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LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT

Progressive Metal • United States


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Liquid Tension Experiment biography
Liquid Tension Experiment had its genesis still in the year of 1996, when Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy was contected by Peter Morticelli (head of the label Magna Carta) and Mike Varney (vice president of the label Magna Carta) and was asked to, according to Portnoy, try and "put together a couple of Super Groups (for the lack of a better term!)",. In spite of declining the offer at first, he eventually agreed to assemble a super ensemble.

Many were the attempts to put the group together through most of 1997, but most of them failed due to one pivotal problem: they were lacking a member. Mike was able to recruit a bass player, who was Tony Levin, of King Crimson and Peter Gabriel's band fame, and a keyboard player, who was Jordan Rudess, which was playing with the jazz fusion group Dixie Dregs at the time, but there was still a guitarist missing. Every guitarist that was originally invited to be part of the group refused the offer due to conflicting schedules.

Finally, in the spring of 1997, Mike decided to invite John Petrucci, Dream Theater guitarist, to join Liquid Tension Experiment and, with his acceptance, the group was finally complete and ready to record their first album, the self titled Liquid Tension Experiment.

The idea, or the concept, of that album was to fully write, rehearse and record the whole thing in a week, and so it was done: from September 20 to September 25 of 1997 the whole process was successfully done and the album was released in the next year, in March of 1998.

The members of the band and Magna Carta were so satisfied with the results of the first endeavor that they decided to record yet another album. In late 1998 the band regrouped and in the span of two months wrote, rehearsed and recorded what would be their second album, entitled Liquid Tension Experiment 2. This time, just like with Liquid Tension's first album, it was released on the following year.

Nearly ten years after the disbandment of the Liquid Tension Experiment, in late 2007, a third studio album was released with new band material. The release entitled Liquid Trio Experiment had jam tracks from the band without John Petrucci, who was with his wife at the hospital expecting his child to be born at the time. Unlike the two previous studio albums, Liquid Trio Experiment was mostly ill received by critics and fans alike.

On the tenth anniversary of the release of their self titled album, Liquid Tension Experiment de...
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Liquid Tension Experiment 1Liquid Tension Experiment 1
Magna Carta 1998
Audio CD$10.56
$3.65 (used)
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Magna Carta 1999
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$5.02 (used)
Liquid Tension Experiment 2Liquid Tension Experiment 2
Magna Carta 2013
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VICTOR JAPAN
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2004
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Import · Remastered
King Japan 2011
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LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.80 | 333 ratings
Liquid Tension Experiment
1998
4.10 | 445 ratings
Liquid Tension Experiment 2
1999
2.14 | 84 ratings
Spontaneous Combustion
2007

LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.80 | 5 ratings
Testing for Tension - Live at the TLA
1999
2.17 | 20 ratings
When the Keyboard Breaks:Live in Chicago
2009

LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.18 | 39 ratings
Liquid Tension Experiment Live 2008 - Limited Edition Boxset
2009

LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.40 | 5 ratings
Mike Portnoy: Prime Cuts
2005

LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Liquid Tension Experiment 2  by LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.10 | 445 ratings

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Liquid Tension Experiment 2
Liquid Tension Experiment Progressive Metal

Review by Dellinger

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.

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 Liquid Tension Experiment  by LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.80 | 333 ratings

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Liquid Tension Experiment
Liquid Tension Experiment Progressive Metal

Review by Dellinger

4 stars This would almost be a Dream Theater instrumental release, and a very good one too. However, when it was released, it wasn't so close to DT's sound at the time, but it did give a hint of things to come once Jordan Rudess joined the band (mainly faster and and crazier keyboards than before, and somewhat less atmospheric). I guess this album can be divided in three kind of songs:

The metal proggy songs, which are by far the ones I enjoy the most, being my very favourite one "Paradigm Shift", which would resume what I like best of this album. In this category also fit "Kindred Spirits", "Freedom of Speech", and "Universal Mind".

Then there are the soft and light hearted songs, kind of included to give you a moment of breath after the other frenetic songs. I'm not really particularly fond of this songs, but they are still enjoyable.

And last is the "Three Minute Warning" songs, or song. This ones are mainly a long 30 + min improvisation jam. Now, I'm not really the biggest fan of improvs, mainly becaus it shows they could use a bit more work to polish them, and they hardly ever have strong melodies, and this one is not the exception, but it is still very enjoyable too, and anyone who is really fond of them should really give this one a listen.

I go with 4 stars with this, mainly because I find the metal songs really great, but the rest are just good, but not essential in my book.

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 Spontaneous Combustion by LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.14 | 84 ratings

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Spontaneous Combustion
Liquid Tension Experiment Progressive Metal

Review by BORA

2 stars Visionary - or just unemotional notes delivered in a professional manner?

Don't get me wrong, I have due respect to the combined talents involved. It's the end result of their delivery that leaves me cold, unimpressed. This work is as unemotional in a Prog sense as if the musicians were engaged to do just such experiment. In my opinion, they have succeeded.

I have long given up on King Crimson featuring Tony Levin, also on Bill Bruford on his plastic drums. No, thanks. That industrial approach just doesn't gel with me. Liquid Trio Experiment falls into the same category. Technically impeccable, musically a great flop.

Repetitive lines here bore me to be close to suicidal, Bill Laswell and crew can do much better, even on a "bad hair day"

In a stark contrast, the Bozzio, Levin, Stevens albums are a 5 star preference, challenging even Brand X in depth. and delivery. But this piece here is unlikely to receive a second spin.

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 Liquid Tension Experiment 2  by LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.10 | 445 ratings

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Liquid Tension Experiment 2
Liquid Tension Experiment Progressive Metal

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator 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.

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 Liquid Tension Experiment  by LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.80 | 333 ratings

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Liquid Tension Experiment
Liquid Tension Experiment Progressive Metal

Review by Mr. Mustard

4 stars With everything considered, Liquid Tension experiment is just Dream Theater with a bit of jazz fusion. After all, John Petrucci is the main force behind the compositions and the overall heavy sound they produce. This album is no different, but it does take a much different approach. It is obviously very jazzy, and has a lot of free-flowing jam elements as well. Like Dream Theater the musicianship is impeccable. Portnoy and Petrucci and Rudess do what they're best at while Tony Levin adds some melting bass lines.

'Paradigm Shift,' (9/10) 'Kindred Spirits,' (8/10) 'Freedom of Speech,' (9/10) and 'Universal Mind' (10/10) are all classic Dream Theater sounding songs.

The more experimental songs are 'Osmosis,' (5/10) the funky 'The Stretch' (6/10) and Chris and Kevin's Excellent Adventure.' (6/10)

Unfortunately they had to include 'Three Minute Warning' (3/10) which is really just a 30-minute jam session.

Other than that, this album is a lot of fun. The compositions are great and the jazziness is fine. Though I would say this effort is not as strong as their second, as they often lose focus especially in the last song.

7/10

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 Liquid Tension Experiment 2  by LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.10 | 445 ratings

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Liquid Tension Experiment 2
Liquid Tension Experiment Progressive Metal

Review by Mr. Mustard

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.

8/10

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 Spontaneous Combustion by LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.14 | 84 ratings

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Spontaneous Combustion
Liquid Tension Experiment Progressive Metal

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

3 stars First of all I would like to subscribe snobb's suggestion to place this album under an individual bandname because after all it's called Liquid Trio Experiment and not Liquid Tension Exp. And I also agree with him that if also placed in the jazzrock/fusion subgenre this album would get much more appreciation (and of course higher rating average). Because this is downright fusion and has nothing to do with prog metal. So far the introduction for this special output.

For that's what this is: a unique album which has nothing to do with the two fantastic releases by the other LTE (Liquid Trio Exp.+ John Petrucci). And it's obvious this one isn't mainly a product by Mike and John but has much more writing influence of Mr. Levin. Most of the stuff on here sounds most of all like LTE 2's albumtrack Chewbacca. A track that is often referred to as a typical King Crimson (= Levin) kind of composition. Very experimental and so is the majority of the tracks on Spontaneous Combustion.

Leaves me with a bit of a problem about the rating. Similar to KC's debut also this gives me a headache for that matter. Because I could give all 5 ratings for all sorts of reasons. For originality and progressiveness I could give 5 and for 100% my own taste expecting something like the two Liquid Tension albums I could just as well give 1 star. I think I will go right in between because that seems fair to me and does the most justice to my actual feelings for this piece of art. So 3 stars it is.

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 Liquid Tension Experiment  by LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.80 | 333 ratings

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Liquid Tension Experiment
Liquid Tension Experiment Progressive Metal

Review by Starhammer
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Send it to Barney, as it is...

When this album was recorded it featured only two members of Dream Theater; John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy. Since then Jordan Rudess has joined the band and Mike Portnoy has quit, so a 50% DT contingent remains! The quartet is completed by bass and Chapman stick player, Tony Levin of King Crimson and Peter Gabriel fame.

It pretty much goes without saying that the level of musicianship is phenomenal, and whilst it lacks vocals, this is to my mind is a positive. The main events include three pieces of ultra melodic, action packed prog metal (Paradigm Shift, Kindred Spirits and Universal Mind) and the improv jam, Three Minute Warning. Whilst the latter actually lasts closer to 28 minutes, it gets its name from the ultimatum given to the band by Tony Levin, who was growing impatient with the other members' meticulous approach to song writing. Other highlights include Chris and Kevin's Excellent Adventure and Freedom of Speech.

If the tracks already mentioned were the only tracks on this album, then I would be quite tempted to give it five stars. However, Osmosis and The Stretch feel rushed and out of place, whilst State of Grace is downright boring.

The Verdict: Overall, a cracking debut.

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 Liquid Tension Experiment  by LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.80 | 333 ratings

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Liquid Tension Experiment
Liquid Tension Experiment Progressive Metal

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars My affection for Dream Theater drew me to Liquid Tension Experiment and I expected something incredible with the likes of Tony Levin on bass, John Petrucci on guitar, Mike Portnoy on drums and Jordan Rudess on the keys. Instead the album comes across as a good diversion from the usual brilliance of Dream Theater. The album admittedly has some amazing musicianship but it is missing the magic that encompasses the Dream Theater albums. Labrie is missing of course and Myung is also absent. Without these members naturally it is far from Dream Theater, and I was underwhelmed overall.

The music dominates over every track and the highlights are definitely the amazing 'Universal Mind', that ends with a circus theme, and the massive epic 'Three Minute Warning' that runs for a whopping 28 minutes.

I enjoyed the weirdness of jazz infestation 'Chris and Kevin's Excellent Adventure' that brought back memories of that strange film, but the awful 'Osmosis' and 'The Stretch' really are filler songs to skip.

I would say that overall, the debut for Liquid Tension Experiment is a curio worth checking out but could have been so much better without all the filler tracks and with more brilliance and less experimentation.

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 Liquid Tension Experiment 2  by LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.10 | 445 ratings

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Liquid Tension Experiment 2
Liquid Tension Experiment Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

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.

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