"...after one listen of LTE3 my tepid soul was in Prog heaven"
Who would have thought that way back in the 90’s (ok late 90’s, but still, doesn’t that seem so long ago...?) was the last time Liquid Tension Experiment spent time together in a recording studio.
So, twenty-two years after the bands’ last studio album, the legendary supergroup comprised of Mike Portnoy (Transatlantic, Sons of Apollo), John Petrucci (Dream Theater), Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), and Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel) have announced their return with their 3rd studio album titled ‘LTE3’, Due to be released April 16th, 2021 via InsideOutMusic
What a fitting first track to be released off the album as a lead single, but ‘The Passge Of Time’.
"’The Passage of Time’ was the very first song we composed together when we reunited this past summer. It was so exciting to be back in a room creating together again after so long (22 years for all 4 of us and over 10 years for the 3 of us since being together in DT).This serves as a great first taste for the listeners as it combines so many of the musical elements that makes LTE unique"
From the frenzied rapid-fire salvo of the opening bars of the first track on the album Hypersonic, you know you’re in for something special that’s taken over two decades to come together. There is no mistake that LTE are back delivering a technical powerhouse of a track that is a clear statement of what’s in store, with more notes exquisitely played and phrased together than I’ve played in the last 10 years.
Next track ‘Beating the Odds’ gives us a fine 70s synth-rock vibe from Rudess, with an almost fanfare-like melody that seems to heralds the arrival of a new masterpiece. With Petrucci’s graceful soloing at the fore and often accompanied runs on the guitar partnered with the digital dexterity of Rudess keys.
The gentle tones of ‘Liquid Evolution’ take you to some far eastern place sitting out on a Veranda listening to the rain and contemplating life. A short, but no less important, relaxing segue into “The Passage of Time “. Straight in with those heavy riffs from John Petrucci, taking you right back to those heady days of Dream Theater, when MP was still in the band. It’s difficult not to associate Dream Theater with LTE after all when you get three of them back together there is no doubt that our interpretations of the music will obviously start with DT as a reference point.
Not forgetting the eminent and profound bass playing of the one and only Mr Tony Levin, that leads us into the atmospheric and somewhat psychedelic drum and bass groove of ‘Chris & Kevins Amazing Odyssey’. Cranking this up will certainly blow the bottom end out of anybody’s subs, just give it a go and you’ll see what I mean.
An epic and elaborate rendition of Gershwins Rhapsody in Blue may seem an oddball for those not familiar with LTE but clearly shows the musicianship yet again, taking from the live versions of this song and putting it into a studio album. ‘Shades of Hope’ is a track that sees Petrucci and Rudess deliver a beautiful and elegant ballad-like passage. A wonderful piece that offsets the pace of the album and its technical wizardry with a perfectly balanced lighter moment. The album finale Key to the Imagination’ a wondrous 13-minute extravaganza clearly demonstrates that although 22 years may have passed, the chemistry and musical connection between these four musicians is stronger than ever. A track that seems to build and build, Petrucci riffs, Levin’s hypnotic bass lines, Rudess’ keys, and Portnoy’s punching rhythms and I knew that after one listen of LTE3 my tepid soul was in prog heaven.
Liquid Tension Experiment – LTE3 Will Be Released on April 16th 2021 via InsideOutMusic
Article By Steve Harrison