Title - ‘Kaleidoscope’ (Radiant Records)
Artist - Transatlantic
Kaleidoscope is the fourth studio album by progressive rock band Transatlantic - and boy oh boy, is it one incredible work of musical art!
Indeed, for those not in the know, Transatlantic is a progressive rock "supergroup" consisting of Roine Stolt of The Flower Kings, Pete Trewavas of Marillion and Edison's Children, Mike Portnoy formerly of Dream Theater and Neal Morse formerly of Spock's Beard.
They actually formed back in 1999 as a side project to their full-time bands until 2002. Having gone quiet for seven (7) years thereafter they chose to reunite in 2009 and have been going strong ever since.
The first track, which comes in at an astonishing 25:11 minutes isn’t even the longest, so prepare accordingly! Called ‘Into The Blue,’ it contains five (5) different mid-sections within it and my, do they combine just perfectly to create one incredible ensemble piece. First up is ‘Overture (Instrumental),’ a cut that starts quietly enough but minutes later and we’re most certainly off to the musical races. A rock opera that scales some quite incredible heights, next up is ‘The Dreamer And The Healer.’ The first with lyrics, the rock guitars and electric organs backing them at every turn, then comes the storytelling of ‘A New Beginning.’ That’s followed by the instrumental bridge of ‘Written In Your Heart,’ with the final chapter being ‘The Dreamer And The Healer (Reprise).’
Next we are brought ‘Shine,’ a seven minute long lethargic track that, basically, slows the whole album down to a crawl. A sleeper that just invites us to find that inner light within us no matter what and, well, shine, ‘Black As The Sky’ (6:43) is definitely a cut that puts the fast train back on the rails. Straight from the off and the lyrics mixed with the prog rock organ and guitar work is fairly bursting out of the speakers. This is truly where Transatlantic musically speak to us, trust me.
Another mellow track is next in the form of ‘Beyond The Sun,’ but it’s definitely got better legs on it than ‘Shine,’ thankfully. The whole album then comes to a close with the over-thirty-minutes-long title track, ‘Kaleidoscope.’ This time broken up into seven (7) different mid-sections, we again begin with ‘Overture (Instrumental),’ which is backed by ‘Ride The Lightning.’ Again the first musical chapter containing lyrics, it’s yet another powerhaus of a track.
That’s backed by ‘Black Gold,’ which slows the roll right down to a very mellow groove, before ‘Walking The Road’ begins to crank it up and then ‘Desolation Days’ brings it right back down. It’s here within these few tracks that the storytelling side of the opera is given life. As opposed to the all out rock riff sections; so to speak. Bringing this truly impressive work of musical art to a close is then the perky climbing tones of ‘Lemon Looking Glass (Instrumental),’ and finally ‘Ride The Lightning (Reprise).’
And for those wanting more bang for their prog buck, Kaleidoscope is available on four (4) different formats - including a limited edition Deluxe Artbook with 2CDs, DVD and Bonus 5.1 Mix DVD-Video in an LP-sized book with loads of pictures, liner notes and a lenticular card cover.
There will also be 2CD & DVD Mediabook, Standard 2CD Jewel case and a 3LP & 2CD in slipcase.
Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk