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coverpic flag US - New York - Full Moon 34 - 07/28/99

Liquid Tension Experiment
Liquid Tension Experiment 2
Magna Carta

Just plain sick. That's the short and easy way to describe these four great musicians and the music they make.

Guitarist John Petrucci and drummer Mike Portnoy, both of Dream Theater. Keyboardist Jordan Rudess, who has joined Dream Theater after recording this disc. And bass legend Tony Levin, the reason why you move your feet when you listen to a Peter Gabriel song. They all got together to record a "supergroup" project for Magna Carta Records, and the first L.T.E. CD, released March last year, was a success both musically and commercially. The hard, progressive instrumental music went over well, it seems!

So they got together again last autumn, to see if they could repeat the experiment. Did they ever!

Kicking off with Acid Rain, the guys show the listener no mercy whatsoever, no warning, they just let it rip right away. Fast, wild, furious. John Petrucci in particular gets a workout here, and as he writes in the liner notes, it's some of his fastest playing ever. Which brings me to an important point about Liquid Tension Experiment: There's no law against showing that you know how to play your instrument. They make absolutely no excuses about it.

This doesn't mean that the CD is a 74-minute shred-fest, though. There are quieter moments to be found. Even within the framework of a heavy number like Another Dimension there is room for some acoustic guitar - and a nice keyboard solo with an accordion sound! The ending though, is one of the heaviest pieces of music they've ever written!

When the Water Breaks is another interesting track, which goes through a lot of changes during the 17 minutes it lasts. Some really wild riffs with about 200 different twists and turns, and lots of jamming and soloing makes it interesting throughout the entire song.

There are some slower paced stuff towards the end of the CD. Liquid Dreams is an improvised jam that shows the four musicians taking a slightly slower approach to things - "Yes we can play slowly!" And finishing off the CD is Hourglass - a beautiful Rudess/Petrucci duet that rounds out the collection of songs in a lovely way, making sure that you're not completely exhausted. You're ready to go one more time!

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