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Liquid Tension Experiment - LTE3

Label: InsideOut Music
Format: Download
Released: 2021
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 9/10

George Gershwin would be proud. Or horrified. Regardless, LTE’s masterful, faithful, Prog Metal take on his 14-minute magnum opus, “Rhapsody in Blue,” is the story of this album. For music lovers, it should be the story of the year. Liquid Tension Experiment not only get all the notes transcribed properly to their instruments and genre, they also truly get the nuances and the soul of the piece. The sexy, mournful, blue cityscape soul and dance of the Gershwin masterwork is all there, from movement to movement. There’s a brief time when it feels like they’re going to veer off into space, but the timeless melodies reel everything back in.


“Rhapsody in Blue” is enough on its own, but it’s actually not the whole story of “LTE3.” There are countless little micro-moments of brilliance and varying feeling across all of the songs that mesh together. Like cellular automata, the little pieces hold up to scrutiny under the microscope, but also come together to create a greater whole.
Sometimes a Prog album experience is like standing in the middle of a bustling arcade, trying to absorb some kind of pattern linking all of the noises, images, and storylines from all of the screens. I can’t say you never get that sensation on “LTE3,” but these are masters of their craft. Like all great storytellers, they know how to keep you involved in the journey. If you’ve placed your quarter on their machine, you’re going to be waiting a long time for that next game.
Lead track, “Hypersonic” is a laserblast of notes to your ears - - absolutely overwhelming, but again - - by design. If you just go with it, the effect works. It’s a rich, well-constructed experience.
The roster: Mike Portnoy (Transatlantic, Sons of Apollo, formerly Dream Theater) on drums, John Petrucci (Dream Theater, John Petrucci solo) on guitar, Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) on keys, and Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel) on stick and bass. So yeah, expect plenty of Ph.D.-level, high speed solo runs and time signature changes to wear out your tap shoes.
LTE likely isn’t for everyone. Hell, this might be deep enough down the mineshaft that some Prog Heads will back away, sticking to the other proven veins of material. But the richness of this material is worth the dig for all listeners.

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