LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT — Liquid Tension Experiment (review)

LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT — Liquid Tension Experiment album cover Album · 1998 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Warthur
Liquid Tension Experiment were a supergroup put together at the suggestion of the Magna Carta label, who thought it'd be cool to get Mick Portnoy and John Petrucci of Dream Theater together with Tony Levin and Jordan Rudess for some jamming. The end result is an interesting instrumental album which, when it really cooks, is actually pretty fascinating.

To a certain extent you're listening to Jordan Rudess' audition for Dream Theater here, because it was in these sessions that Portnoy and Petrucci decided that Jordan was what that band needed in the keyboardist's spot, but if you set that point of historical interest aside the album is pleasant but can have moments of being a bit unfocused. One of the best songs on the album, in fact, is Freedom of Speech, which dials back the improv and is more orchestrated and ends up being rather magnificent with it. (It's also the song where the fusion influence is perhaps least apparent.) On the flipside, the half hour long improv session of Three Minute Warning might be a fascinating insight into the band's working, but unless you have a lot of patience for fusion-influenced instrumental music your attention is likely to wane at points.

In fact, I used to be a bit more down on this album than I am, but I think I realised why: it's because I was listening to it wearing the wrong set of ears. Due to the strong Dream Theater connection, I was geared up to hope for prog metal, and judged from a metal-oriented perspective there's definitely issues. That said, I found I enjoyed it more if I persuaded myself to see it not as a prog metal album with fusion influence, but a fusion album with a bit more metallic bite than average. So shave off half a star to a whole star if you particularly dislike fusion, or prefer your prog metal to be emphatically prog METAL, but otherwise I think I sold this one a little short.
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Warthur wrote:
7 months ago
Dialed this one's rating up a bit because I think it's better than I gave it credit for - provided you manage your expectations carefully.
LittleBig wrote:
more than 2 years ago
LTE has never impressed me, as much as I like Dream Theater or Levin as bass player.
Diogenes wrote:
more than 2 years ago
This is such a hard album for me to listen to. Yeah, the chops are incredible, but it's just so boring. I do like "Universal Mind" though.
UMUR wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I completely agree with you on this one.

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