Liquid Tension Experiment is an instrumental supergroup consisting of Dream Theater without the vocalist and a different bassist. Made up of eight tracks with nothing being below four minutes, LTE2 is a wonderful instrumental rock album. There's solos abound, and good melodies to be found.
The first song, Acid Rain
starts the album off strong with an intro featuring a guitar riff and quick hits on the hi-hats. Then the bass and keyboards come in and things change a little before they go into full force mode. Double bass fires away as a wonderful keyboard riff is pounded out. Things change again as a solo blares away, which leads into a repeat of the first change. Some keyboard twiddling leads into a chunky riff from Petrucci and is followed with bass 'n' drum action accented by some guitar notes. Those guitar notes grow into a solo of sorts as the rest of the band chug away. Another heavy riff leads into a good, lengthy keyboard solo. The riff underneath changes a bit and then more double bass rears it's head, courtesy Portnoy. The swapping of high notes between keyboard and guitar end one of the best songs on the album.
Some relaxing piano begin Biaxident
, another strong track. The other instruments join in and twiddle for a few seconds, which leads into some melodic work from all sans drums. Some hat work follows, as the melody continues. Then it goes into riff mode, and sounds more Dream Theater-ish. A solo of sorts begins, which goes to more keyboard work and into another solo. More Petrucci riff, and then more Rudess keys. Next is a return to the first rock riff. The song changes yet again into a nice, smooth guitar solo. A piano solo follows. Another melodic part ensues and then theres more soloing. Solo solo solo. These guys like to solo. Things speed up a bit now, with nice keyboard work. A killer guitar solo ends the song.
Up next is 914
, lead with some bass and drums, and then brings in keyboard. This is the shortest song on the album, but that's not to say it's not good. The slow grooving goes on for a while, 'til things change slightly with some almost clicky type sounds. More keyboard and the same bassline and drums lead on. Eventually the keyboard gets more solo-ish, until things mellow out even more towards the end.
starts with simple guitar twiddling and leads into some bass-age, courtesy Mr. Levin, which goes into the riffing and drum-thumping. Then our good friend Mr. Rudess brings his keys into the mix, which turn into a solo (surprise surprise). The riff gets a little heavier, while the solo gets more high-pitched. Then things get a little slower and the solo turns into guitar. Now it's keyboard time again, and the riff goes to slightly heavier mode again, until it mellows out again shortly. Heavy mode comes back as the keys disappear and Portnoy smacks his ride bell a few good times before Rudess come back. Things die down for a minute with some guitar twiddling, then bass and drums return. There's some tom work and then the ride-pinging comes back. A little acoustic sounding line flys by and things change pace. It sounds almost like something you'd hear in... an Italian restaurant. Some more acoustic-y guitar add nicely after the keyboard goes missing. This doesn't last long as guitar goes back into heavy mode, with soloing around him and double bass backing him up. A nice chunky riff goes with some drums, and then Levin adds some much needed bass. Some high-pitched guitar squealing comes in, and then back to good ol' heavy riff mode. Things come to an abrupt halt, and someone says "Yea, baby, yea!"
A baby crying starts off When the Water Breaks
, the longest song, at about seventeen minutes. There's some very soothing piano work, but then things go into riffing mode. Petrucci solos it up, with some accompanying keys. Everything sort of dies then, and slowly comes back together with good keys and drum work. A good speedy solo comes in, and goes into mellow mode with some hat chokes thrown in for good measure. Things die again with only Levin's lone bass left standing. Everyone else comes back in, and eventually goes into metal riff mode again. They jam for a while and there's a solo to break things up. Keyboard solo now, with Petrucci fiddling around in the background as Portnoy and Levin keep steady pace. Change of pace (again) as there's double bass and some riffing. More keyboard over soloing as things slow down a bit. Alas, double bass returns! But only momentarilly, as keyboard solos return, and then go away. Bass and drums go for a bit and Rudess and Petrucci return at the same time. They fiddle around for a good bit here. A baby's cry returns as things change a bit. More wankery until they move into the melodic side of things. Heavier, it goes now, and speaking like Yoda, I am. Still heavier, with riffing, it goes. The end is marked by an old time-y sounding piano part. It's good stuff, and this song is long.
The next song, Chewbacca
, starts with some fiddling around, but eventually grows into some solid drumming with guitar over top of it. A short solo grows from that, then goes back to the main riff with a long solo afterward. Some good bass work underneath doesn't hurt either. Eventually the soloing stops while the drumming, bassing, and keying continue. Guitar returns and they run with it for a while. Now it's time to trade high notes between sides until things die down. It's some slow tom work with guitar on top until Levin joins in. Another change occurs as the drum beat changes with the slow-ness intact. Everything starts off slow after a cease of the previous melody. They slowly build with drums becoming louder and bass covering the top while keys are plinked along. Everyone speeds up a bit gradually, until double bass and some riffing come in. Some high-pitched squeeling back up a short solo, then everyone exits but the drums. They return shortly thereafter, and return to the riff used previously with a solo in the midst. Towards the end, everything slows down a little at a time, until it reaches a grinding halt and there's nothing left but Portnoy's ride.
is up next, and is my favorite track. It starts with some lone smooth piano which is later joined with some ride and bass. Shortly after, the piano changes and drives this part of the song with Levin and his bass to back it up. Portnoy starts riding a china cymbal as the piano changes into a solo of sorts. This part is quite enjoyable, and one of my favorite parts on the album (on up there with the keyboard riff on Acid Rain). After a few minutes the piano goes away and is replaced some strange synth noises. This is later followed with what sounds like a xylophone solo, but I'm convinced is more than likely one of many keyboard effects. This
moment is my favorite of the entire album. Afterward, a slow keyboard solo comes in, slow at first, but then gets a little faster and more... solo-ish. Things slow down now, with some more soothing piano work. This, too, goes away and is replaced with bass and little keyboard-y accents. The song fades away from this and ends in silence.
The last track is the slowest, and my least favorite. Hourglass
begins with some strummed guitar and is joined with some piano. Bass joins in the background and things continue almost as they began. Everything slowly chugs along, sans drums, which remain absent for the length of the song. They slowly fade out and end in the album with an unnecessary track.
Overall, this is a good record. It's got some great music and solos within, and doesn't really get repetitive or bland. Fans of Dream Theater will definitely want to check this out, and fans of instrumental rock should find something to love.
(+)The music here is top-notch
(+)Solos are done quite well
(-)Some songs are too long, and would've been just as good if shorter
(-)At times there may be too many
(?)What's with the song title 914? You're trying to get us to love the Devil, aren't you!? I'm onto your subliminal messages. Don't believe me? Read: 9+1=10 10-4=6 It's track three. What's three sixes? 666. Satanists!!
1. Acid Rain -6:35 (All songs written by Liquid Tension Experient)
2. Biaxident -7:41
3. 914 -4:01
4. Another Dimension -9:50
5. When the Water Breaks -16:57
6. Chewbacca -13:35
7. Liquid Dreams -10:50
8. Hourglass -4:25