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Liquid Tension Experiment - Liquid Tension Experiment CD (album) cover


Liquid Tension Experiment


Progressive Metal

3.81 | 402 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars This album and its sequel were my prog gateways.

I was just a lowly classic rock fan mucking about, listening for some high quality guitar work. Well, I found it here, and from there I rapidly watched myself become even more nerdy. I'm sure plenty of you can relate with that feeling.

Anyways, the instrumentation on this album is brilliant. Being (accidentally, if I remember right) mostly composed of Dream Theater, this supergroup--more like a tangent for Dream Theater, really--is entirely focused on powerful playing. John Petrucci, the man who first caught my ear, saved some of his best shreds and most interesting melodic bits for Liquid Tension Experiment. Jordan Rudess keeps up and more on the keyboards, hurling out some of rock's most prodigious synth noodling to date. The venerable Tony Levin, who is perhaps the easiest man in prog (seeing as how he's on about every other project, har har), flings his traditional Chapman mastery all over the place, with the added bonus of some sections on a standard five string bass. Mike Portnoy holds them all together, and occasionally tops them all with wild fills.

Clearly, Liquid Tension Experiment is a musician's band, playing really tricky stuff like it's not a problem at all.

The music does suffer from this, though. There are a lot, and I mean a whole heck of a lot, of shredding solos throughout. While this is a nice project for the members to blow of some steam, too much noodling, no matter the style of music, gets old after a while. And just when things are starting to go kind of stale, the thirty minute freeform jam noodle fest kicks in. In fact, if the band had just left it off, we would have a solid LP-length album that might jump up a couple of stars in my book.

The highlight tracks are the blistering opener (Paradigm Shift), the melodic rocker (Kindred Spirits), the progressive rock/metal hybrid (Freedom of Speech), and the blistering pseudo-closer (Universal Mind). These four songs still stand as some of my favorite instrumental tracks ever. Little aimless tracks like Osmosis, The Stretch, and Chris and Kevin's Excellent Adventure are fun for a while, but age pretty quickly. State of Grace is a pretty song, but nothing overall remarkable.

So, if high-flying and fantastic musical ability really interest you, this release and its sibling LTE 2 are absolutely indispensable. Any fan of Dream Theater or Symphony X or similar bands will almost undoubtedly enjoy some, if not most, of this album. If noodling or lack of structure bother you, you might have problems with Liquid Tension Experiment. You do need to give this a chance, though.

LiquidEternity | 3/5 |


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