album isn't their best it is still well worth a listen.
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on 31 January 2014
The cd starts with a big epic of 25 minutes "Into the Blue" that contains all the trademarks of the band with a big symphonic sound, some nice vocals, a solid rhythm section, plenty of keyboards parts and some nice guitars soloing. The music goes from a fast tempo to some slower passages were Neal Morse brings the music to a high emotional level. Then the Flower Kings influence is still there with many instrumental breaks, a crescendo building and reaching a emotional peak. While this is not credited, Daniel Gildenlow brings his contributions in the vocal department like every musicians, and we are treated with a nice flute passage that gives a different mood to the music.

"Shine" is a ballad that put Neal Morse voice and the guitar of Roine Stolt in the spot. "Black As the Sky" show Stolt singing and some spectacular bass/drums/keyboards parts that is very original for the band usual style. This will probably be one of the best short songs in their career. "Beyond the Sun" is a nice short song with Neal singing and some beautiful Steve Howe kind of guitar parts from Roine. And then comes the 31 minutes epic that gets a heavier sound and many tempo changes going from slower passages and many moods and styles, some Pink Floyd vibe and some keyboards parts that sound like some jazz stuff of Chick Corea. The vocals parts of Neal at times gets the pop rock style of the 80's. This song has some darker moods, but it's always tempered with some light passages. The final section of the song brings again some unusual style of music from the band with some tasty keyboards parts.

This is another winner for Transatlantic, the songwriting, the musicianship and the production are top notch. All this with a special second cd of covers with a beautiful version of "And You And I" and a interesting choice of songs like "Indiscipline" (King Crimson) and "Sylvia" (Focus).
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on 4 March 2015
I'll buck the trend review wise here as I like Kaleidoscope but it's not my favourite Transatlantic album. I like all of their works but The Whirlwind is my favourite so far as it is that rare thing a concept album that delivers from beginning to the end and for over 70 minutes with the hair going up on the back of my neck in places. Most of us can see bits of Genesis, Floyd, Yes and the like in Transatlantic album's but Kaleidoscope seems to nod towards King Crimson in places, certainly the opening track "Into the Blue Does." I should say that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to fans of all things prog. Beyond the Sun is a slow moving ballad in a similar vein to "Bridge over Tomorrow" although not a catchy. Finally the thirty minute title track Kaleidoscope with its leanings to Jazz rock in the middle, oh I do so love Jazz rock. A brilliant opus with some great mood changes. It's a great album but I give it four stars perhaps a bit unfairly, if The Whirlwind had never existed it would be five. I would also add that if like me you don't have time to watch DVD's and only ever want the music this is a good buy as it's very expensive to buy the sets with a DVD disc that I am never going to use. Another thing that I will buck the trend with is my positivity towards the bonus CD. Its great to here some blasts from the past again and playing so accomplished here. If you remember the originals perhaps it will make you dust them off again. If you don't know them seek them out. ELO's "I can't Get it Out of My Head" from the Eldorado album, perhaps their finest and just before they really hit it big, much underrated. I find the bonus CD's just that a bonus and a lucky dip of memories. Enjoy both discs, they are both great.
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on 22 February 2014
This is a superb album. I deliberately had a few listens before reviewing it- as on hearing things a few times you get a more balanced view. When you listen to any music for the first time the only bearing you have is to relate it to things you've heard before. With this latest offering right from the off with the first track, 'Into the Blue', there is a real urgency and a sense that these guys have got something to say. They are certainly not just going through the motions as there is real inspiration that comes from the ensemble of 4 musicians at the top of their game.
'The Whirlwind' (their last album) was a hard act to follow but I feel they have succeeded and also this new album has a totally different feel to it. Obviously there are familiar Transatlantic trademarks, but that's the same with any band, and I feel there is some true originality and a wealth of fresh ideas here.
Moving on -'Black as the sky' and the mammoth title track 'Kaleidoscope' are great tracks (though the latter does contain some self indulgent "prog" moments, but why not when you do it this well and you don't take yourself too seriously-good on you!). If I am brutally honest the tracks 'Shine' and 'Beyond the Sun' are good, but not brilliant and Transatlantic would not have built their reputation on songs like these.
Anyway I feel that Kaleidoscope fulfils the anticipation placed on it and contains the magic sprinkles of musical fairy dust coming from musicians who really know what they are doing- well done!
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on 14 March 2014
A completely fantastic album by some of Prog's most accomplished musicians.
matched with a superb hardback book full of inspiring artwork

The disc of covers includes some of the best cover versions I've heard
I'd recommend this album to anyone who thought Prog was dead or any music fan who ever thought about dipping their toe into the ocean of Prog music
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on 14 February 2014
If you have the other Transatlantic albums then you'll know what to expect - chock full of superb playing, melodic themes, intricate prog sections and multi-part epics. While not really breaking new ground, this is top quality music from a top quality band. Some great cover versions on the bonus disk too. Love it!
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on 2 March 2014
I have loved every Transatlantic album, and for me The Whirlwind was an almost perfect concept album. Somehow, they've managed to further improve, and for me this album (even though released in January) will probably be this years best as it is always extremely difficult to beat near perfection. I say 'near' perfection because Pete Trewavas should try to stay away from the mic because if he had have done throughout the song 'Kaleidoscope' it would probably be my favourite prog song of all time. I have their 2010 DVD release 'The Whirld Tour' and Trewavas doesn't do too badly but it really doesn't sound as good on this album. However, for me it's a definite 5 star album, and anyone looking at getting into Prog should definitely start here. That is of course, after listening to Porcupine Tree, Dream Theater and Steven Wilson.
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