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Liquid Tension Experiment - Liquid Trio Experiment: Spontaneous Combustion CD (album) cover


Liquid Tension Experiment


Progressive Metal

2.09 | 103 ratings

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3 stars Dream Theater is well-known not only for their instrumental prowess and musical pedigree but also for their astounding numbers of side-projects. The most notable one is Liquid Tension Experiment, an exhilarating instrumental prog/ jazz fusion group. LTE has released two albums, one self- titled 1 and one named Liquid Tension Experiment 2, which were very well-received with the fans. However, one could notice the music becoming more experimental, which worried some people. As it turns out, during the recording of the second album, John Petrucci's wife went into labor so he had to leave the studio in a tailspin. The remaining musicians thus had quite a bit of paid studio time which would go to waste if they didn't think fast. This was the genesis of Liquid Trio Experiment, which is entirely improvisational and in basically the same style as Tension sans the guitar. Those who bemoaned Tension's change in direction really would have a problem with this album because it is even more sporadic than before. The lineup consists of Tony Levin on bass, Jordan Rudess on keyboards, and Mike Portnoy on drums. The tunes on Spontaneous Combustion are not as cohesive as the ones from the two Tension albums, but they are more enjoyable than one would expect from such an impromptu jam session. The thing to keep in mind is that these three guys are masters at their respective instruments. If regular joes tried such a session it wouldn't turn out half as well. Petrucci's leads are the glue which the other band members stick their parts to, and his absence inevitably invited everyone else to explore the creative fringes of their playing. As a result, it leaves you with ample wavering, yet a pleasant organic nature throughout the album. There's an even greater presence of dynamics and tempo changes here, which is more akin to jazz playing and may be jarring to people accustomed to straightforward metal styles. However, there are many times when Portnoy provides some excellent drum beats which are easy to follow. They almost sound like hip hop beats at times. Songs such as "Jazz Odyssey" and "Hawaiian Funk" gracefully reward the listener with what their titles would suggest. It will definitely be difficult to appreciate this album if you haven't heard any free jazz and fusion because it goes all over the place. Also, Tony Levin's squawking bass tones can be especially grating and overlong. It's best to approach all of this with a quirky sense of humor and not judge it so seriously, as it shouldn't be judged by the same guidelines as a release that was well-planned in advance. *Originally written for Maelstrom.Nu.
Elioglossia | 3/5 |


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