This is one of the trickier reviews I have had to do. I am reviewing two versions of the same album. As you probably know, Transatlantic recorded “The Absolute Universe” as a single album and then decided hey let’s make it a double BUT let’s change parts of it so that the releases are different from each other.
So we have ” The Absolute Universe: The Breath Of Life (Abridged Version)” and “The Absolute Universe: The Breath Of Life (Abridged Version).” Also there’s yet another version called “The Absolute Universe – The Ultimate Edition” which collects both and adds more to it. Look, this is definitely a cash grab. I have no issues with that but let’s be honest. There is no reason that they couldn’t have made one 3 disc set with both versions.
Sadly you need to buy the “Ultimate Edition” which has vinyl and blu ray and all sorts of shit and yes it’s expensive as hell. But I digress. What about the two versions? How different are they? They are both very similar with many songs having different lyrics or melodies or slight additions to them. Honestly, it’s hard to remember which is which when you keep listening to them together. They blend.
And to be clear, “The Absolute Universe” is a great album at either length. Even listening to “The Breathe of Life,” I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything really. You just get to the destination a little faster. “The Breathe of Life” has 14 tracks and is 65 minutes long while “Forevermore” has 18 tracks and is 91 minutes long. If I am going to pick between them, I’d take “Forevermore” because you get more music. And it doesn’t have filler either.
You’d assume that maybe stretching an album out after the fact might cause bloating but it’s not the case. This is one of their better albums and honestly, it might be my favorite Transatlantic album. So it’s a shame that it’s a damn cash grab too! But honestly, fans should buy whatever they can afford. Is it worth having both, I think so. But I love alternate versions of all kinds. If you can only get one, get the longer one and you are good to go.
The songs segue into each other, themes return, and the flow is perfect. In short this is classic Transatlantic. If you love the band, you will love the album. If only there was an absolute version of “The Absolute Universe” that didn’t break the bank!
Label: InsideOut Music
Release Date: February 5, 2021