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Liquid Tension Experiment - Liquid Tension Experiment 2 CD (album) cover


Liquid Tension Experiment

Progressive Metal

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5 stars Icredible band, this is an evolution of the previous album. Its not just a exellent prog band, its an exelent contemporary music band, their sound are so unique! Great tunes like when the water breakes, acid rain, biaxident, another dimension. Two thumbs up!
Report this review (#4503)
Posted Saturday, February 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I have never seen such a masterpiece since the early 90's. Masterpieces are rare these days, or maybe they are harder to find. The DREAM THEATER fan should absolutely get this CD. More instrumental, it gives all the room to fast drums and guitars of the 2 artists. The great Tony Levin on bass to complete the oeuvre. This is prog hard rock, even metal.

The great complexity of the music satisfies me totally. Probably I'll have to review my top lists....... HAPPY THE MAN!

Report this review (#4504)
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars the perfect brew of prog-rock from a band that actually is close to it's forefather (dream theater), this record shows the great and perfect timing, structure and development of hard rocking pieces, the opening cut "acid rain" is a fast complicated piece, mixing uptempos with mid-tempos creating an environment of anxiety and glory. The most interesting track is "chewbacca" evoking the character from star wars, they propose a very complex aura of rhythms as only they can do it. This record was the perfect exit for itchy moments for Petrucci and Portnoy, and was the standard for hiring Rudess for DT. great record
Report this review (#4505)
Posted Monday, May 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is absolutely a masterpiece from beggining to end. One of those records you leave with "repeat" the whole day long! Not only for Dream Theater's fans and essential in any prog-rock collection. Marvelous and fresh performances by the four members. Absolutely wonderful!
Report this review (#4508)
Posted Wednesday, July 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm not really a fan of 'prog metal' but I really like this.The music is well crafted with almost a jazzy feel to it in places.Portnoy and co let their hair down and prove there aren't many better prog musicians around at the moment.One of the best instrumental albums out there.Get it!
Report this review (#4509)
Posted Saturday, July 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Absolutely stunning. Superb and balanced contributions from each musician. None of them attempt to hog or compete in the songs which you get from other bands. All the slick time changes and perfectly crafted solos make this record stand out and is a must for anyone.
Report this review (#4511)
Posted Friday, September 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars DARE I SAY IT, BETTER IN SOME WAYS THAN THE FIRST!!! POssibly a bit harder, too... but this one doesnt have the amazing ballads that its predecesor had. Never theless... GO OUT AND BUY LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENTS 1 and 2 NOW!!! All you prog metal fans won't be sorry.
Report this review (#4512)
Posted Friday, September 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars It's the first album that I'm aware of the genre. In my knowledge, this is the only kind of gimmick existing in metal progressive rock. Nowhere you'll get a better deal for your money. This is a collective of virutosos (althought Rudess is not impressing) that litteraly melted their 4 brains and molded a bigger, faster, meaner one.

Since I saw Secret World in 1994, I was sold to the work of Tony Levin. He contributed into many super projects (Gabriel, King Crimson and such) and his talent cannot be argued. We could also get a round of applause for Petrucci and Portnoy (well, maybe two or three). They really are the core of this project. Together, these musicians are nothing less than fireworks. After playing in Dream Theater for so many years, their well-known camaraderie is tangible in the tighness of the music.

I wasn't a fan of Petrucci's work before this album, but now I'm more convinced of his improv' capacities. And Portnoy is...well himself again in his big fat rock and roll attitudes. His energy will always be a seal of good fun and hard work in everything he'll participate. He can be heard on Neil Morse's new project, and it's goooood.

I don't know what's the fuzz around Jordan Rudess. I probably should listen to one of his albums to fully appreciate his capacities. I mean, I'm not bringing him down, I just don't see what he has that Kevin Moore or the guy from Threshold or Symphony X doesn't have. This is a quite ordinary performance that barely wraps the whole thing.

Anyway, the both albums of LTE are unique in their styles mixing fast melodies and head popping complexity.

This could be too much in complexity for the newcomers so I take the opportunity to plug something less challenging and more accessible: Joe Satriani- Strange Beautiful Music (2000). A great ride like this one without the headache at the end.

Report this review (#4514)
Posted Wednesday, December 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars When four of the best musicians of their respective instruments jam together..this is the end result!! when i heard LTE 1, i thought nothing could better this for instrumental sections. but here it is!! earlier Dream Theater was my favorite band, but now its Liquid Tension Experiment..simply for the reason that James LaBrie isnt there and they have found a bassist whose bass can be HEARD. Tony levin is well known in the prog world and i cannot stress enough his contribution to prog rock.

Now about the album. let me assure you..all the songs are nothing short of impressive, but two songs really stand out (for me, at least) - Biaxident and When The Water Breaks.simply the best instrumentals i have heard - leaving Rush's of course.Biaxident is an amazing song with amazing guitars and impressive keyboards by Jordan Rudess who is supposed to be among the best in the world currently.ditto for When the Water Breaks.Paradigm Shift is more on the metal side, and so is Acid Hourglass you can see Rudess at his prime..the other songs are good, but not as good as the above. and it is because of these short songs that the album tends to get a bit boring...but a totally instrumental album WILL get a bit boring after some time - cant help it..thats the reason for the 4 stars..

Sigh!!! if only this was the current line-up for Dream Theater with a better vocalist than LaBrie, then they can revolutionize music totally in my opinion..however, this album is totally worth it!!

Report this review (#4518)
Posted Thursday, February 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is probably the most exciting prog album in the 90's!!! Wonderful! You should have it only for the first 5 tracks...epic,unique,supreme! The only bad thing I can say is that I will never be able to play music as Mr.Portnoy,Mr.Petrucci,Mr.Levin & Mr.Rudess. YOU MUST HAVE IT
Report this review (#4520)
Posted Friday, March 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars As with many follow-up project albums (Transatlantic's "Bridge across forever" an example) LTE2 lacks the inventive freshness of its predecessor. Where I felt LTE1 to have NO filler tracks, the two jam-based tracks here without Petrucci are just that. The rest of the songs all have their moments, but do not stick to your mind like "Paradigm Shift", "Kindred Spirits", "Freedom of Speech" or "Universal Mind". And where is Tony Levin? On LTE1 his playing was distinct but on this one he seems to drown in the mix. Four musicians milking a concept that's run dry; the experiment should have been left to rest after the intial success. Oh well.
Report this review (#4521)
Posted Monday, March 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars i´m from brazil and already listen LTE and the band is fantastic . Is the best of prog of the world . For me lose only to Dream theater is the best band of music of the earth. All songs is very differents of itself. congratulation Dream theater for all success . ahhh ! my utopia is : know James LaBrie , he is my idol " Alright" ahhahahaha , in the shows he like so much to speak this , ahahhahahahahha . HEy James where are you live ? i want to go in your house ,what your telefone number please you e-mail i want know you . Congratulatios for you "voice".... discussing me others steal your thoughts they're not confined within your mind.

Report this review (#4522)
Posted Tuesday, March 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars GREAT! These guys know how to do music. I undoubtely bought it since I knew they were musicians from Dream Theater (it's a pity Myung isn't here, but certainly Levin does a great, great job). However, this disc doesn't show anything very new, it's part of the same. Of course, it's part of the same stunning music!! Well, my english it's not so good, so... Say no more.
Report this review (#4523)
Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is such a great instrumental effort. It's metal combined with funk and other bizarre thins that make an incredible effort. The musicians, like always, are at the top of their game. This album contains so much technical masturbation, that it could drive the faint of heart nuts. I happen to like the incredible, virtuostic, bombastic musicianship. It begins and end great, and there are only a few filler tracks.

The opening track, Acid Rain, truly is one of the greatest openings. A 7-String Petrucci intro always makes an album start off great. Throughout the entire album, there is a feeling of improvisation mixed with incrediblly well written sections. 914 is a groovy track, where Levin really cuts loose. The bass line is really a great example of Levin's outstanding use of the Chapman Stick. The two epics, When the Water Breaks and Chewbacca are hit and miss. The first one, When the Water Breaks, is an instrumental masterpiece, going through fast sections, going through slow sections, and overall taking the listener to another world. Chewbacca (As much as I love the title), is a rather boring track that really doesn't go anywhere. The song starts off slow and just keeps getting slower, I can listen to it, but I never get any real satisfaction from it. The album closer, Hourglass, is an incredibly beautiful acoustic piece. This song features Petrucci on the acoustic guitar, and Rudess on the piano. It truly is one of the greatest endings I've heard. The guitar and piano mix and create such a tear-jerking atmosphere.

Overall, this album is a great experience from start to finish. The only weak track is Chewbacca, but still even that track is not bad. I give it a 4/5. It should not disappoint.

Report this review (#4527)
Posted Sunday, May 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Although the band members show fantastic skills in their instruments, being an example for "synergy" (active cooperation; together as one whole, they are much greater than the sum of each and every one of them alone); their second album is very un-balanced. Sure, there are great tracks such as "Acid Rain" and "Another Dimension", but there is one masterpiece here, that is called "When the Water Breaks".

Throughout the history of progressive rock we see albums with the un-even element, such as "Red" by KING CRIMSON with the grand piece "Starless", and "A Change of Seasons" by DREAM THEATER, but still, to me it seems as if two diffent worlds. "When the Water Breaks" and all the rest. It sounds like it was written in a different time, like not parralel to the other tracks.

Though, it is highly recommended.

Report this review (#4531)
Posted Thursday, June 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a really outstanding piece of music. 5 stars is an understatement. The writing creativity exemplified on this album is top notch. This is music with no rules; there are no bounderies. You will not be dissapointed if you purchase it blindly. This is John Petrucci's masterwork...please understand, he's not merely about speed. The two headed monster of John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy bring us some timeless music on LTE II.
Report this review (#37890)
Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Now, this is my first review mainly because I couldn't be bothered writing one even though I have been visiting this site for quite awhile. The reason for me to be finally writing a review is this: how can this album be at number 62? OK you got some weird algorithm going because only 38 people have reviewed it, but c'mon people. We need more 5 star reviews for this oustanding instrumental masterpiece. It features one of the greatest instumental rock pieces of all time, namely: 'When the Water Breaks.' I won't go into detail boring you with how good this track is for all of you who haven't heard it yet, because you just need to hear it to understand what pure beauty this track really is. It even rivals Dream Theater's five star masterpiece 'A Change of Seasons.' These are probably the only 2 instrumental tracks I would ever call a masterpiece and there are only probably 3 albums worthy of a 5 star rating, so don't think of this rating as a donkey vote. Well actually there is one quarall I have with 'When the Water Breaks,' and that's the ending. Its comical almost circus nature takes away from the emotions that it brought almost 17 minutes.

Final words: If you haven't heard this album, please do so because inside your hurting from not listening to rock in its greatest form.

Report this review (#38042)
Posted Thursday, June 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the first LTE album I listened to and its their best. All the songs are well constructed and well played. Petrucci is not just filling it with gratuitous noodling. Portnoy is well Portnoy, his drums are even better than in Dream Theater. Rudess is pure genious, his keyboards help carry most of the songs. I love the end of "when the Water Breaks" it is absolutely hysterical. the only thing missing is that the bass is not givin much attention. Good album if you like intrumentals and especially if you like Dream Theater Without the vocals
Report this review (#45671)
Posted Monday, September 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
Bob Greece
5 stars I have no hesitation in giving this album 5 stars. As many of you know, it's basically an instrumental Dream Theater, which in my opinion is just perfect. It's not that James LaBrie is so bad, it's just that I love heavy instrumental music.

It's hard to pick a best track on this album because they're all pretty much in the same style except for the last track (Hourglass) which is a lot more laid back than the others. One day I was playing the album and the office cleaner came in and just heard the last track and she got a very wrong impression of what Liquid Tension Experiment is normally like.

The band is 3/5 of Dream Theater plus King Crimson's Tony Levin. Liquid Tension Experiment was formed as a supergroup and Jordan Rudess was not yet a member of Dream Theater at the time. Now that the band is 75% Dream Theater, they've said that they'll probably never make another Liquid Tension Experiment album. That is a real shame.

Report this review (#46584)
Posted Wednesday, September 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The second and last in the LTE catalog, this album is a swan song for this particular lineup. With Rudess joining Portnoy and Petrucci in Dream Theater, and Levin working various solo projects and eventually rejoining King Crimson, it's doubtful we'll ever see LTE again.

For fans of the first album, the second offering won't disappoint. The same musical exuberance, the same virtuoso soloing, the same jazz-metal song structures prevail on this album. If I could make any criticisms, it's that the high points of this album aren't as high as the first album's, but then this album is a bit tighter and less prone to technical excess. The best songs are the hardest: "Acid Rain," "When the Water Breaks," and the most metallic of the album, "Chewbacca," will rip your roof off.

Simply stated, if you liked the first album, you'll want this one, too. If you thought the first album was a sloppy mess of technical self-indulgence, you won't want this one, either. I'm betting that most prog fans, and the metal fans who have more appreciation for musical brilliance and less interest in mere pounding, will embrace both albums and wish there were more.

Report this review (#61443)
Posted Friday, December 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I think this is the greatest album of the Progressive Metal genre in terms of raw musical quiality. The greatest has to be Liquid Tesnion Experiment 1, but only by a nose.

The fact that it is instrumental makes it more interesting, and it must be, because there is no support of the "lead singer that can just scream of we run out of ideas", and this forces the composer(s) to create interesting harmonies, and mix genres, and move from subject to subject quicker, which makes it even more progressive and interesting than standard "progressive metal".

The fact that it is much more jazzy makes your heart melt over and over, the jazz just sounds so much more brilliantly harmonic and clever, in contrast to the heavy riffs of metal that ussualy come before.

And of course, the technical genius of these guys is just mind blowing, but we've all gotten used to Portnoy, Rudess and Petrucci, haven't we? Somehow though, they excite me over and over again...

This therfore, is a masterpiece of progressive music... 5 stars! :)

Report this review (#70656)
Posted Monday, February 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars ah now here's an album that will really get your heart pumpin'. i am so glad that i was able to get both LTE albums as this album is just so awesome!!!! seems weird that when side projects realease two albums the second seems to be better??? oh well its kinda crazy knowing that John Petrucci wasn't around for most of the recording oh well. Anyway enough of my randomness and back to the review. The album kicks off just the way they did with the last album by starting with the very progressive metal like Acid Rain as all the members are just going nuts with these progressive riffs, dynamic bass, crazy drums (one of mike's finest performances) and plus of course great Keys by the wonerful rudess. i really love the solos on this song as they are both effective but somewhat sneaky at the same time. Then comes another fine tune known as Biaxident as the band explores their fusion style once again by blend some nice prog rock with a bit of latin in between. Jordan really shines on this album with his aweomse piano play this song really truely opened me up more classical piano playing. Then nice we have in my mind a prog rock chinese song lol with 914 once again mike and tony display their tightness at the beginning of the track and then it links to another very progressive song called Another Dimension this track is hardcore as it has both prog rock and metal mixed together with some latin added to it in the middle. Then comes along probably one of my favorite epics When the Water Breaks (eh funny title) this song has it all Great guitar, aweomse keyboards and a little organ somewhere, great dynamic rhythm bass and plus A DRUM SOLO!!!!! and as much as i like 3 Minute Warning this song beats it out of the park. But after this song we go to the more experimental side of LTE starting with Chewbacca which is another great improvisation by LTE however this one seems more together than 3 minute warning. then comes the very keyboardy but soft yet extremely jazzy Liquid Dreams finally closing the song with oh wonderful acoustic and piano duet song Hourglass as this song beats the crap out of State of Grace. Anyway if you didn't like the first LTE album this one is ten times better even the improv stuff is really good too. But still that doesn't mean the first one is bad its got some kick too but still if it were i would get both just for the heck of it. Anyway great album but stupid Magna Carta ruining everything cause i really want a LTE 3 to come out but i know that ain't happening lol.
Report this review (#75159)
Posted Sunday, April 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Liquid Tension Experiment 2

Ahh, another Liquid Tension Experiment album, this album was released in 1999 when at that time, Dream Theater released their most incredible album, Scenes From A Memory. The personnel of LTE2 were the same with LTE1, John Petrucci, Jordan Rudess, Mike Portnoy and Tony Levin. And as you all know, now Jordan Rudess is one of Dream Theater members.

Just for your information Liquid Tension Experiment was a band that created as a side project. When it formed, Mike Portnoy and John Petrucci were in Dream Theater, Jordan Rudess worked with Rod Morgenstein and Tony Levin worked with his own band and Bruford Levin Upper Extremities. Now, as Jordan Rudess is in Dream Theater, there is no possibility that there will be Liquid Tension Experiment 3, as ¾ of the members are in Dream Theater, just like Mike Portnoy said on many interviews.

If you have the album, you could see on the cover where each member wrote a short story behind each song. There, you can imagine the fun and amazing recording session in the making of LTE 2. John Petrucci himself said this was probably the hardest and the most challenging album he has ever made. I can believe that, considering the album is a mixture of Jazz Fusion, Classical and Progressive Metal, if you want a comparison, Planet X. What I like is, although the songs are improvisation without any rehearsal or anything, they still can manage the quality of the songs. Moreover, with ultimate techniques, these people could create such amazing songs with great feeling in each song.

The album was also being John Petrucci's important diary, as when they created this album, his third daughter, Kiara was born. He then put this event into a song title "When The Water Breaks", you know, the water, breaks. This song is also the longest song in the album, about sixteen minutes. But probably the most recognizable song is Acid Rain as Dream Theater has played this song at many of their concert (seems no problem for John Myung). There are two songs that were created through digital manipulation, Chewbacca and Liquid Dreams, really amazing. And, last but not least, the most beautiful and melodic song in the album, which is the last track, Hourglass. The guitar part was an acoustic guitar with piano keyboard and was a live session. John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess stated that this song was influenced by a song in LTE1, State Of Grace, which is also a very beautiful song. John Petrucci said, "I feel the intimacy and mood was really captured here. The mixture of classical and jazz changes make this one both interesting harmonically and melodically moving to me."

So, in the end, with all my expressions above, I wish I could give 7 stars, so I give 5 giant stars. A masterpiece of progressive music just like its predecessor, Liquid Tension Experiment 1. Ohh, yeah, LTE2 is more complex (in my opinion) that one of the issue is that the making of this album took nearly a month, while LTE1 was made in just A WEEK, amazing eh?

Keep On Proggin' In The Free World!!

Report this review (#80441)
Posted Tuesday, June 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I like this album better than the first one. I think individually the songs here are better than the ones in LTE 1 in many ways. This are songs that I never get tired of listening to, and as I said on my LTE1 review, Even though there are people who blindly adore this album and that makes sick a lot of people, we can't deny that this is good, creative, innovative music, and specially keeping in mind the fact that this was created in very short time. My highlights are BIAXIDENT (great intro and ending!), the fast paced 'acid rain' that features a nice work by ruddess and some fast solos by petrucci (not in excess, though, coz he sometimes makes me sick with so much speed), and most of all WHEN THE WATER BREAKS, another riff-driven 16 minute song that blows me away when I listen to it. IMO no prog collection can be 100% complete without some good prog metal in it.. and this would definitely be my choice!! peace out everyone! :D
Report this review (#82387)
Posted Saturday, July 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars What a sequel! I believe a good way to describe it would be "Empire Strikes Back-esque". Pretty much everything on this album is fantastic. Chewbacca (thus the ESB reference rather than say, Godfather 2) can get weak at times, but that's about it.

I have a bootleg of theirs where Petrucci introduces Acid Rain under the pretense of, "We saved this one for last because if we played it anywhere in the set, our arms would be completely dead and we would have to stop the show", which is pretty accurate. Probably the most energetic song in my fairly vast collection!

I would consider the keyboard solo and following playing at around 11:00 on When The Water Breaks as the ultimate movie fight scene music. Even Hourglass, which would normally be somewhat out of place with the rest of the album, seems to be the perfect finish for the rest.

There's just no way that this one can be given less than five stars in my brain. I would consider this album, much like its predecessor, to be one of the top 25 of all time.

Report this review (#84495)
Posted Saturday, July 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars With already 102 entries reviewing this album, would it be worth it to add some more? Not necessary. I just want to share with you my opinion about this album First, there has been so many people reviewing this album due to the fact that majority (75%) of musicians played in this bombastic project are from Dream Theater. It suffices to say that Dream Theater has been a global name so that whenever its member contributes to other work there it's almost guaranteed that people would buy the album. I might be wrong. For sure if only Tony Levin, I don't think many people knew about him.

Musically this album is very strong in arrangement and the way how each member of the band creates texture for the music which helps the music sounds like a bit complex. There is a couple of surprises in terms of tempo as well as style. The opening track is truly an excellent opening with powerful drum work as well as guitar. The speed tempo and energetic style have made the opening part sounds complex and heavy. Other songs are practically good ones. It's good to notice that even though most of songs have tendency into a Dream Theater like of music - "Chewbacca" is a reminiscent of King Crimson music. Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours, GW

Report this review (#84531)
Posted Saturday, July 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars I have alwys been sort of mixed with my opinion on LTE, the DT side project. At times there is real brilliance, and not just techinal virtuoso. At other times, their is just experimental wankage. Some of the tracks are very suprising and unique, especially considering the history of DT's music.

Tony Levin is wonderful on bass, not that Myung is bad, but he is a nice and welcome change. I feel this is much better than the circus that is LTE 1. Chewbacca is one of the more interesting and unique tracks, with references from all across the history of prog.

Overall a very intriguing album, but lacking the substance of great progressive works. It is good to see these guys having fun and creating some different music though.

Report this review (#84698)
Posted Monday, July 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars I hate prog metal. It's neither because some people believe it's the new devil in music nor for the aggressiveness it suggests. It's rather because I see it as a degeneration of progressive music (in my humble opinion and surely the opinion of many classically trained musicians).

Yes, I know I shouldn't just give out these sentences without something else to substain them (I will get to the actual review later on), so here comes the argument: for works like this!. I used to like Dream Theater when I was younger but I just find their music dull by now; their focus is to try progressive music to sound "COOL" and "HIP" to the generations of metalheads who praise Metallica for whatever the reason is; academic music is not meant to be COOL (be it classical or jazz); that's why they're heard on separate stations from the popular ones, and I wonder why bands like Dream Theater or Stratovarius are not aired much on radio, because I hear too much MTV material there. The only thing good about these "prog-metal" bands is that they induce people to listen to more challenging music (at least sometimes), although I know many people who are not into progressive music that like them along the likes of power metal and even death-metal, so it's not 100% guaranteed that it'll improve the musical taste of youth. I know I sound like George Starostin but I have no other choice but to show my dislike this way.

Now, to the actual review. I liked Experiment 1 a bit more (their previous album), because they actually managed to make some decent progressive metal with less noise or distorted bar chords, the guitar actually harmonized more; whilst it still didn't merit a 4-star rating.

And the musicianship of the individual members can't be questioned: Petrucci is very accurate (although sometimes he sound like a generic Yngwie Malmsteen wannabe, only improved); Tony Levin is known as the best session bass and stick player in rock and pop music (because he's one of the few bassists in the rock industry able to play with his bare hands instead of a pick); Jordan Rudess is an incredibly talented keyboard player in the vein of Rick Wakeman and.... well, Mike Portnoy is good, but he's no Buddy Rich, and although he's very coordinated in the bass drums, sometimes I wonder if he's playing the drums with drumsticks or with baseball bats; I mean, the guy rarely varies in intensity and he uses the bass drums way too much, but he's very talented, and no one can deny that (despite his ridiculous rocker attitude).

Apart from the individual virtuosity, not much could be said about the music: generic metal riffs accompanied with degrading improvisations (Another Dimension and Chewbacca come to mind, respectively), and, even though the overall compositions are very creative, it's still louder than thou metal; they wanted to sound "cooler" in this one and thank God they didn't go on (we still have Dream Theater though).

I can't deny there are actually good numbers here: Biaxident has a very nice latin- flavoured bridge with Santana-esque guitar licks and great keyboard feeds courtesy of Mr. Rudess; Liquid Dreams are a good way to escape from the horrible loud drums and the annoying loud bar chords, but it drags a bit in the second half, leaving us with Jordan showing his talent on keys but not much more; and Hourglass is a simple instrumental ballad with acoustic guitar (the only acoustic guitar-based song on the entire Liquid Tension short catalog), but it's not as annoying as the rest of the stuff here.

This goes to show I'm not a fan of progressive metal, but at least I consider the good aspects off it. And this is actually some of the best metal I've heard, which doesn't say much about the rest; so that's why it's my first and only prog metal review so far; it's actually worth analyzing. 2 plain stars.

Report this review (#95163)
Posted Thursday, October 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album wil probably go down as the standard for intrumental progressive for decades to come. The precision of this group is astounding, among the greatest I've ever seen. Petrucci and Portnoy blend together really well, and Levin brings some incredibly powerful supportive lower lines. I don't understand all this criticism of Rudess, as he plays some of the most intense and exquisite lines I've ever had the pleasure of enjoying.

As far as the album itself goes, the songs themselves are excellent and they fit together very well. I liked Acid Rain the first time I heard it, and Another Dimension has wonderful highs and lows. The only complaint I can really lodge is the amount of time it takes When the Water Breaks to move along, and it doesn't really go anywhere in the end (though I love that funky little phrase Rudess plays at the end).

Report this review (#110483)
Posted Friday, February 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The follow-up to the successful (by instrumental album standards) debut from Dream Theater side-project Liquid Tension Experiment, LTE2 finds DT guitarist John Petrucci and drummer Mike Portnoy, Rod Morgenstein (and future DT) keyboardist Jordan Rudess, and bass god Tony Levin pumping out more technical jazz metal. The technical skill displayed here could easily make your head explode à la Scanners, but fans of prog and metal should find a lot to love. Tony decides to forgo the bass guitar used on the debut for his trademark Chapman stick, which he can play faster with. The entire album takes the jazz- funk-neoclassical metal from LTE1 and makes it faster and heavier.

"Acid Rain" is an even better opener than Paradigm Shift. "Biaxident" shows Petrucci soloing while restraining himself from the excesses he has been known to divulge in. "914" is a better showcase for Tony's and mike's tightness than Chris and kevin's Ecellent Adventure from the debut. "Another Dimension" has a nice Latin bit in it. "When the Water Breaks" takes a bit to get going with its crib music intro contrasting the rest of the song. "Chewbacca" loses focus, but its a good improv. "Liquid Dreams" is another monster, but "Hourglass" manages to outshine it in less than half the time. Slightly out of place, its meoldicism is a great way to close the album.

This is a great album to use to get into prog metal, particularly if you are a Crimson fan. I recommend buying LTE 1 and 2, as they belong in any prog metal collection.

Grade: B+

Report this review (#112246)
Posted Thursday, February 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars See my review for their other album.

About the only thing I can add here is that this album seems more cohesive and the songs seem like better compositions. I listened to this one more than the first one (though I don't pull out either any more). The improvs work better I think, mainly because Petrucci wasn't there when they played them. He wrote a part for one of them and improvised another after the fact. I think this works better when he hears it first and has something to go on. As I said before he seems to not really have any improvisational skill on the evidence of the long improv from the first album. But don't get me wrong, he is an outstanding guitar player with far more skill and advanced technique than I will ever have (but I have different priorities in music than he does, I think).

In any case, I would say this is slightly better than the last one and has the best, most impressive track LTE ever did on it, When The Water Breaks. So 3 stars for the archives, but really more like 3.5 with the same caveats as before: if you like prog metal, Dream Theater, or virtuostic displays of musicianship, you will probably enjoy this. Otherwise, give it a pass.

Report this review (#112329)
Posted Friday, February 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars High quality album and a cornerstone of progressive genre for the period it was created. I have no words after listening because everything is well done and arranged. It is surprising all over the place and this is a quality I admire a lot in music. I cannot choose one song that I like because I like all of them. However my favorite is "When the Water Breaks" a song dedicated to this wonderful miracle of birth. Imaginative, powerful, creative or inspiring are some of the words which are some how synonyms with this wonderful album. Unfortunately it seems that we will not have the pleasure to listen to any future releases since 3 of 4 members are already in Dream Theater right now. The entire album is instrumental but I simply don't feel the need of any kind of lyrics. I'm not a big fan of Dream Theater but I have to recognize the good quality of this release. For me this is 9 from 10 stars but since we can only give 4 or 5 stars I would say then 5. Dream Theater fans will enjoy this but is important to mention fusion, jazz or classical influences(e.g on Biaxident) which gives also a note of originality. I don't feel music boundaries when listening and the musicians here seem to express themselves without limitation of a certain genre.
Report this review (#114993)
Posted Tuesday, March 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is every bit as great as the first Liquid Tension Experiment. If you have heard the first one and didn't like it, then your not going to like this one. But if you enjoy fantastic musicianship and great, high energy songs that are catchy and fun then you will love this album.

The songs are creative and origonal. Never once will you say "hey this sounds kinda like that one song by . . ." everything sounds incredibly unique.

The best song on this album is When the Water Breaks. John Petrucci wrote this song after seeing the birth of his child. Its absolutely amazing. Beautiful, heavy, sweet, serene and rocking all together.

There are plenty of jazzy influences, as well as classical influences along side the Metal. I can't recommend any band higher than I could Liquid Tension Experiment. Deffinately a masterpiece.

Report this review (#124298)
Posted Friday, June 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is absolute a masterpiece

This is better then the first because the music is well and better crafted with almost a jazzy feel to it in places then on first LTE . Portnoy and co let their hair down and prove that their among the best musicians these days. One of the best instrumental albums out there.Get it, recommended for virtuosity. Every instrument is on right place so these 4 musicians 2 from Dream Theater, one will become a DT member very soon after these relese ( Jordan Rudess) and a monster of bass Tony Levin who needs no introduction made an album that is hard to forget. 5 stars without hesitation

Report this review (#125718)
Posted Thursday, June 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Of all the reasons why LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT, a group thrown together to exploit DREAM THEATER'S fan base, should issue a second album, musical progression was clearly not one of them.

Quite the opposite. At least the first LTE album demonstrated a wide variety of musical styles (with one thing in common - each style was selected to demonstrate instrumental virtuosity). This album is much narrower, while remaining technically proficient. I'll nail my colours to the mast right here: I want to be moved by what I listen to, not impressed. Yes, I'm impressed. But no, I'm not moved. Unless it's to change CDs. I've not made it through this album even once, though I have listened to every track. I have to take it in small doses. Look, the best constructors of albums (and there is an art to it) know you can't have a seventy minute slab of similar sounds. Why do you think OPETH intersperse ballads and instrumentals between their monstrous epics?

Ooh, 'Acid Rain' finished as I was typing the last sentence. Why? Why did it finish there? What song structure led to them deciding to end it at that point? Were they tired of it, or were PETRUCCI'S fingers sore? The album ought to have started with the excellent 'Biaxident', with it's DREAM THEATER feel, and then ... actually, I'm not sure where it should have gone after that. I'm not sure it matters.

Oh, hold on, let's add a bit of spanish guitar. Why, for goodness' sake?

You know that sick feeling you get after eating too many sweets? I have it now, and I'm not even halfway through the album.

As with LTE 1, you'll love this if your idea of great music is performances of sublime virtuosity. But if you're in it for the songwriting, save yourself the money.

Report this review (#135257)
Posted Tuesday, August 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars As other reviewers have noticed, this sounds like an instrumental Dream Theater. That means less potential for possible cheesy and/or over the top vocals, but it also invites more improvisation and less concise song structure. I am a huge fan of instrumental music, but I have to say that after many listens, this is an extremely hit or miss album. That's how I'll focus my review.

Acid Rain (hit). It's fast and in-your-face, in a good way. Great work from Petrucci (especially his spacey middle section), and Rudess' keys fit well. I wish I could hear more bass--I know Levin is up to some killer grooves, but I really have to work to hear them over Portnoy.

Biaxident (hit). What a change of pace from the opener! This is probably the most structured song on the album (maybe tied with When the Water Breaks), and it's a very positive, upbeat tune. Nice piano/organ choice, and Petrucci offers some very tasteful additions. They could have worked the AWESOME finale a bit more, because they sure earned it with the great stuff that led to it.

914 (miss). I get it: Levin is doing some truly memorable work on bass, but the melodies and contributions from other players are not up to that level. Rudess' choice on synth becomes irritating quickly.

Another Dimension (miss). There are certainly good parts: notably Petrucci's early solo and later spanish guitar-like flourish toward the end. However, Rudess' synth refrain wears thin, and this ends with generic and uninspired guitar crunches.

When the Water Breaks (hit). Probably the highlight of the album. Obviously these guys are quite talented as individual musicians, and here they show that they can also throw together an extended piece with numerous catchy melodies, effective transitions, and appropriate length solos and grooves. I would have liked to see more of this material.

Chewbacca (miss). Slow and heavy. Depending on your mood, this may actually work for you. I have yet to encounter the proper mood. There of course are a number of unique bass bits and Satriani-esque guitar runs, but they are spaced too few and far between the 13 minute duration.

Liquid Dreams (miss). The first half would be a hit...dreamy yet decisive piano accentuated by yawning bass and funky guitar. Then the xylophone effect and irritating synth appear, and the song really loses direction that it never regains. The natural biproduct of relying on improv and short studio time I suppose.

Hourglass (hit). A tasteful Petrucci and Rudess duet. This led me to their live album, which I have been thrilled with.

Overall, plenty of good stuff, and plenty of forgettable jamming. Diverse and certainly well-played enough to make it worth your time and effort.

Report this review (#137501)
Posted Sunday, September 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars In my opinion virtually interchangeable with "LTE 1", with a few new effects and moods thrown in to keep this one from becoming too identical. Of course, nothing here will change the minds of anyone-- you'll either love it or hate it, based on your tastes going in. Fans of metal (especially crazy complex stuff) will eat "LTE" up; others will be fed up by the unrelenting sonic assault before the first song concludes. Each to their own... but this album is such that if you've ever liked any of the players involved than it belongs in your library. It's hard to find more energetic and exciting instrumental music than this.
Report this review (#140379)
Posted Monday, September 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Whoa! What a composition! If you're a listener who wanted some aggressive, long, sick, crazy arrangement of music, get any of Liquid Tension Experiment albums! Like this one, absolutely amazing. Out brain will banging from the beginning of "Acid Rain" to the end of "Hourglass".

Not like its predecessor, "Liquid Tension Experiment", "2" is riper in arrangement. And it didn't contain the short-experimental tracks like "LTE" did. "Acid Rain" was brilliant. The next "Biaxident" was absolutely sick in time signature (just like the other tracks). "914" was filled much by Levin's sticks. "Another Dimension" is very close arrangement to Dream Theater's. And the outstanding 16-minute of "When the Water Breaks" is really crushed my ear. "Chewbacca" contains interesting part of the middle section, which seems like jam sessions. "Liquid Dreams" is keyboard based track, very good playing by Jordan Rudess. And then, the last track, "Hourglass" was an acoustic piece, filled by keyboard and guitars played.

Overally, an amazing album. A strong and compact album. Really satisfied the more aggressive listeners (like me?). 5 stars for "2".

Report this review (#145700)
Posted Thursday, October 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I can be really short with this review. It's exactly the same is LTE 1 because with LTE it's not really about the individual songs but more the kind of music they produce (at least with their first two albums because I just saw they recently made another one but that's without Petrucci (big mistake!) so that can't be as good as the first two).

But anyway: of course I can go into the songs, I can say for instance that Acid Rain, Biaxident, When the water breaks, Liquid dreams and Chewbacca are incredible tracks, all deserving 5 stars but then you talk about almost the entire album and that's why I can come to only one conclusion once again and that's simply 5 stars. Absolute masterpiece. For lovers of prog metal jamming in the most technical way you can imagine played with a lot of spirit.

Report this review (#149648)
Posted Friday, November 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Liquid Tension Experiment - Liquid Tension Experiment 2 4.2 stars

This is a step-up from the first instrumental attempt.

We are brought the same virtuosos from the first album, John Petrucci (guitar), Mike Portnoy (drums), Jordan Rudess (keyboards) and Tony Levin (chapman stick, fretless bass).

This is a much more mature release then the first one. There is a lot more jazz in this work, including some new latin influences that worked out very well for them. This release also had many more stand out songs that will go down as progressive masterpieces like 'Acid Rain', 'Biaxident', 'When the Water Breaks', 'Liquid Dreams' and 'Hourglass'. I have a huge amount of appreciation for these pieces, as they are mostly improvisations. John Petrucci was missing for a decent amount of these recordings but one would not be able to tell, because he took Jordan Rudess' improvised keyboard work and learned them by ear, which essentially gave it a more 'composed' feel. The band is much more 'tight' this time around and everyone sounds at the top of their game. The only tracks I dislike would have to be '914' and 'Chewbecca' to a less extent.

This is really essential for any Dream Theater fan or a fan of instrumental music. There is much less 'wankery' on this album and more abundances of influences that would not come close to interfering with the now juggernaut that is Dream Theater. Still, for some people there should be a cautious procedure, which makes me feel to put this only above 4 stars. This is a really excellent album but is not essential to everyone.

Report this review (#157676)
Posted Friday, January 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I don't know about anyone else but to me this album ROCKS! It has all the elements of a modern prog recording should have. One great composition, great skills, great production and don't use a singer unless he is great. I miss the fusion of such great groups like Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return to Forever so this really fills a great need in modern prog music. Yes, it is more hard rock/metal than the aforementioned bands but not so much so that it would lose a fan of the fusion style. Much different than the first cd as this is less improvisational and more compositional but there are still some great solos and improvs.

There is a part in Biaxident around th 5:30 mark that is so beautiful reminds me of what ELP would have sounded like with a great guitarist. These guys can and do play any style sometimes as soon as the next break. Jordan Rudess is such a chameleon that he mixes his influences as well as himself that I never get bored listening to him. His style delights me at almost every turn. For sure this generations Keith Emerson/Chick Corea/Jon Lord/Rick Wakeman as well as bringing his time in the Dixie Dregs (probably the most close in style to this group). It is great to hear music of this kind again. I am sorry I missed this when it was released but extremely delighted the group has decided to reform and play some shows and I hope a new album with all 4. With groups like this Helmet of Gnats and The Fromuz there is a lot of hope for the future. Pettruci and Rudess over Levin and Portnoy is a winning combination every time. No doubt about it 5 stars.

Report this review (#170321)
Posted Friday, May 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars The only negative thing I can say about this recording is that it's too long. If they had gassed the final two tracks this could have been kept to an hour in length.This is jaw dropping instrumental music though with lots of variety. When you have both Pertucci and Portnoy letting it all hang out on the same album you know it's going to be spectacular.

"Acid Rain" is uptempo with a heavy undercurrent. The keys come and go. Check out Pertucci 2 minutes in. It's the Portnoy & Pertucci show 3 1/2 minutes in. Lots of synths 5 minutes in. Great track. As Tony Levin says "I came prepared to play some fast music, the chapman stick is ideal for blazing bass lines." This one's a shred-fest. "Biaxident" opens with some beautiful piano. Heaviness comes and goes. Solid drumming from Portnoy throughout. Soaring guitar after 5 1/2 minutes. The tempo picks up 7 minutes in with some ripping guitar to end it. Levin played his fretless bass in this one. Portnoy says "I love this tune...Jordan brought this one in to us in a kind of "latin-vibe" form. By the end of our working on it as a band, it somehow ended up sounding more like YES meets Steve Morse meets PHISH." "914" is an improvised jam with Levin,Portnoy and Rudess. The bass is great.

"Another Dimension" opens without a lot going on until the bass and riffs come in before a minute. The guitar plays over top. Nice heavy soundscape 4 1/2 minutes in. TOOL-like 6 minutes in. Nice. It then lightens as we get some accordion followed by flamenco guitar. It's heavy again ! Pertucci says "This is one of my favourites because it demonstrates the hybrid nature of LTE. The mixture of heavy sinister riffs, Latin feels and complex time signatures makes this a fun and challenging one for me." "When The Water Breaks" opens with Jordan complaining. Haha. Yes it's a baby crying to open. The title was inspired by the fact Pertucci's wife had a baby during this recording session. This is a 17 minute epic that features some fantastic work from Jordan. Check out the stampede of drums 16 1/2 minutes in and the crazy piano ending. Chunky bass 5 minutes in and some blistering guitar 7 minutes in. "Chewbacca" is another improvised piece and my favourite song on here. A nice heavy sound arrives after a minute. Portnoy is so impressive. Pertucci grinds it out and then rips it up. He's lights out on this one. An atmospheric calm 5 1/2 minutes in with this dark mood. Great section that starts to pick up before 10 minutes, then it's shredding time. Awesome sound 11 minutes in. It slows down like a train to end it. "Liquid Dreams" is another improv. This one doesn't do a lot for me though. Same with the final tack "Hourglass" which features piano and acoustic guitar throughout.

Easily 4 stars despite what I think about the final two songs.

Report this review (#179356)
Posted Sunday, August 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Note: The first couple paragraphs here are copied from my review of Liquid Tension Experiment 1. Before you get upset with me. Anyways, here goes:

This album and its prequel 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.

The primary difference between the first and second Liquid Tension Experiment albums is that the freeform noodling on 2 is more spread out throughout the album, weakening several of the compositions but keeping the overall feel and flow of the album stronger. Also, John Petrucci was absent for some of the song writing, so a number of the tunes have ended up less heavy and more keyboard oriented.

Songwise, 2 is pretty comparable to 1. The style of music is the same, really, just played around with further. The best tracks here are Acid Rain, which opens the record with seven string guitar insanity and features some wonderful piano work, Biaxadent, a more mellow and gentle tune with again amazing piano, and When the Water Breaks, a 17 minute explosion of talent and impossibility. Tracks like Another Dimension and Chewbacca are fun, but not as solid, featuring a number of weaker portions that drag them down. The rest of the songs are interesting but melodically unremarkable, I suppose.

When it comes down to it, any fan of Dream Theater or Symphony X or Planet X or other sorts of bands should give this a listen. Between both the Liquid Tension Experiment albums, the boys vented as much steam as they could and call it music, which ends up working here. And so, if crazy guitars and drums and so forth really get you interested, give this album a shot. Highly recommended, if a fair bit flawed.

Report this review (#184299)
Posted Wednesday, October 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I am not a fan of progressive Metal , however I can appreciate the high level of musicianship that this record has. LTE 2 , in my opinion is an improvement over the first album probably because most of the songs are well composed with only one jam track that is 401.

The record starts with Acid Rain at an incredible pace. Fast , agressive and complex.In this song the interplay between Petrucci & Portnoy stands out. The second track Blaxident is much more quieter and here Jordan Ruddess plays a major role , in addition to that , I think his playing and synth sounds are the best including all his DT albums.This shows mainly on the following track 401 in which due to the absence of Petrucci , his keyboards and Tony Levin's bass take the lead on the tune.

Another Dimension is my favourite track of the album. Here the tune is driven by a synth riff and then has various different sections including accordion and an acoustic guitar. This four tracks have consumed 30 of the 73 minutes this album has , which means that we have more than 40 minutes of music. (To endure)

From now on , the album has 3 tracks with are more than 10 minutes long , there is a lot of good material there. But those tracks could have been edited for a 60 minute album and it would have been for better.

The first one of this tracks is When the water breaks , a 16 minute tune in which there is several mood changes , sometimes you may lose your attention but overall it is a very enjoyable track , featuring a keyboard driven section that reminds me of the Yes Album. The following track is called Chewbacca , I won't say that this is a bad track just for it's name but it's not as strong as the previous tracks because it's really slow and has a middle section that was meant to be spacey , but it's boring instead. Let Amon Duul 2 and Can do that LTE , it's not your thing.

The record , however shows an improvement eith the following one , Liquid dreams. A calm track lead by an acoustic piano that has a jazzy feel , the album closes with a duo by Petrucci & Ruddess called Hourglass , a calm 4 minute closer.

Overall , I would recommend this album to people that's not a prog metal listener and tries to get to this genre for the first time. However it's length may be a problem to many.

Report this review (#192211)
Posted Sunday, December 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars like another albums and anothers bands around here there are some goods moments on this album...but in my opinion this is not a must have in the all senses..there are a lot of weak points,that this music reminds a lot of dream the name should be:DREAM THEATER without Vocals.thats right.. it is beautiful sometimes,but until you hear the entire album,you get bored..really..this is missing something..honestly,This is not a Bad album,what i am trying to say that this is not an album that all the people have to hear,only if you are musician and you are happy with solos of guitar,keyboards,and drums.

So is not complete at all,is much bettee hear dream theater than liquid tension experiment,i think that their previus albums is much better...i think that this is a hobbie,a good hobbie as well,but not a masterpiece..

Keep on the work...Cheers

Report this review (#199068)
Posted Wednesday, January 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars A series of well thought through jam sessions with jazzy, proggy and metal bits

Seven months after releasing their relatively successful debut album, Mike Portnoy decides to once again summon the legendary bassist Tony Levin, the keyboard virtuoso Jordan Rudess and his fellow bandmate and guitarist John Petrucci to record another album in a week for the Liquid Tension Experiment project, that would be known later as Liquid Tension Experiment 2. This time, however, the songs took much longer to be composed and recorded because, in the early stages of rehearsing, jamming and composing, John Petrucci's daughter was born, and that made him be outside the studio for a wile.

With more time in their hands to rehearsal, jam and compose, the trio Rudess, Levin and Portnoy came up with a lot of material that would be reworked or used as the base for other songs. That, for one side, is very good because the songs in this album seem to be better structured, making the album sound more like something that was completely finished, that was well thought through, that was prepared to be the best thing possible. For the other side, however, the project lost its meaning partially, because it was meant to be something raw and completely spontaneous, and that spontaneity was partially lost because they had more time to prepare their material. I mean, they recorded the songs between October and November of 98, so they had much more time to do things.

This Liquid Tension Experiment album, much like the first one, blended essentially 3 different music genres: jazz fusion, progressive rock and metal, but here we have more than only those. A considerable dosage of latin music and, in a smaller degree, folk music were added to the mix, making this album even more different. Also, the jazz element is stronger in this album than it was in Liquid Tension Experiment 1. Still comparing both Liquid Tension Experiment albums, the second one have a considerable darker atmosphere than the first one and sounds, overall, heavier, maybe due to the darker mood.

At first i was going to make a list of the highlights of the album, but then i realized that the whole album is just very very good, so i will say that every song of this album is great and deserve equal attention.

On a side note, i would like to say that this album was also very important to do Dream Theater, as it was during the recording sessions of this album that John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy asked for Jordan Rudess to be a full-time member of Dream Theater, and this time he accepted. With Jordan as a full-time member of the band Dream Theater started a new phase that continues until today. However, Dream Theater present production is definitely not as good as this first 3 years with Jordan Rudess were (97-99).

Grade and Final Thoughts

What a great album! The original Liquid Tension Experiment studio albums never cease to amaze me every time i listen them. Great songs, great musicianship and, SPECIALLY, originality make both albums great albums. Though i personally like the first one better, the second album is definitely not far behind. Its only flaw, to me, is that it lack the freshness and spontaneity of the first album, but the first one still have its drawbacks. But do the better finished songs make up to it? Sure they do, and that is why i am giving this album a perfect score: it is a freaking amazing series of well thought through jam sessions.

Report this review (#204262)
Posted Tuesday, February 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the final impressive work of this ingenious quartet before they render themselves trio(in Liquid Trio Experiment) and uninspired. Compared to their previous work, they have evolved their music and created more complex and beautiful songs. From the perfect opening with Acid Rain till the ideal finale with Hourglass. Every song has its special identity that combines elements from numerous kinds of music like oriental, latin, prog rock, prog metal and jazz of course. I can dare to say that Tony Levin is a more accomplished musician than John Myung(with full respect to him) and Rudess is in his more inspiring period. Petrucci as always produces brilliant melodies and shows his impeccable technique. Portnoy is a faithful soldier that knows how to handle his drum kit. Finally, I consider this album a masterpiece of instrumental music by very skilled musicians.
Report this review (#221379)
Posted Tuesday, June 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This record is just awesome.. I love the energy, the metal, and the jazz!!

Everything I love about DREAM THEATER is in this disc - that is - the intense rhythmic drive from Portnoy, and great melody by Petrucci! Rudess' virtuosity is secondary, but still great.

I love the first 4 tracks, and the way they connect. 'Another dimension' is an energetic track I love to hear over and over again!

'When the water breaks' is such a great highlight in this album. Exciting and entertaining all the way through.

The slower tracks 'Chewbacca' and 'Liquid dreams' ease the pace and contain some great jazzy riffs.

'Hourglass' is a beautiful tranquil finish to an album crammed with adrenaline

4.5 stars

Report this review (#229224)
Posted Friday, July 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
2 stars I didn't think much of the previous release but after reading all the positive reviews I started to consider revisiting Liquid Tension Experiment. Finally after hearing the live version of Acid Rain that was featured on Dream Theater's excellent Live Scenes From New York my interest peaked even more and I felt obliged to give this band another go.

Liquid Tension Experiment 2 starts out better than the first one but pretty soon begins to fade. Acid Rain is everything one would want out of a great instrumental were a great compositions is fused together with even greater performance from the band, great stuff indeed! Unfortunately it all came crashing down on me in the end. I was excited by titles like Chewbacca and Another Dimension but musically they felt very flat to me. The overall feel I get from the album is that it's very creative and it's a pity that the individual tracks don't measure to that overall technical skill and quality.

In retrospect I probably liked the debut a lot more than this release but the difference is very small since both of these albums are made only for the fans of the musicians involved so I can't rate this any higher than what my two star rating would indicate.

***** star songs: Acid Rain (6:35)

**** star songs: Biaxident (7:40) 914 (4:01) When The Water Breaks (16:58)

*** star songs: Another Dimension (9:50) Liquid Dreams (10:48) Hourglass (4:26)

** star songs: Chewbacca (13:35)

Report this review (#259794)
Posted Thursday, January 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Second LTE album is better than their first one. Even if music is mostly very similar in style, there are some changes (for good). If their debut was more bravados of musicians' egos, with open leader in Petrucci personality, their second album is better balanced album , and with higher level of musicality. There you really feel, that project was founded not only as possibility for DT musicians to demonstrate their ambitions more openly, but for playing some interesting music too.

For sure, you still can't speak there about big step towards metal fusion in comparison with the debut album, but because of bigger attention to music itself, the listener is able to hear there much more musical nuances, not only kill-them-all hyperactive guitar attacks.

Still being very prog metal album could attract wider circle of listeners because of it's musicality. One of strong instrumental progressive metal albums from 90-s.

Report this review (#260299)
Posted Monday, January 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
The Quiet One
3 stars Dream Theater Experiment? Not really...

Liquid Tension Experiment was a ''side-project'' of Progressive Metal now chart-hitters, Dream Theater, which was led by the drummer, Mike Portnoy. Though its intention, I believe, was not to involve band members besides Mike himself, Liquid Tension Experiment, unfortunately just ended up being an instrumental spin-off of the main band's music.

The music is unmistakably Progressive Metal and the songwriting is extremely reminiscent of the technical show-off side of Dream Theater. The tunes Acid Rain, Biaxident, Another Dimension and When the Water Breaks could have fitted any Dream Theater album contemporary to this. Yes, the band's a bit more loose, you've got a bit more of groove that the band is not usually known-of doing, and there's even a bit of emotional bits, but overall the essence of the music is the same, so are the endless compositions.

Jordan Rudess, admittedly also has more freedom; there's more types of keyboards and a wider variety of styles, but his annoying keyboard tone and style that he'll use with Dream Theater is also here, so that's a let-down. Surely, if you had bought the album in its time you wouldn't have considered this similar to Dream Theater, unfortunately I listened to most of Dream Theater's albums with Rudess before listening to this album, so my initial and main thoughts will always be that this sounds too much like Dream Theater from the 00s.

The main mistake Mike Portnoy did was to involve his band-mate, John Petrucci, in the project, not that he's a bad guitarist but if he have chosen another guitarist that doesn't have to do much with metal, this would have made the project a hell-lot more interesting, just like the Bozzio, Levin & Stevens super-group ended up being, another instrumental/jam band from the time.

As far as how this rates, the music per se is definitely not bad and I think that any Prog Metal fan could enjoy this in the very least. However, I don't consider this by any means superb or really interesting as it could have been, with the exception of Liquid Dream which is something completely fresh and that's what this band should have done, SOMETHING FRESH!

3 stars: probably the best thing, together with Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, that Dream Theater ever did with Jordan Rudess which is not saying much.

Report this review (#277564)
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars After the disappointing and, honestly, boring debut, side project Liquid Tension Experiment come back one year later with an excellent album, surprisingly.

While the first album was all technical virtuosity with absolutely no feelings, this album, even though it still exaggerates sometimes with the solos, is much more eclectic, intelligent, and with a more melodic section, and, I must say, much more cool sounding. Many moments are truly unforgettable, like the firing "Acid Rain", or the dynamic and epic "Another Dimension".

Actually, this album has everything an instrumental prog metal album should have: melody, but with interesting and catchy arrangements( the two mentioned songs, "914") long, strongly build songs,("When The Water Breaks") calm moments,("Hourglass", most of "Biaxident") weird, and creepy atmospheres ("Chewbacca"). "LTE 2" is indeed a huge melting pot of prog metal elements.

But I must admit, sometimes they go a little too far, especially in the long "When The Water Breaks", or even "Liquid Dreams", not so appealing as the others. Certainly, it could have been a little better, but the second effort of Portnoy, Petrucci, Rudess and Levin together as a group is definitely to consider and to admire.

Report this review (#330035)
Posted Monday, November 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Liquid Tension Experiment 2 is as good as its predecessor, an unquestioned masterpiece that is definitely in my top 10 progressive metal, and also in my heart.

Keeping the same lineup from the previous album, this album features more power and creative thoughts group is more mature, and there's improvisations and the relaxed atmosphere before-this album is a more serious and focused, although there is still a little humor here (the baby in "When the water breaks, "for example).

Each member gives a concert in their respective instrument, although I regret that Levin's bass is not as present as before (my only criticism about this album).

5 stars!

Report this review (#358967)
Posted Monday, December 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Liquid Tension Experiment blows their first album out of the water with their second release by creating one of the best instrumental rock albums of all time. While there are some tracks that are technically impressive progressive metal reminiscent of Dream Theater, overall, the album is groove after groove of eclectic, jazz-influenced rock. All the musicians are world-class, and LTE2 contains some of their best jams as a group. The first few tracks are primarily shorter progressive metal songs with various other influences mixed in, while the last few compositions are mostly longer jams. All of the tracks fit together perfectly in terms of balance on the album; there are enough catchy riffs and grooves to balance the more abstract sections of the longer tracks. It's a rare occurrence that an album can be extremely catchy and memorable while at the same time being technically mind-blowing and compositionally moving. However, Liquid Tension Experiment manages to bring all of these factors to levels of near perfection in their second release and pushes musical boundaries farther into new territory.

Rating: 9/10

Report this review (#392552)
Posted Wednesday, February 2, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Opting to call their second album "Liquid Tension Experiment 2" rather than give it a distinctive title was a sound call on the part of Liquid Tension Experiment, because like so many sequels the album is just like its predecessor, only more so.

On the plus side, there's no equivalent here of the extremely long Three Minute Warning improvisation from the first disc; all the music on here seems much more composed and there's little sign of the band just jamming away simply to fill up the CD. So if you wanted to love the first album but found yourself hitting "stop" as Three Minute Warning began you'll probably enjoy this one from beginning to end.

On the other hand, what's left is much the same as the composed material on the previous album - very technically flashy, little emotional depth or substance. If you're cool with that, add another star.

Report this review (#635031)
Posted Friday, February 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars The second album by the instrumental prog metal gurus sees a lot more focus than it's predecessor. The songs are overall more composed, but still retain a lot of the jazz element.

John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess really lay down some amazing riffs and melodies. Portnoy adds some powerful drum grooves that really spice up the songs. And of course, Tony Levin is a monster on the Chapman stick. What amazes me so much about this album is that these guys can be so technical while still keeping melody and flow.

The album is largely upbeat, fast, and technical. It is basically a combination of prog, metal, and jazz, but the variety is immense. You get the strong metal offerings of "Acid Rain" and "Another Dimension," the slower and jazzy "Liquid Dreams" and "Hourglass." And of course, the album isn't complete without epic longer songs, which can be found in my personal favorite "When the Water Breaks," and the creepy "Chewbacca."

Overall a very strong album from "The Instrumental Dream Theater" which should not be overlooked by DT fans or prog metal fans alike.


Report this review (#766691)
Posted Thursday, June 7, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Though certainly a lively set by four of the finest techies to ever pick up an instrument, what is best about the second LTE record is what is best about all alternative projects: the psychology of being a "different band" despite a same or similar lineup; some unspoken but tangible liberty felt by four pros who, one way or another, had found a way to make a pretty good living playing original music, had begun to feel the cold hand of style slowly tighten its hold on them, and wanted to do something about it. In that way the LTE project was mildly successful and Liquid Tension Experiment 2 turned out to be the superior of the various releases.

But it is not necessarily a great album, at least not in the normal sense. More an experience than a piece of work, the material is no better than from any number of first-rate rock/fusion outfits over the past forty years. In some ways, it reminds of Rick Wakeman's early days as a solo artist and the fun that is heard pouring out of those sessions. Steve Hackett, too. But, as is sometimes the case here, the compositions themselves may not be as important as the moment-- the event of four seasoned vets getting together for some low-pressure but, with luck, high-gain recordings that may prove to be more than the sum of its parts. Spontaneous invention within predesignated patterns is the order here, an art form that is not often done well but when witnessed, always leaves an impression. Petrucci stereo-pings his tricky 7-string riff to open 'Acid Rain' with Rudess right behind and Portnoy/Levin punching it all alive, this the boys' need for "a burner" on the album, "a blazing fury of notes and ideas" (an apt description of the whole set). 'Biaxident', really a sister piece to the opener, is forgiven its romantic uplift as it shifts to various sweet thematic variations with gorgeous solo breaks between piano and guitar, polished and large-sounding '914' recalls ELP circa '92, and the astro-rock of 'Another Dimension' is a pleasing ride through space with good symphonic arrangements and plenty of neat details and development.

At seventeen minutes, massive centerpiece 'When the Water Breaks' regales with layers of metal, building keyboard themes, playful drum/bass exchanges, bluesy diversions, Yngwie-like cosmic viking plunderings, vintage Lord/Blackmore-isms, gonking funk, before finally returning to the starting line. Superfluous 'Chewbacca' is a painful 13 minutes of not much, an experiment gone awry, but 'Liquid Dreams' is more promising with clean, dignified lines quietly tapering off into slightly sappy finisher 'Hourglass'.

What we don't have here is failure to communicate, and it is the sound of virtuosos who could spend all day & night simply playing together whether they knew what was coming at them around the corner or not. Which is to say it is a blast to listen to.

Report this review (#954113)
Posted Saturday, May 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars The second Liquid Tension Experiment album is a very similar affair to their first one, though this one only has one of those soft ballad kind of songs, it mainly has the full blown Prog Metal songs, and the improv ones. Once again I like better the metal ones, since I'm not so fond of improvs. However, my very favourite songs here, and the main reason to have this album, are "Acid Rain", and "Another Dimension", which are really spectacular. "Acid Raind" kind of reminds me of "Paradigm Shift" from the previous album, and "Another Dimension" is just heavy and excellent, with even an accordion section near the end of the song, which if not done righty would totally ruin the song, but in this case it's just great. The other great metal song would be the epic "When the Water Breaks", which is indeed very good, but perhaps a bit overlong and not as tight as the previous ones. And "Biaxident" would be for me the more boring (and softer) of the metal songs, though it still has some very good moments.

As I said, I'm not particularly a big fan of improvs, but I still can enjoy them, and this ones are rather nice, particularly "Chewbacca", which has a very nice hard rock riff. Not much more to say about then anyway. And the album ends with the only straight ballad, which once again is nice but nothing that I really crave to listen to.

Report this review (#1004235)
Posted Tuesday, July 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars 'Liquid Tension Experiment 2' picks up exactly where its predecessor left off, reuniting John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater, with Tony Levin of King Crimson and Jordan Rudess, who would join Dream Theater shortly after the release of this album. Noticeable immediately is how much more complete and richer this record sounds when compared to the bands first outing. Not as self-indulgent, nor full of improvised jams, the songs sound a lot more structured, organized and consistent.

As you would expect, the musicianship between the four members is astounding, with everyone being given ample opportunities to show off their skills. "Often imitated, rarely duplicated". Few artists have this kind of connection with one another. These guys are all masters of their respective instruments.

While this album is overall a stronger release than their debut, there are still a few weak tracks. In fact, it's the last three songs that slow things down a lot, as the first half, in particular, 'Biaxident', 'Another Dimension', 'When the Water Breaks' and in my opinion the groups finest work, 'Acid Rain', are all instrumental classics that are rife with incredible technical playing.

Of the two Liquid Tension Experiment albums, this is definitely the better one. Less pretentious than the first, 'Liquid Tension Experiment 2' is a fine slab of instrumental progressive metal. Fans of Dream Theater will no doubt need this in their collection, but it's diverse enough that even casual prog fans will enjoy it.

Report this review (#1774774)
Posted Thursday, August 24, 2017 | Review Permalink

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