Transatlantic ¦ The Absolute Universe: The Breath Of Life (Abridged Version)

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The Absolute Universe
A silver airship flying through planets and space rocks
Cover of the Extended Version, Forevermore
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 5, 2021
GenreProgressive rock[1][2][3][4]
Length64:15 (abridged version)
90:14 (extended version)
LabelInside Out
Transatlantic chronology
The Absolute Universe
Singles from The Absolute Universe
  1. "Overture/Reaching for the Sky"
    Released: November 20, 2020[6]
  2. "The World We Used to Know"
    Released: December 11, 2020[7]
  3. "Looking for the Light"
    Released: January 15, 2021[8]

The Absolute Universe is the fifth studio album of the progressive rock supergroup Transatlantic, released on February 5, 2021, by Inside Out.[9]

Announced on November 11, 2020, The Absolute Universe is a concept album about "the world's struggles in 2020"[10] and it is Transatlantic's first new studio album since 2014's Kaleidoscope. The album is released in three different formats: a 64-minute abridged version entitled The Breath of Life, a 90-minute extended version entitled Forevermore and a 96-minute deluxe edition that combines parts of both the abridged and extended versions. With regards to the different albums drummer Mike Portnoy said:[9]

[...] the single CD is not merely an edited version of the double CD. They each contain alternate versions and even in some cases, new recordings. We wrote fresh lyrics and have different people singing on the single CD version tracks as compared to those on the double CD.

The band released three videos in support of the album, "Overture/Reaching for the Sky" on November 20, 2020,[6] "The World We Used to Know" on December 11, 2020,[7] and "Looking for the Light" on January 15, 2021.[8]

Background and production

Due to tours, vacations and ultimately COVID-19, the album's production suffered several delays.[3] The 90-minute version (Forevermore) was originally written in September 2019 when the four members gathered in Sweden.[11][3][12] Drummer Mike Portnoy recorded his parts in Nashville in November and keyboardist and vocalist Neal Morse recorded his parts in December and January.[12]

Soon after a tour in Australia, Morse took some time off in New Zealand and started writing his solo album Sola Gratia, which diverted him completely from the Transatlantic album.[12] In March 2020, he listened to the album again and contemplated shortening it so it could be released in a single disc - which some members already supported by the time of the album's writing, according to him. He created a shorter version of the album himself and sent it to the other members via an e-mail with a subject line that read "Am I crazy?"[12]

Bassist Pete Trewavas agreed with Morse, but Portnoy and vocalist/guitarist Roine Stolt preferred the original version.[13] The disagreement caused further delays.[3] In May,[12] Portnoy ultimately came with the suggestion of releasing two different versions, which was endorsed by all members and the label.[3][12][13]

Morse was then tasked with creating the shorter version, titled The Breath of Life, while Stolt took care of the end result of the longer version, Forevermore.[3][12] Morse would later say The Absolute Universe is the album that involved "the longest process" and "the most work" he's ever done in his career.[12]

The album's structure is similar to their third album The Whirlwind, in that all songs combined form one single listening experience.[3]

Lyrical themes

Neal Morse started writing lyrics for the album in March 2019, and he felt the band would possibly want to do a follow-up to The Whirlwind. When they gathered in studio, however, they rejected the idea, but some of the lyrics remained, resulting in some references to Whirlwind.[12]

In December 2019/January 2020, Morse wrote a second round of lyrics inspired by his twenties and by The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged and The Virtue of Selfishness by Russian-American author Ayn Rand, which he called "kind of the mother of Libertarianism".[12] He commented that he wrote lyrics about "how I went down this road of selfishness basically, and then how the Lord brought me out of it and how much better it is to not be in that place."[12]

The third round of writing came in June–July 2020 and was inspired by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States (particularly Nashville).[12]

Commenting on the lyrics written by bassist and vocalist Pete Trewavas back in 2019, Stolt felt they somehow anticipated the COVID-19 situation.[12] Trewavas himself described the idea behind the album as follows:[11]

The idea behind The Absolute Universe started out as a broad and encompassing look at the human condition. Someone moving though their life, trying to find out who they are, where they fit in etc. This worked well as a concept to hang all the music we had on. It also allowed us to move through all the different subject matter we had lyrically. [...] You find a lot out about people in adverse conditions. Who your friends are for example, how people cope under duress and dealing with stress. All these things get reflected on in different ways on both versions of the album.

He felt The Breath of Life version, captained by Morse, focused more on the consequences of the COVID-19 restrictions on people's lives.[11]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Classic Rock[10]
Metal Hammer (Germany)6/7[4]
Metal Hammer (Portugal)4.5÷5[1]
Rock Hard8.5÷10[16]
Sonic Perspectives9.3÷10[3]

The Absolute Universe was well received by critics.

Chris Roberts from Classic Rock said the band takes the listener "on a journey through the tropes of modern, technically flawless AOR-tinted prog, the playing proficient, the soul of it elusive." On the other hand, he remarked that "the casual listener might wish the band would more frequently twist instead of stick."[10]

Scott Medina from Sonic Perspectives said the album matches the quality of The Whirlwind and while he admitted those who prefer epic songs could feel "less enthusiastic", he said "there's no denying that this sounds just like what most people imagine when they think 'Transatlantic'. About the different versions, he commented that Forevermore "has more of Stolt" and "carries a bit more shadow and mystery", while The Breath of Life feels "a little more direct and accessible" and has been injected with "a little more light and love" by Morse. He praised all musicians' performances.[3]

Writing for the Portuguese edition of Metal Hammer, and based on the Forevermore version, João Braga thought the album title is representative of its style and innovation and remarked that the band has released an album that is long due to the number of tracks rather than to their size. He also thought the first part is more "positive" and "inspiring" in terms of instrumentation, while the second one is filled with "ballads or, at least, ambient and spiritual tracks backed by strong progressive rock."[1]

In the German edition of the magazine, Frank Thießies recommended the abridged version "for casual listeners to enjoy the great harmony-bristling chants, Hammond and Moog fountains as well as The Beatles-colored to Pink Floyd-colored Melodic Prog" and the extended version to those who "can't get enough of Morse's melody bliss anyway and can do with a few more progressive twists and bonus minutes per song".[4]

Rock Hard' Michael Rensen said the album "is not just a fanatic, but an exciting rollercoaster ride lasting several hours through the Classic Prog Wonderland". He thought that the band had better moments in the past and that they work better when Morse is the vocalist, but still believed Transatlantic delivered "the finest genre fare despite all the compositional routine".[16]

On AllMusic, Thom Jurek said The Absolute Universe (Forevermore version) "showcases Transatlantic's consummate composing, production, and arrangement skills in near-perfect balance with emotional intelligence, and keen psychological and spiritual insight. They navigate these songs with compassionate empathy, openness, and a consummate sense of musical possibility. You really can't ask for more from popular art."[14]

Writing for Prog magazine, Grant Moon said the two versions offer "if not the best of both worlds, certainly the most of them", but questioned if an "objective producer" could have helped them "see the wood for the trees, make choices, and fashion the one great album currently residing inside two very good ones".[5]

Track listing

All tracks written and arranged by Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, Roine Stolt and Pete Trewavas

Forevermore (extended version)

Disc 1
2."Heart Like a Whirlwind"5:11
3."Higher Than the Morning"5:30
4."The Darkness in the Light"5:43
5."Swing High, Swing Low"3:48
7."Rainbow Sky"3:19
8."Looking for the Light"4:00
9."The World We Used to Know"9:22
Total length:47:12[17]
Disc 2
1."The Sun Comes Up Today"5:39
2."Love Made a Way (Prelude)"1:26
3."Owl Howl"7:06
6."Lonesome Rebel"2:54
7."Looking for the Light (Reprise)"5:13
8."The Greatest Story Never Ends"4:18
9."Love Made a Way"8:03
Total length:43:02[17]

The Breath of Life (abridged version)

2."Reaching for the Sky"5:41
3."Higher Than the Morning"4:32
4."The Darkness in the Light"5:43
5."Take Now My Soul"3:31
6."Looking for the Light"4:05
7."Love Made a Way (Prelude)"2:13
8."Owl Howl"5:27
11."Can You Feel It"3:17
12."Looking for the Light (Reprise)"4:57
13."The Greatest Story Never Ends"2:58
14."Love Made a Way"9:16
Total length:64:15[18]


5.1 mix (ultimate version)
2."Reaching for the Sky"5:40
3."Higher Than the Morning"5:29
4."The Darkness in the Light"5:42
5."Take Now My Soul"3:31
7."Rainbow Sky"3:19
8."Looking for the Light"3:59
9."The World We Used to Know"9:21
10."The Sun Comes Up Today"5:38
11."Love Made a Way (Prelude)"1:25
12."Owl Howl"7:05
15."Lonesome Rebel"2:53
16."Can You Feel It"3:17
17."Looking for the Light (Reprise)"5:12
18."The Greatest Story Never Ends"5:58
19."Love Made a Way"8:02
Total length:96:30[19]


  • Neal Morse – vocals, piano, Hammond organ, minimoog, mellotrón, acoustic guitars & churango
  • Roine Stolt – vocals, electric & acoustic 6 & 12 strings guitars, ukelele, keyboards & percussion
  • Pete Trewavas – vocals, bass
  • Mike Portnoy – vocals, drums & percussion

Additional musicians

  • Gideon Klein – cello, viola & string bass
  • Josee Weigand – violin & viola

  • Thomas Ewerhard – artwork[2]
  • Pavel Zhovba – artwork (airship only)[2]
  • Rich Mouser – mixing[3]


Chart performance for The Absolute Universe
Chart (2021)Peak
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[20]7
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[21]40
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[22]29
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[23]4
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[24]
French Albums (SNEP)[25]83
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[26]3
Portuguese Albums (AFP)[27]30
Scottish Albums (OCC)[28]
Scottish Albums (OCC)[29]
The Breath of Life
Scottish Albums (OCC)[30]
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[31]
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[32]
The Breath of Life (vinyl albums)
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[33]
The Ultimate Edition (vinyl albums)
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[34]32
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[35]3
UK Albums (OCC)[36]


  1. ^ a b c Braga, João (February 5, 2021). "Transatlantic "The Absolute Universe – Forevermore"". Metal Hammer (Portugal) (in Portuguese). Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Höpfer, Manuel (February 7, 2021). "Transatlantic neues Album "The Absolute Universe" veröffentlicht". (in German). Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Medina, Scott (January 12, 2021). "Transatlantic – The Absolute Universe (Album Review)". Sonic Perspectives. Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Thießies, Frank (February 5, 2021). "Kritik zu Transatlantic THE ABSOLUTE UNIVERSE". Metal Hammer (Germany) (in German). Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c Moon, Grant (February 5, 2021). "Transatlantic – The Absolute Universe review". Prog. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  6. ^ a b "Transatlantic launch video for "Overture / Reaching For The Sky"". Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  7. ^ a b Divita, Joe (December 11, 2020). "Prog Supergroup Transatlantic (Portnoy, Morse) Debut Epic Song". Loudwire. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  8. ^ a b "Transatlantic launch video for 'Looking For The Light'". Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  9. ^ a b "Transatlantic Announce 'The Absolute Universe'". November 11, 2020. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c Roberts, Chris (February 5, 2021). "Transatlantic's The Absolute Universe: not one technically flawless concept album, but two". Classic Rock. Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  11. ^ a b c Volohov, Dan (February 7, 2021). "Interview: Pete Trewavas (Transatlantic/Marillion)". Louder Than War. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Medina, Scott (January 12, 2021). "NEAL MORSE and ROINE STOLT Talk TRANSATLANTIC's 'The Absolute Universe' Record: 'This Is Us Attempting to Take an Album Where No Band Has Gone Before'". Sonic Perspectives. Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  13. ^ a b Beckner, Justin (February 8, 2021). "Transatlantic Guitarist Speaks on What It's Like Working With Mike Portnoy & Neal Morse, Names 5 Essential Prog Albums You Should Listen To". Ultimate Guitar. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  14. ^ a b Jurek, Thom. "The Absolute Universe: Forevermore – Transatlantic". AllMusic. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  15. ^ Yak, Prog (February 5, 2021). "ProgCharts Album Review: Transatlantic - The Absolute Universe". Retrieved February 5, 2021.
  16. ^ a b Rensen, Michael. "TRANSATLANTIC: The Absolute Universe: The Ultimate Edition". Rock Hard (in German). Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  17. ^ a b "The Absolute Universe: Forevermore (Extended Version)". Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  18. ^ "The Absolute Universe: The Breath of Life (Abridged Vestion)". Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  19. ^ "The Absolute Universe: 5.1 Mix (The Ultimate Version)". Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  20. ^ " – Transatlantic – The Absolute Universe - The Ultimate Edition" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  21. ^ " – Transatlantic – The Absolute Universe - The Ultimate Edition" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  22. ^ " – Transatlantic – The Absolute Universe - The Ultimate Edition" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  23. ^ " – Transatlantic – The Absolute Universe - The Ultimate Edition" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
  24. ^ "Transatlantic: The Absolute Universe - Forevermore" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved February 14, 2021.
  25. ^ "Top Albums (Week 6, 2021)". Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  26. ^ " – Transatlantic – The Absolute Universe - The Ultimate Edition" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  27. ^ " – Transatlantic – The Absolute Universe - The Breath of Life". Hung Medien. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  28. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
  29. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
  30. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
  31. ^ "Listas semanales: 5.2.2021 - 11.2.2021". Promusicae. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  32. ^ "Listas semanales: 5.2.2021 - 11.2.2021". Promusicae. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  33. ^ "Listas semanales: 5.2.2021 - 11.2.2021". Promusicae. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  34. ^ " – Transatlantic – The Absolute Universe - The Breath of Life". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
  35. ^ " – Transatlantic – The Absolute Universe - The Breath of Life". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 14, 2021.
  36. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 13, 2021.


Veröffentlichungen von Transatlantic die im OTRS erhältlich sind/waren:

The Absolute Universe: Forevermore (Extended Version) ¦ The Absolute Universe: The Breath Of Life (Abridged Version) ¦ SMPTe ¦ Bridge Across Forever ¦ The Whirlwind

Transatlantic auf Wikipedia (oder andere Quellen):


Transatlantic in Stuttgart 2010
(von links: Stolt, Gildenlöw, Trewavas, Morse, Portnoy)
Allgemeine Informationen
Genre(s)Progressive Rock, Retro-Prog
Neal Morse
Gesang, Gitarre
Roine Stolt
Mike Portnoy
Bass, Gesang
Pete Trewavas
Erklärung der Daten
 DE5024.04.2000(2 Wo.)
Bridge Across Forever
 DE5629.10.2001(2 Wo.)
The Whirlwind
 DE4506.11.2009(1 Wo.)
Whirlwind Tour 2010
 DE5219.11.2010(1 Wo.)
 DE607.02.2014(3 Wo.)
 AT5207.02.2014(1 Wo.)
 CH1302.02.2014(1 Wo.)
 UK5208.02.2014(1 Wo.)
 DE4507.11.2014(1 Wo.)
The Absolute Universe
 DE312.02.2021(4 Wo.)
 AT719.02.2021(1 Wo.)
 CH314.02.2021(2 Wo.)
 UK5618.02.2021(1 Wo.)
The Absolute Universe
 UK1028.03.2021(1 Wo.)

Transatlantic ist eine 1999 gegründete Supergroup aus vier Musikern der Progressive-Rock-Szene.


Als Gründer der Band gelten Neal Morse (damals Spock’s Beard) und Mike Portnoy (damals Dream Theater), die sich 1999 mit dem Bassisten Pete Trewavas (Marillion) zusammenfanden. Als Gitarrist war ursprünglich Jim Matheos (Fates Warning) vorgesehen, der aber wegen terminlicher Schwierigkeiten nicht teilnehmen konnte. Stattdessen wurde Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings) Mitglied.

Die Musik der Band orientiert sich deutlich an großen Vorbildern aus dem Progressive Rock der 1970er Jahre wie Yes, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Jethro Tull und Genesis. Viele Melodien stammen aus Morses Feder, aber auch Portnoy, Trewavas und vor allem Stolt trugen einiges zum Songwriting bei. Zwischen 2000 und 2002 veröffentlichte die Band die beiden Studioalben SMPTe und Bridge Across Forever. Zu jedem der Alben wurde eine erfolgreiche Tournee durchgeführt. Als Gastmusiker engagierte man für die zweite dieser Touren Daniel Gildenlöw (Keyboards, Gitarre, Hintergrundgesang).

Im Jahr 2002 trennten sich die Bandmitglieder vorerst, nachdem Morse bekannt gegeben hatte, sich nun christlicher Musik widmen zu wollen. Seine ehemaligen Kollegen engagierten sich seitdem wieder stärker in ihren Stammbands. Schlagzeuger Mike Portnoy hat jedoch auch an fünf Soloalben Morses mitgearbeitet, und auch Morse und Stolt arbeiten weiterhin an gemeinsamen Projekten, so zuletzt in Form von Gastauftritten bei ihren jeweiligen Soloalben.

Im Oktober 2009 erschien nach fast 7-jähriger Pause das Konzeptalbum The Whirlwind. Auf der Tournee wurden Transatlantic wieder von Daniel Gildenlöw (Pain of Salvation) musikalisch unterstützt[2].

2014 erschien das vierte Studioalbum Kaleidoscope, auf dessen Erscheinen eine Welttour folgte, wobei diesmal der amerikanische Musiker Ted Leonard (Enchant, Spock's Beard) als Tour-Unterstützung fungierte. Das Konzert im Kölner E-Werk wurde aufgezeichnet und im Herbst 2014 unter dem Titel KaLIVEoscope veröffentlicht, wobei in einer der verfügbaren Versionen auch Material aus dem Konzert in Tilburg enthalten ist.

Neben den fünf Studio-Alben existieren sieben Livealben, ein Making-of des zweiten Studioalbums mit dem Titel Building the Bridge, eine Kompilation mit Demo-Fassungen sowie eine Remix-Version des Debüts.



  • 2000: SMPTe (auch als Limited Edition)
  • 2001: Bridge Across Forever (auch als Limited Edition)
  • 2009: The Whirlwind (auch als Special Edition und Deluxe Edition)
  • 2014: Kaleidoscope (auch als Special Edition)
  • 2021: The Absolute Universe, in zwei Versionen veröffentlicht:
    • Forevermore (extended, 2CD)
    • The Breath of Life (abridged, 1CD)


  • 2001: Live in America (auch auf VHS)
  • 2003: Live in Europe (auch als DVD)
  • 2006: Building the Bridge – Live in America (DVD)
  • 2010: The Official Bootleg DVD
  • 2010: Whirld Tour 2010: Live at Shepherd’s Bush London (auch auf DVD)
  • 2011: More Never Is Enough (CD+DVD)
  • 2014: KaLIVEoscope (DVD+Blu-ray)


  • 2002: Building the Bridge. The Making of Bridge Across Forever (Dokumentation)
  • 2003: The Transatlantic Demos (veröffentlicht unter dem Namen Neal Morse, frühe Demofassungen einiger Transatlantic-Titel)
  • 2003: SMPTe – The Roine Stolt Mixes (das Original wurde von Rick Mouser gemischt, diese Version von Roine Stolt)


  1. a b Chartquellen: Chartverfolgung Deutschland (Memento des Originals vom 12. Dezember 2013 im Internet Archive)  Info: Der Archivlink wurde automatisch eingesetzt und noch nicht geprüft. Bitte prüfe Original- und Archivlink gemäß Anleitung und entferne dann diesen Hinweis.@1@2Vorlage:Webachiv/IABot/ - Österreich - Schweiz - UK-Charts
  2. News auf der offiziellen Band-Homepage



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