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Liquid Tension Experiment

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Liquid Tension Experiment Liquid Tension Experiment 2 album cover
4.11 | 639 ratings | 61 reviews | 43% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Acid Rain (6:35)
2. Biaxident (7:40)
3. 914 (4:01)
4. Another Dimension (9:50)
5. When the Water Breaks (16:58)
6. Chewbacca (13:35)
7. Liquid Dreams (10:48)
8. Hourglass (4:26)

Total Time 73:53

Line-up / Musicians

- John Petrucci / guitar
- Jordan Rudess / keyboards
- Tony Levin / bass, Chapman Stick
- Mike Portnoy / drums, percussion

Releases information

ArtWork: Paul La Raia (photo)

CD Magna Carta - MAX-9035-2 (1999, US)

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LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT Liquid Tension Experiment 2 ratings distribution

(639 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(43%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(34%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT Liquid Tension Experiment 2 reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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!

Review by richardh
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!
Review by Menswear
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.

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by 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.

Review by imoeng
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 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!!

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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

Review by OpethGuitarist
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.

Review by 1800iareyay
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 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+

Review by b_olariu
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

Review by russellk
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.

Review by Flucktrot
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.

Review by 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.
Review by progrules
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.

Review by ProgBagel
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.

Review by Garion81
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by 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.

Review by LiquidEternity
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.

Review by crimson87
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.

Review by CCVP
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.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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)

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by 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.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
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.

Review by Warthur
4 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. For my part, whilst I've warmed to the debut album recently, I still think the composed material on it is better than Three Minute warning, so a follow-up which avoids the unfocused jamming and concentrates on more carefully-constructed material suits me just fine.

What you get here is much the same sort of thing you get in the composed material on the previous album - very technically flashy, to a point where it is easy to overlook the emotional depth and deeper substance involved (as I certainly did until the album ended up growing on me), and distinct enough from Dream Theater's own material but still close enough to that sonic universe that it will appeal to fans of them.

After this, Portnoy and Petrucci's long-term plan to recruit Jordan Rudess as a full-time member of Dream Theater would come to fruition, and the Liquid Tension Experiment would go dormant for a good long while, at least in terms of their studio endeavours. (The related Liquid Trio Experiment studio album, Spontaneous Combustion, consists of improvised jams played during the studio time booked out for Liquid Tension Experiment 2 when John Petrucci had to dash out to assist his wife as she was entering premature labour.) A couple decades and a plague later, and the unit would return, but this was a damn fine note to rest on - albeit one which it took me a good while to fully appreciate.

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.

Review by Dapper~Blueberries
4 stars More progressive supergroup reviews? You know it! I have been wanting to listen to this group for a bit of a while now and to be honest I do not feel like giving an in-depth history of this group because at the end of the day the factoids can be researched yourself. Just note it is a group made up of Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater, Tony Levin of King Crimson (funny how a lot of supergroups have members of King Crimson in them), Jordan Rudess of Dixie Dregs, and John Petrucci also of Dream Theater. Together they formed Liquid Tension Experiment, which from the name was a big experiment, with each of their albums taking a week to record, giving them a fast-paced attitude. This is their second effort, but despite this being my first effort with this band, I can safely say they do not disappoint.

Like how the album begins, we'll jump straight in, starting with Acid Rain. While most progressive metal outfits would have the first song be some build-up to themes that would be later reintroduced in the album's run, due to Liquid Tension Experiment's instrumental force in their music it'd be quite useless to make some form of a build-up. They push you right into the pit instead of letting you sit ideally in the balcony seats. As an appreciation for good instrumental music, having the album start like this allows it to immediately grow into its forefront as something to appreciate. You can tell these are highly trained and well-versed musicians, embracing the more technical side of progressive rock that was embraced by bands like Yes long ago. A really good start for this album.

Acid Rain was merely a warm-up for the swarm of impressive songs on here, starting with Biaxident. This is where they embrace that more retro progressive rock sound that was popular in the 90s with Spock's Beard and The Flower Kings, but obviously in a progressive metal stance. You can feel some of that Dream Theater charm in this one, with a guitar and piano taking lead, creating charming melodies and riffs that are as impressive as they are head-boppingly great. It is very fun, very retro, but still very metal.

I haven't mentioned Tony Levin's bass work yet, but his work on this album, specifically 914, is the cream of the crop, as you'd expect from the beautiful bald bass god himself. He has this rhythmic beauty in his playing that makes his work effort much more rewarding. You can feel his bassy goodness wash all over the album, especially in this song where it is basically in the front lines, having this crisp and golden sound that is so good that I can almost bite into it and absorb all of its flavors. Tony's a master at bass and this song is a front-seat example of why.

If you want some of that Dream Theater Metal then you've come to the right place. Another Dimension has you covered with that Dream Theater goodness vibes, obviously without the singing of Kevin LaBrie. As someone who loves Dream Theater for their instrumentals more than the vocals (not saying Kevin is a bad singer), but I have always preferred the instrumentation of Dream Theater more than the actual vocal arrangements, so this having the vibes and sounds of Dream Theater without it being Dream Theater makes this quite the bonus. It is a great track that doesn't overstay its welcome, being just shy of 10 minutes. It is a fun, and highly enjoyable track.

So while the first 4 were all good, the album has a problem, and that is it is very top-heavy. The second batch of songs, while still enjoyable, definitely has some give-or-take aspects within them, with the first example being the 16-minute epic of When The Water Breaks. I think for what it is, it is a perfectly fine epic. It gets the job done, but I don't get the feeling of movement in it. Things do change and some parts I think are very enjoyable, especially the part at 10:48 through 11:55 where we get more amazing bass work from Tony and a sort of Emerson Lake and Palmer-type keyboard work. It is really fun and plays into the band's joyous filled nature. However, where I think it falls flat is that I never feel like it goes anywhere; stuck inside a box that rarely budges. For me, what makes a great progressive rock slash metal slash' any song that is 15 minutes and up is the sense of movement. Say for example, and I know this is an odd example, Music For 18 Musicians by Steve Reich. Despite that song being 56 minutes and extremely minimalistic, you can still feel a sense of movement and a constantly shifting form, leaving the listener guessing what's next despite it still being one song. For me, When The Water Breaks doesn't have this sense of movement, which I think is needed in every progressive rock epic no matter what. Where I can say drone metal and ambient music can get away with it since, you know, they are drone and ambient, this is a progressive metal song so I cannot help but feel a tad disappointed not experiencing that drive through the music.

This also stays true to the more experimental piece of Chewbacca. Now where I felt When The Water Breaks was a bit too unmoving, this is the same deal except it feels strangely unmoving in a different light. Despite it being 13 minutes, it feels way longer, and dare I say, a bit too drawn out. As someone who loves longer stretches of music, I have gained an innate sense of insight into whether or not a song is too long or too short. For me, this song is a perfect example of how it is to be way too long. I think the song ended perfectly at 5:35, and from then it would be a great song filled with bassy hooks, great rhythm, and great guitar works, but they felt the need to continue and I think it shot themselves in the foot trying to continue. I think the more experimental section of the song is fine, nothing special, but I think sometimes I think trying to be big when the second half is very less than formed makes me wish they'd just make this short and sweet.

Funnily this second half is filled with longer songs, with Liquid Dreams being 10 minutes in length. Now, this is an interesting diversion from the progressive metal sound. We get more of a minimalistic sound that feels like a combination of jazz fusion, beach music, progressive pop, and minimalism, which ends up being a pretty weird, but strangely enjoyable experience. This is 100% the star of the second half of the album, being experimental enough for it to be a nice change of pace, but not to the point where it feels unneeded. They struck a balance here, and I think they put their all into making this simple, yet highly impressive melody play out. This is what I love about progressive metal, it is never just one thing for every song. Sometimes it is good to lay down your heavy guitars and just chill out for a hot second. It is a nice showcase of what can work when you experiment with new styles.

The album ends off with the shortest track on here, Hourglass. It is an acoustic melody that while short, is sweet. I think while I may not appreciate the first half as much as the second, I cannot deny that they haven't had fun making this. Their energy was on point no matter what they tried, which I think goes to show why progressive metal is so fun. It can bring the most unexpected people together under the umbrella of music, and while this may not be my favorite album, I can see why it can be someone. I might not fully understand it, but I can get it.

2nd serving can always be a mixed grab bag, especially when it is the 1st serving for some, but I think this album held up well, despite its few shortcomings. I think if you love Dream Theater but want an instrumental take on their music, or just want some groovy progressive metal then this album can be for you. Check it out if you have the time because it is an interesting experience.

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Report this review (#2530274) | Posted by luisM. | Tuesday, March 30, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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 mo ... (read more)

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Report this review (#392552) | Posted by Earendil | Wednesday, February 2, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 i ... (read more)

Report this review (#358967) | Posted by voliveira | Monday, December 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#229224) | Posted by Kassimatis | Friday, July 31, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 i ... (read more)

Report this review (#221379) | Posted by mel from hell | Tuesday, June 16, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 ri ... (read more)

Report this review (#199068) | Posted by JgX 5 | Wednesday, January 14, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 pre ... (read more)

Report this review (#145700) | Posted by progeater | Thursday, October 18, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#124298) | Posted by weaverinhisweb | Friday, June 1, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 lik ... (read more)

Report this review (#114993) | Posted by petrica | Tuesday, March 13, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 becau ... (read more)

Report this review (#112329) | Posted by | Friday, February 16, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#110483) | Posted by kickflipthecat | Friday, February 2, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 k ... (read more)

Report this review (#95163) | Posted by | Thursday, October 19, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 intro ... (read more)

Report this review (#84495) | Posted by dagrush | Saturday, July 22, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#82387) | Posted by AcostaFulano | Saturday, July 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#75159) | Posted by Progdrummer05 | Sunday, April 16, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 sing ... (read more)

Report this review (#70656) | Posted by TheLamb | Monday, February 27, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#61443) | Posted by Black Max | Friday, December 23, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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