CD review for fAZE 3 magazine Liquid Tension Experiment (1998) -Portnoy, Petrucci, Levin and Rudess contact info: Magna Carta/ 208 East 51st Street/ #1820, NY, NY 10022 Ph: 716-381-5224/Fax: 716-381-0658 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.magnacarta.net/ Well, I dunno, here goes nothing. This CD shows excellence in musicianship, tight guitar-hero oriented rock. Dream Theater's drummer, Portnoy and axeman, Petrucci jam out with bassist legendary and extraordinaire Tony Levin. Jordan Rudess does faultless and fast keys. This CD is the result a marketing idea along the "supergroup" slant. Get a group together of sorts, think up some tunes/jams with room to stretch and call it progressive rock. I don't think so. Decent jams but for the most part, predictable, and not progressive. Track one, "Paradigm Shift", lets Petrucci stretch in a very, very David Chastain style of guitar rock. If you're into that then it's fine. Not enuff funk, syncopation, nor naked soul for me. Next "Osmosis" does the ethnic/gnu age meander that starts nowhere and winds up there. Filler. "Kindred Spirits" is a Steve Morse's Dregs piece that is a good mimic. And mimic is all cuz only Steve Morse can do his style stuff and pull it off. Unfortunately, this piece suffers what I call the "Boston curse", buy the first album and you own all the rest. Not noteworthy, sorry. "The Stretch" approaches Miles Davis' keyman, Adam Holzman's stuff, at times, but is too short and I gotta ask myself, "What is this snippet for anyway?" We then flow into "Freedom of Speech", a Satriani type ballad from his "Surfin'w/the Alien" days. AT LAST THEY TOUCH ON THE PROGROCK SHORES!! A keyboard/bass break fugue pulls the blinders of bland rock away and we hear Jan Hammer, jazzrock fusion soundbytes of 1970's vintage. Alas, Petrucci just doesn't have that true ear for J.McLaughlin, B.Connors, A.DiMeola, or S.Whitaker, and the piece falls short of what jazzrock fusion is all about. GET WEIRD AND PLAY YER SOUL GUYS! STRETCH! The next track is 2:21 long. That's enuff said about it. "State of Grace" follows with a tender Satriani/Beck melodic ballad of inspiration with Roger Williams styled keys and heart- felt guitar. I give it an okay but it's been done before . . . better. "Universal Mind" blasts you off your seat after the previous track. I would've put this on as track two myself and put new agey "Osmosis" here. Oh well, too late, unless you're into listener-set program play mode. I get to hear Levin some more here on this track but not as much as I'd like. I guess this piece is late 90's Steve Morse Band if you need a comparison. A guitar hero piece that ends like a circus tune. Last but not least is the final 28:31 minute track, "Three Minute Warning". At last, these guys let it all out. I CAN HEAR LEVIN!! Finally! This monster has 5 parts/movements? that are pure unadulterated, open jam improv. This is the best track on the CD!! I wished this spontanaeity had been breathed into the rest of the CD. You got it right on this one guys. BRAVO! I heard the soul of jazzrock fusion and progrock here. Try another CD guys with more Tony Levin up front and more improv built around his sound structures. Great musicianship all around but the source of inspiration wasn't tapped enough until the final track. Better luck next time. -John W. Patterson
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