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The Whirlwind

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iTunes Review

The Whirlwind updates the grand visions of Yes and Procol Harum with rich melodies, heroic lyric themes and complex arrangement structures. Lead singer/keyboardist Neal Morse turns in some of his most transfixing performances since his Spock’s Beard days, tempering his dramatic vocal gestures with a sense of vulnerability and longing. Also noteworthy is Roine Stolt’s expressive acoustic guitar work and the vigorous, rhythmically challenging drumming of Mike Portnoy. Epochal numbers like “Rose Colored Glasses” and “It is Really Happening” are bound to delight any prog-rock devotee. Equally impressive are more concise, poppier tunes like “Out of the Night” and “Pieces of Heaven.” The otherworldly grandeur of the 12-plus minute closing track “Dancing With Eternal Glory/Whirlwind (Reprise)” is worth the price of admission alone. The Whirlwind’s sheer scope seems demanding at first, but proves surprisingly accessible as it unfolds track by track. If it takes nearly a decade to make albums this satisfying, so be it.

Customer Reviews

Fantastic!

I grew up on Genesis, Yes, Floyd, Kansas, etc. I though that genre was dead until a few years ago when I was introduced to Spock's Beard... which led to Transatlantic, The Flower Kings, etc. What a great ride it's been. I was delighted to hear TA was going to give it another shot and they have not disappointed. A couple of impressions: We expect Mike Portnoy to be brilliant on the drums and he delivers; but I feel this album really highlights Pete Trewavas on bass...his work lays a solid foundation...it feels like the bass is mixed a bit more out front...really great. Of course Neal and Roine are spot on...all are masters of their crafts. Highlight song for me: Rose Colored Glasses, about the passing of Neal's dad. Powerful. Thanks guys for another great album with a positive message!

worth the wait ...

i'm only on my 3rd complete pass through the work (the last pass got the goosebumps going... finally!) ... this is "thinking peoples" music and not for everyone. it is beautifully contemporary with nicely supported roots (anyone besides me hear the Starship Trooper bass riff in Whirlwind?).

To quote Neal ... "There are moments (in this work) that are just breathtaking" ...

i couldn't agree more.

Rebuttal

A previous reviewer, a Mr. Paul Bennethum, about a year ago complained rather sourly about the overt expressions of divinity on this album. As a reply to him I must ask, did you expect the athiest point of view on a record featuring Neal Morse? I don't agree with your assertion that he should keep his references to God to himself, he should express them as he chooses. It is your right to ignore it as much as it Mr. Morse's right to record it.

Sir, do you have the Spock's Beard album "Snow" in your collection? Surely if you do, you are not unaware that it is, in fact, a story of divine redemption. What else is it? Another recorded act of genius featuring Neal Morse.

I uphold a person's right to believe, or not to believe in God. I cannot agree with you however on your assertion that this artist's belief should be kept to himself. The overriding reason this album is so brilliant is because the artist believes in what he is doing, and in what he sings about.

Every album that Neal has done since departing Spock's Beard has from what I observe the point of view regarding divinity that Mr. Morse holds without ever demanding that you, the listener tow the line. None of his work since that time has been an attempt to convert the listener, nor has it even preached to him/her. An effective artist like Neal Morse gets you to see what he sees, even if you disagree at the end of it.

That said, my review of this album is a simple one. It bloody well should have won the Grammy for album of the year 2009. This record is proof that the Grammys are a sales measurement and not an appreciation of music as art.

Biography

Formed: 1999

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment) had a brainstorm that gave birth to the band Transatlantic. He envisioned a band of himself, Neal Morse (Spock's Beard), and Jim Matheos (Fates Warning). As it turned out, Morse was available, but Matheos was not. Morse came up with the idea of recruiting Roine Stolt (Flower Kings) instead, and all that was left was a bassist. Portnoy contacted Marillion's Pete Trewavas and the group was set. They recorded and released their first album,...
Full Bio
The Whirlwind, Transatlantic
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