Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by George Co-Stanza, Sep 25, 2019.
Looks like a new album by the prog rock supergroup is coming in 2020. Start your engines.
Oh yeah, this is what I have been waiting since 2014! Our heroes are now in Sweden, hiding in some studio, but a teaser photo was tweeted yesterday. And according to Mike's site, it is really happening!
Let's hope that the album will be long, a double at least, and the songs will be long and a long tour next year!
We could start guessing which prog classics will be covered this time around, any suggestions?
We all need some light!
This news put a big smile on my face. Classic prog from a classic prog supergroup. Surely the guys won't let us down!!
OK, here's my list for cover songs this time:
- Frank Zappa: Uncle Remus
- Van Der Graaf Generator: Killer
- ELP: Tarkus
- Jethro Tull: Thick As A Brick (the short version)
- King Crimson: Epitaph
- Led Zeppelin: No Quarter (just imagine Roine doing that guitar solo, wow!)
The thing I dislike the most in Neal Morse/Mike Portnoy projects is the predictability. Always a disc with new material and always a disc with covers, always amateurish crappy artwork, always studio album - live album pattern, Morsefests etc. That takes a whole lot of joy from their projects.
Yes, the cycle is quite predictable. One photo of four guys in a studio means that there is a high probability that next year we will get one cd full of classic style prog with long songs, another cd full of covers, there will be a tour of 15-30 shows covering at least Europe and US, a performance in Morsefest in late summer, and a multi-cd-dvd live release maybe in 2021. The only thing that I dislike here is that long pause between these cycles, this time it took 6 years.
Concerning the 3 groups with Morse and Portnoy, I can pass Flying Colors, NMB is a must, and Transatlantic is the best you can get.
I would’ve rather gotten a new NMB record since they’ve been on fire, and the last TA album was merely good. I think the timing of this announcement is odd as well. The new Flying Colors is out in eight days, and this announcement has kind of sucked away any momentum that release had.
Regarding the predictability, I hope they do some different stuff this time with the song structures instead of feeling the need to do another “typical” TA album.
bands all seem to get into cycles. The album / tour / live album / holiday is a regular, with Iron Maiden slipping in the "vintage tour" along the way too. With Transatlantic's schedules making it difficult to maintain any momentum, it's a good way of keeping the band's name alive.
Huge Neal fan, I love the guy, but I agree with the predictability and idea recycling (same album-tour cycles, same album structures, same song structures, etc). Being a huge fan this bothers me none, I wish more bands could follow this cycle and people wouldn't go hungry with different live versions of albums, orchestral arrangements and different sound productions (like the Morsefest releases), no lack of relevant unheard material. Hell, they try to cover the most amount of albums on their shows they sometimes recur to (mostly very interesting) medleys of albums. Honestly, the only thing his discographies need is a surround mix for every album (Kaleidoscope had a tasty surround mix which I love).
I'm glad Transatlantic is back together, but my priority is seeing them live before they release a new album. I think The Whirlwind was such a masterpiece I would rather watch them play the whole thing live which takes a whole chunk of stage time from the show being 80 minutes long. I think at this point I have such fondness for Neal that whatever he releases I will listen, buy and try to experience the whole thing in as many different ways possible (live and demo forms). To be honest I think his studio input hasn't been up to par since Lifeline (not a huge fan of Testimony 2, Momentum or Similitude/Great Adventure) with the exception of The Grand Experiment because the writing and recording process was indeed a different approach. I saw the band live for the first time back in February performing TGA and liked the album even more after that, they're a great live outfit.
Flying Colors is a very fun band to follow, packed with legends and pop sounds it might appeal to non-prog lovers, but what I heard from the last record doesn't really impress me. I am meeting and seeing them performing in Chicago in three weeks, I have high hopes for the live show, not so much for the album but I'm lucky I get to go to one of the few shows this year.
Transatlantic is the most interesting of the bands in my opinion, because you have three guys that are all behind their respective band's sound and lyrics that it's interesting to see this sort of tug-of-war that happens between them over where the sound and songs are directed. Sometimes you have Flower Kings-inspired, symphonic sounds with gentle riffs and guitar work, sometimes you have Dream Theater-ish heavy passages and ensemble work, but mostly you have the Neal Morse-led, epic, often cyclical and recurrent themes throughout a song or an album which makes the band sort of predictable, but the key lies within those changes of directions in the middle of songs, suites or the album itself thanks to the other band members.
Transatlantic is not a band where Neal gets to choose all the direction and sounds, I think that's what makes this band the more interesting pick from his projects. I'm thrilled the band is back in the studio and happy for the fifth album announcement/tease, but I really do hope I get to see them play live and hope that this album can get a tad more unpredictable and approach the writing and recording differently, because for some reason I keep hearing Neal 70%, Flower Kings 20% and 10% wild card. Hopefully this changes this time around, Roine is an excellent songwriter and writes beautiful and unpredictable melodies, perfect ornaments for an ambitious undertaking.
Sorry to ramble on and on you guys, I never spoke about Neal and his side-projects here before so I just let it all blurt out. I'd love to read what other people think, I don't believe this forum is packed with Neal Morse fans.
You're sure right about The Whirlwind being the band's best effort. Amazing from start almost the finish (I would finish the suite on Is It Really Happening? bit without another patos-filled coda from Neal). I love Roine's imput the best. The moment Roine's voice appears on a given track is magical. His "My New World" is absolutely top notch, just like "Spinning" or "Lenny Johnson" - such great tracks. "Kaleidoscope" in my opinion is their weakest album, not so many incredible melodies, not so many hooks. Hope TA#5 will be at least as good as The Whirlwind. Oh and one more thing - please bring back Daniel Gildenlow back on tour again.
I wish Roine would get as much input as Neal.
I thought Kaleidoscope was great, just as good as albums 1 and 3. BAF is the best though.
@raimiz1991inc , very nice post! Keep the Neal chatter coming. I could talk about his music all day.
I am a big fan Roine Stolt and Flower Kings fan, but I haven't been overly crazy about most of his work in the last few years, while Neal is still on top of his game, IMO, so I am a little concerned about Roine bringing great stuff to the table this time. Then again, like you said, his percentage of the writing pie isn't as large as it is in his main projects, so a little bit of Roine greatness could work wonders when mixed with the great stuff that you just know Neal is going to bring.
I would say, though, that only two of the Transatlantic members are the main guys behind their band's sound and whatnot (Neal and Roine), but that is splitting hairs. Even though Portnoy and Trewavas have never been the main songwriter in a band, they both bring important elements to the table.
Neal has so much material in the last 25 years that I get it if one thinks his best stuff was in a different era than the current one, and to be honest, I think my favorite albums of his from all of his projects are spread out pretty well over that entire time period. If I had to list my 10 favorite Neal albums, I'd probably list two Spock's albums (V and Beware of Darkness), the first three Transatlantic albums, three solo albums (One, ?, Testimony 2) and the first two NMB albums, so to me he has not clear cut best era. His consistency is pretty staggering, and even my least favorite albums that he has done (Lifeline, for example) are still quite good.
I will look forward to this. Hopefully a little better than kaleidoscope
Kaleidoscope was sort of a victim of the first three albums. It is a very good record, but to me it pales in comparison to the first three, so it is easy to kind of overlook. I guess, for me, both Neal and Roine have so many great records that I enjoy a lot more that Kaleidoscope just has a tough time making its way into my CD player on any kind of regular basis. And I can honestly say that I didn't wear it out like I did the first three. SMPTe, Bridge Across Forever and The Whirlwind all owned my CD player for long stretches; Kaleidoscope never did.
We'll see what happens.
I don't think I've ever seen them in a theater before other than Nearfest unless they played the Keswick last time with Daniel Gildenlow. That's the only Transatlantic show I've seen that I have no distinct memory of which I suppose makes sense since the last studio album seemed to have the same effect on me.
There's a new Flower Kings album (double cd!!) coming out in November, so we will get a sort of pre-peek at what Roine is up to nowadays. I didn't get too excited about The Sea Within, but now this new album is told to be a sort of return to the good old happy FK sound. I'm in
Just broke out Kaleidoscope for the first time in a while. Better than I remembered! I think the title track is better than "All Of The Above."
I think Neal Morse's last two albums, Similitude Of a Dream and The Great Adventure, are amongst his best work so hopefully he's still got some similarly great material left in the vault for this album!
I am always all-in on a Flower Kings record, but I’d be lying if I said the departure of Tomas Bodin wasn’t a concern. He was a major part of their sound.
Woah. I think All of the Above might be Neal’s greatest single song accomplishment (as a solo or co-writer).
Neal seemingly has an endless amount of creativity, so I never worry about him bringing good stuff to the table.
I love Kaleidoscope (the track), but in the entire world of prog All Of The Above is still my favourite song ever!!!
''Pressed to the wall of the rail station hall
is the Venus de Milo''
This is one of my favorite vocal lines ever! I don't really know what it's supposed to mean, but it sounds so beautiful, I just love it!
Another nugget from the same album:
''But the clown left town long ago
Maybe he'll come back and give us a show''
Bodin and Stolt have had a pretty rocky relationship over the past decade or so, and I think Stolt got tired of waiting around for it to improve while his most marketable property (outside of Transatlantic) rotted on the vine. He's been working like crazy over the past couple years, so he might need money—I seem to recall hearing that he was building a studio. Also, the fact that he's come out so strongly with the "this is 100% The Flower Kings" rhetoric should tell you how well Manifesto of an Alchemist sold, with its equivocating, somewhat confusing artist name.
This posting made me think about how little we, the fans, actually know about the economic reality of our favorite musicians. I have sometimes wondered about Mike Portnoy's motives of juggling 69 groups after he quit Dream Theater. To the outside world he always keeps the image that he does it all for the love of music, and many different styles of it. But what do we know, how much there is plain need for work and sales to pay the bills? I am more than happy to see these guys recording and touring in various combinations, but maybe the motives are not always purely artistic.
The same applies to Roine and Neal, and whoever there is working like hell in many groups. Warren Haynes comes to mind, one of my biggest heroes. I really hope that all these guys make good living for their wonderful music
Maybe I should give "All of the Above" another listen. It's been years. I never took to it cause it always felt stretched out artificially, and the whole "Full Moon Rising" tag seemed really cliched to me. I liked "My New World" way better.
Fantastic news! Would cross a continent to see these guys in concert.
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