Liquid Tension Experiment - Liquid Tension Experiment

Year of Release: 1998
Label: Magna Carta
Catalog Number: MA-9023-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 73:54:00

Liquid Tension Experiment are Tony Levin (basses, stick), John Petrucci (guitars), Mike Portnoy (drums), and Jordan Rudess (keys). My initial reaction was Wow! Sure, I knew these guys could play, and play well, but ... this, their self-titled "debut" is one outstanding disk (to say debut seems out of place, as all four are seasoned performers).

An album of many moods, it kicks off with the in-your-face speed metal punch of "Paradigm Shift," a track of many different tempos, not surprisingly, including a Middle Eastern-like refrain three quarters of the way in. "Osmosis" slows the pace considerably with its third-world feel, not unlike some of the less atmospheric, more rhythmic work of Steve Roach. Portnoy's drumming here is light and airy, mostly brushed symbols and what may be kettle drums.

"Kindred Spirit" and "Freedom Of Speech" move into the melodic hard rock realm, with just enough flourishes to prove once again that these are no ordinary, run-of-the-mill musicians. This is what instrumental music should be - expressive, open, and interesting.

"Freedom" is beautifully played, and Rudess' keys can clearly be heard on this track. They aren't quite as prominent on the others, but imagining the tracks without his playing would leave them lacking. Petrucci's playing here is simply beautiful.

I'm more impressed with Petrucci and Portnoy's work here than on their latest Dream Theater release (Falling Into Infinity). Perhaps the energy lacking there is why there is so much here. Like that disk, this was produced by Kevin Shirley, who has done a much better job here on sound dynamics and balance.

Rudess is even more prominent on the keys/guitar duet "State Of Grace," another extremely beautiful, elegant composition.

One of the shortest tracks here is the funky "The Stretch" at 2 minutes - Levin's bass is fat and bouncy here, Rudess' keys playful. This is fun track. The other short one is the quite different and very playful jam "Chris and Kevin's Excellent Adventure" - a duet with Levin and Portnoy.

Having highlighted four of the first half of the album, I leave it to you, the listener, to discover the rest of the album - which mostly consists of the multi-track tour-de-force extravaganza called "Three Minute Warning."

This is another winner for the Magna Carta label and makes it a near three way tie for my best of the 1997/1998 release year, and this just may edge out the other two for the top spot.

Paradigm Shift (8:54) / Osmosis (3:36) / Kindred Spirits (6:29) / The Stretch (2:00) / Freedom Of Speech (9:19) / Chris and Kevin's Excellent Adventure (2:21) / State Of Grace (5:01) / Universal Mind (7:53) / Three Minute Warning (28:21)

Tony Levin - basses and stick
John Petrucci - guitars
Mike Portnoy - drums
Jordan Rudess - keyboards

Liquid Tension Experiment (1998)
Liquid Tension Experiment 2 (1999)

Genre: Progressive/Power Metal

Origin US

Added: August 11th 1998
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Hits: 983
Language: english


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