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What an odd little assortment of music . . . - 89%

OSheaman, July 14th, 2003

Not that it's bad or anything. On the contrary, it's pretty damn good.

OK, Liquid Tension Experiment in a nutshell. The indominatable John Petrucci, the underappreciated Jordan Ruvess and the famously impersonated Mike Portnoy decide that they are tired of Dream Theater and want to do something different. They recruit bass god Tony Levin to the group so that they can officially call it a side project, and they get together in a studio one hot summer day to drink lots of beer (but not Mike, because he doesn't drink . . . hehehehehe) and fuck around on their instruments. They throw some shit together, and it ends up sounding pretty damn good, so, while doing their business in the urinals, they come up with the name Liquid Tension Experiment (for obvious reasons, given the situation). They name the album Liquid Tension Experiment, and the next album Liquid Tension Experiment 2, because who has time to think of these fucking album titles, anyway? They release them with the words 'Dream Theater' stuck on the front cover, which may as well be a license to print money, and they become even richer. The end.

Now, while I embellished certain parts of that story, the basic premise is true. Liquid Tension Experiment involves quite a lot of improvisation, such as the famous collection of Three Minute Warnings, and they also do a lot of progressive whatever-the-fuck-we-feel-like-playing-now stuff. The technical skills being displayed are obscene, as we've come to expect from Dream Theater, and everything is right on and perfect. The interesting thing about Liquid Tension Experiment is that, with the exception of Three Minute Warning Parts 1-5, every single song sounds completely different from every other song. They're all cool songs, especially Universal Mind, which features some very classy riffage, Osmosis, which is THE song to get laid to (although it gets a little fast, so either exercise self control or get ready for some heavy breathing) and the obscenely fast Paradigm Shift, featuring everybody playing fast as fucking lightning and then Mike Portnoy pummeling the shit out of his drumset. Good stuff.

Hey, this is definitely worth the purchase. Fun for the whole family, if I do say so myself. Seriously, there's something for everyone in here, so buckle up and sit back--you're in for a very weird ride.