Here we have the second studio work from this superband (as we called it in the good old times) formed by the famous Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings), Neal Morse (Spock´s Beard), Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater) and Pete Trewavas (Marillion), being his parallel project from their "regular" bands. At this point this introduction can sound obvious, but anyway necessary.
The first Transatlantic work was long awaited for prog community and the critics were extreme. Best record of the year because of its high quality based on the classic-prog-rock feel or the opposite, disappointing because the lack of new ideas and originality. Probably both critics are right.
With "Bridge Across Forever" we find the same formula with the same virtues and lacks. The cover art shows again that postmodern Zeppelin proving that the boys are driving the same airship.
Nobody can qualify the band as low respectably because they always say that Transatlantic wanted to do classic progressive music releasing all the influences from the old main classical bands.
In a interview for progVisions done by Richard Zywotkiewicz to Pete Trewavas, Pete qualifies the Transatlantic music as "retro". This is the best definition we can chose being applicable to other different bands too. If we review the Transatlantic music included on the progressive group, the rating would be poor due to its low innovation, but if we review the music into the "retro-progressive" group the rating is quite good because they show all the basics of the classic 70's sympho-prog rock with the highest skill and quality. The chemistry between these four musicians is so high that when they met for a a few days, they create even better music than with their own individual bands.
The new CD has four tracks. Two long tracks of about 26 minutes long "Duel With The Devil" and "Stranger in Your Soul", on the same vein that "All of the Above" from the first CD where the band develops his own sound and at the same time shows all the influences they have. The instrumentals are quite stunning, proving the technical skills of each member. The vocals are amazing giving the perfect balance between the classical sympho and the freshness of the present day production. Furthermore the excessive Spock's Beard influence of the first CD is now clearly decreased.
Between these two master pieces there are "Bridge Across Forever", a typical but beautiful ballad which is not well connected to the rest of the tracks and being more adequate for a Neal Morse solo work, and "Suite Charlotte Pike" a funny 14 minutes track with a lot of Beatles feel and catchy bits with all the members singing and pasting all these bits for a final unsorted but interesting result.
There is a limited edition of this CD with a very attractive cover design and a bonus CD with demos, cover versions and multimedia section. Special mention for the cover of the mythical Pink Floyd's "Shine on you Crazy Diamond". If the somewhat experimental "Suite Charlotte Pike" would be included on the bonus CD, the final result would be better.
The final conclusion is that we have again a very good record with a high commercial potential, with long tracks and absolutely stunning quality from the band that helps to cover the weak points.
I think that this CD will please the people at the same level of the first one, but my rating would be a little bit lower.