Liquid Tension Experiment - Liquid Tension Experiment 2

Year of Release: 1999
Label: Magna Carta
Catalog Number: MA 9035-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 72:33:00

Exactly two seconds. That is all it takes to know that the second output from Liquid Tension Experiment really deserves to become "pick of the crop." Simply titled 2, the band continues to work on the musical possibilities they broached during their first collaboration. It now sounds as if the members have experimented less, more as if they had the rough sketch of this album in the back of their minds before they entered the studio. Now that keyboard player Jordan Rudess has become a permanent member of Dream Theater it means LTE is now three-quarters Dream Theater! As an added bonus bass player Tony Levin comes to the fold.

The power with which drummer Mike Portnoy attacks his drums in "Acid Rain" really illustrates the joie de vivre these guys had during the recording of this gem. The way with which Portnoy halts the rhythm for a fraction of a second before getting back into the right rhythm by means of a powerful crash on the smallest cymbal illustrates his unique talent. In between the double bass drum, Jordan Rudess intertwines his synth solos with John Petrucci's wall of guitar. Bass legend Tony Levin stood aside, looked at how things evolved and then put his original stamp onto it all. The recording of an LTE album isn't always a smooth ride, as illustrated by Petrucci being taken to the hospital with an enormous headache. To soothe the pain he was given some Biaxin and in a flash the song "Biaxident" was born. With a salsa-like rhythm from Jordan, combined with some bluesy guitar, the song evolves towards a strong Yes-like finish, reminding us of the bombastic finale of "Starship Trooper" (which in turn was 'nicked' from Steve Howe's pre-Yes band Bodast). Levin is the man behind the dark, sinister bass in "914" that sort of alternates with the music box sound of Rudess. Compared with the first LTE offering, it is apparent that more sounds are being used here, creating a much wider musical spectrum. Levin, the only man sleeping with his Chapman stick, creates some weird sounds in "Another Dimension," whilst the rest of the band tries to team up with him. Only a band like LTE can switch from heavy power rock to a Mediterranean feel even including accordion and flamenco guitar all in one go! And it works perfectly steering towards a murdering end.

During the recording of this musical inferno Petrucci's wife gave birth to their third child. Right in the middle of a song, John was rushed to the hospital. The song "When The Water Breaks" was therefore an obvious choice. It includes some lyrical guitar playing, sort of an embodiment of Kiara, the new life. With its 16:58 running time, this song manoevres between intimate and "out-of-your-head" parts. When you listen carefully to Portnoy, you might ask yourself whether the guy hasn't had an extra arm sown on? (maybe the one from the Def Leppard drummer?) [Well, that was insensitive - p.c. ed]. With Petrucci running from one place to the other in order to find the right colour of sugarplums and the right color of roses for his wife, three of our four friends remained in the studio. Because the studio was already booked it would have been a sin not to use the studio time, so our friends did some jams. One of them is "Chewbacca," which had Petrucci adding some guitar overdubs later thanks to the help of Pat Thrall. Thrall has Petrucci using his Pro Tools during another jam called "Liquid Dreams," which in some views has a certain similarity to the more experimental work of Peter Gabriel. The album ends with the proof that the collaboration between Petrucci and Rudess goes ever so smoothly. "Hourglass" is a wonderful composition in all of its acoustic simplicity: guitar and piano with just the right amount of chords to make 2 one of the most important releases of its time. By means of including producer Kevin Shirley, Liquid Tension Experiment has become the alter ego of Dream Theater. I don't think that should be a problem. Do you?

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

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

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

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: March 1st 2000
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Hits: 1117
Language: english


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