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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
I love this album so very much. These guys are true virtuosos of their instruments. I love every track, particularly the huge opening track "Paradigm Shift", the wild "Kindred Spirits", and the over-active and heartlessly indulgent "Universal Mind". This group has no notion of humility whatsoever, but they can pump out one heck of an album. My reviews of each track:
1."Paradigm Shift"-A chop-heavy speedplay of lighthearted madness. Delicious.
2."Osmosis"-EXTREMELY groovy, relaxing track. The name suits it well. A real treat to listen to.
3."Kindred Spirits"-A rocker's delight, pretty heavy stuff, but very beautiful and melodic. A grand exposition of eveyone's talents.
4."The Stretch"-Another groovy, swinging track. Not nearly as soothing and relaxing as "Osmosis", but very cool and fun to listen to.
5."Freedom of Speech"-Nine minute anthem with some beautiful keyboard work, and some impressive guitar solos, but nothing mindblowing. Not bad, just not as spectacular as the rest of the album.
6."Chris and Kevin's Excellent Adventure"-Cool, short, groovy, yet still edgy. The overdubbed whistling was a nice touch.
7."State of Grace"-Another slow anthem. Worst track here. Once again, Rudess's keyboards shine, but the track seems a bit cold and boring.
8."Universal Mind"-My personal favorite track. It's fast, indulgent, heavy, and active. Not for the faint of heart.
9-13."Three Minute Warning"-A HUGE twenty eight minute long jam session. The warning on the back of the CD should provide sufficient information on the tracks. You're guaranteed to like at least part of it. It's awesome, but a bit rough.
That's it. Anyone looking for an awesome instrumental album will love this. It's just...EXCELLENT! A real masterpiece of prog-metal virtuosity.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2001
This instrumental album is one of the greatest that I've ever heard. It's just absolutely amazing. The album opens with a blast of music that shows just how fast those guitars, keyboards and drums can go. "Paradigm Shift" continues with a bunch of unison runs bewteen Petrucci and Rudess. The entire song features solo after solo between the keyboards and guitar. And the drum part just stays right in there with it all. "Osmosis" is based around the bass part and everyone else jamming on it. It's a nice song that drastically contrasts the first piece. "Kindred Spirits" is a guitar-led piece that is pretty cool. The next piece, "The Stretch," is the shortest on the album, but it's cool. The song has Rudess soloing over a drum and bass groove. "Freedom of Speech" is the "power-ballad" of the album. It has a very Dream Theater-sound to it. Good stuff. The next song is my favorite. "Chirs and Kevin's Excellent Adventure." It really shows the band's sense of humor, having a drum and bass riff with "vocal overdubs" that are just goofy. I really like it. "State of Grace" is a guitar-keyboard duet that is very good. "Universal Mind" is another speed-demon piece. Fast and furious, with such a cool ending.
With having less than a week to write and record the whole album (Sept 20 through Sept 25, 1997), the epic of this project ends up being a 28:31-long jam session that was recorded and included in its entirety. This entire piece was improvised, starting off with the guys just messing around with stuff. Nothing really starts until the drum beat gets put down, then the keyboards get into it. The guitar comes in as the jam continues. Part 2 starts with a guitar lead that the rest build off of. The music dies down, but only until the drums start again with another groove. And I think that beat involves Portnoy playing 5's with the bass while keeping a good snare beat on 2 and 4. Part 3 is another change, building into a cool guitar solo. It's amazing how the guitars and keyboards are able to stay together despite all of these changes. Part 4 is cool, too. It starts with a keyboards solo over a cool groove, then it's time for another great guitar solo. Part 5 starts out slower, with good keyboard part. Then the guitars and bass drum start trading rhythms. The question-answer part between the guitar and keyboard is just amazing. The jam session ends as it starts, in a note-filled nebula of sound. "I believe that will suffice for a record. Alright, send it to Varney. As is."
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 1999
To think there are humans behind the instruments in this album is impossible. To dream theater's fans this album will full-fill all your selves and you'll find Mike and John playing in a way absolutely different to DT's albums. The album opens with a thunderous sound of drums, keyboards and guitar going so fast you'll hardly think a human being could be able to play like that....it's called "Paradigm Shift", a heavy track full of solos and heavy rythms, it then settles a more gentle pace with a guitar solo. Suddenly it changes into an arabian riff, and it ends as it begins. (Mike Portnoy is unbelievable in this one) "Osmosis", is a 3 minute song with a strange percussion, and a sort of caribbean sound though not Reggae, nice fillings provided by Petrucci's guitars complete the track. The third track "kindred Spirits" starts rockin' with a guitar followed by Tony's bass. Beautiful harmony in this track, with a piece where a fast keyboard solo is followed in the same way by a guitar solo. Some piano is used in the middle of the song. It ends with a quick-paced rythm with everyone riffin'. "the stretch": an improvisation by Mike, Tony and Jordan....sort of funky bass lines here, cool drums and a keyboard solo. the track only lasts 2 minutes. You then get to listen the incredible "freedom of Speech", a piano intro is followed by a perfect guitar solo. The track changes to a sort of heavy rythm, but keeps the piano background, which makes the song so hearted, a series of guitar, keyboard and organ solos are found towards the end of the song, which is finished by a piano melody. "Chris And Kevin's excellent adventure" shows what a drum set and a bass can do. Completely improvised by Mike and Tony, funky riffs cover the drum background provided by Mike. "State Of Grace" is a nice ballad by John and Jordan. Beautiful piano notes are the background for a guitar solo/rythm. Nice one. Then we have "Universal Mind", again twin fast solos (john and Jordan together) open this track, a heavy riff is reached which is filled by I think 8 solos (maybe more) alternating from John to Jordan (some piano, some keyboards), abruptly ending in a piano melody all alone, which is then transformed to a drums & bass funky rythm. Then they all play together (quite fast), and ends in a nice old tune. Three Minute Warning"------------- see for yourself! Enjoy it cause it's quite a Blast! DVB
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2000
Friends, don't let today's amoral popular culture force disposable "rock" music (if you can call Limp Biscuit and Blink 182 "rock" music) down your throats. Buy music made by musicians. If you get your kicks listening to pointless stuff with violent, unprovocative lyrics, then go ahead and listen to that other stuff. But if you want to listen to a band that doesn't need to offend and be obnoxious to show that it has real "balls," then listen to the instrumentalist group Liquid Tension Experiment and their mother project, Dream Theater, both of whom can write and play music like it's nobody's business. And lest you think progressive music does not have heart and soul: 1) You might know a lot about popular culture and the latest fashion trends, but you know nothing about music and 2) You haven't listened to Liquid Tension Experiment or Dream Theater.
My friends, thank you all, and good wishes to all of you fine souls.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2000
When I first heard LTE I was blown away by the preciseness and talent of the group. The songs are constructed in such a way that each one flows through several different "genres" without the feeling that they were just thrown together. Each song sounds as though it was finely tuned for weeks in advance. What makes this even more impressive is the fact that this album was conceived, written and recorded in only five days!
The artists involved are incredible. Mike Portney and Tony Levin do an excellent job in building a solid foundation for all the songs while John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess switch back and forth between rhythm and lead (although Tony Levin does get several opportunities to be in the spotlight). My personal favorite tracks are "Kindred Spirits", "Freedom of Speech" and "Universal Mind". "Three Minute Warning" is an amazing 27 minute jam that was simply added to the end of the album. No retakes, no overdubs.
I guess what I'm trying to say is this album is a masterpiece. No musician or music appreciator should be without this CD.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2006
I agree with "geddysciple" that LTE (and, consequently, Dream Theater) produce incredible music that sound superhuman. However, the seventh track, "State of Grace," is perhaps the most significant piece that the group has put out. It is satisfying in almost every way. Given that the group's standard is powerful, exuberant progressive rock, it is all the more satisfying to hear that LTE can produce a heartfelt, emotional ballad in the form of "State of Grace." John Petrucci's song-length solo is played with such feeling that I cannot for the life of me understand why someone would opt to name this track as "a bit cold and boring."
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2005
Many DREAM THEATER side projects have surfaced in the past few years but arguably LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT may well be one of the most interesting of the lot. Featuring nothing but complete virtuosos of their own instruments, this first venture (of two) is an highly experimental album made not only of full band compositions but also of duets and jams, showing all the musicianship of these four guys. And these are none other than Mike Portnoy, John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess (nowadays comprising more than half of DREAM THEATER) aswell as bass demigod Tony Levin (of KING CRIMSON and PETER GABRIEL fame).

LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT is the result of one insane week back in the summer of 1997, when Magna Carta decided it'd be a good thing to form a supergroup and that Mike Portnoy would be the right guy to bring it to life. Originally meant to have Jens Johansson (of STRATOVARIUS) on keyboards instead of Rudess and Billy Sheehan (DAVID LEE ROTH, MR.BIG) instead of Levin, that lineup turned out to be a no-go. Fans of DREAM THEATER probably thank the heavens for that considering the realization of this project was probably one of the main reasons why Jordan Rudess turned out to become a full-time member of DREAM THEATER.

As I said before, this is an album of experimentation, the perfect instrumental showcase for the virtuostic element among these four musicians, with whom a simple jam or the discovery of a cool "groove" or bass line can spark an entire song. Except for a few very sparse vocal overdubs in one track, this is entirely an instrumental record. Some cuts on here are full band compositions while others are simply live jamming and improvisations which eventually got developed into fully fledged songs.

So, LTE can range from very technical, fast and assaulting ("Paradigm Shift", "Universal Mind"), to soothing ("Osmosis", "The Stretch"), to rocking ("Kindred Spirits"), to highly improvised and experimental of which "Three Minute Warning", an over 28-minute piece broken down into five parts is clearly the ultimate example. The fact that the band jammed for so long on this one that the master tape ran out and the last minute and twenty seconds were only captured on a 2-track DAT thankfully running in parallel is a testament to how insane these sessions really were. The difference in sound quality is actually very noticeable towards the end of the track and it shows how spontaneous this project was meant to be.

If you're a big fan of DREAM THEATER, not enjoying this album is kind of an impossibility given all the surrounding and inner factors. If you simply enjoy exploring new musical directions, different sounds and great musicianship, then this album is also for you. If however, the uncoventional makes you pull your hair, then be sure to stay well away from this. Of course you'd be missing quite an experience, though.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2006
LTE 1 has to be one of the finest instrumental offerings to come down the pike in a long, long time. Seeing Tony Levin's name on the cd is always a very good omen that your about to be impressed by what you hear, and sure enough he delivers. Along with keyboardist Jordan Rudess, Drummer Mike Portnoy, and Guitarist John Petrucci are no less impressive. The speed, and synchronization that occurs between these four guys is jaw dropping!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2004
I say perhaps, because the 2nd album by this group is one of the few that may rival it. I am so amazed by the complexity these musicians put forth through their music. Being a musician myself, I enjoy trying to figure out some of these complexities. It shows that these people are true musicians, and write real music with influences of prog rock, heavy metal, classical music, and even jazz.

The album opens with a flurry of instruments played at a frenzy pace, establishing almost immediately that this album is not for the faint of heart. This is the music I enjoy the most on this album, and while this is the first like it, it's certainly not the last. The album is full of songs like yet not like it.

The album has hints as well that shows how much the musicians enjoyed making this album, including a short track of funk-sounding music as well as a track full of whistling and guitar.

The masterpiece of this album comes after the 8th track of the album, which closes the first section of the album as it opened, with a beautifully fast yet melodic song. The masterpiece of the album is a song over 25 minutes long entitled "Three Minute Warning". It even has a disclaimer on the back of the album that says this song isn't for the faint of heart and here is why: THIS ENTIRE SONG IS IMPROVISED. Not planned at all, this song is just the musicians working together and making stuff up as they go along. UNREHEARSED. This is just mindboggling because it doesn't sound that way at all. I can't even really explain it in words.

This album is essential to anyone who loves progressive rock music, or just rock or metal in general. Get it, and be mind-boggled.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2006
For those of you not in the know, Liquid Tension Experiment was a side-project of Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci, Dream Theater keyboardist (as of 1999) Jordan Rudess, and bass player supreme Tony Levin. This album, the first of two they did, is all instrumental prog and is simply jaw-dropping.

Dream Theater, as I'm sure any of you know, is a legendary prog band comprising of 5 virtusos, each one a master of their instrument (or voice, in James Labrie's case). The LTE side-project is also made up of virtuosity. Simply stunning.

The songs range from short and sweet like Osmosis, Chirs and Kevin's Excellent Adventure, and State of Grace to prog EPICS like Paradigm Shift, Universal Mind, and the 30 minute ALL IMPROVISED Three Minute Warning. These guys just go from strength to strength, and if an album made up of all instrumental prog sounds like it's going to be boring or lame, you couldn't be more wrong. This is an album that stands up to repeated listens no problem.

From Mike Portnoy's thunderous and acrobatic drumming to John Petrucci's masterful guitar player, Tony Levin's nimble bass to Jordan Rudess' keyboard wizardry, this is an exceptional album any fan of DT or great prog will love. Get this and their second album and just marvel.....
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