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May 1999

Mike Portnoy/John Petrucci/Tony Levin/Jordan Rudess
Liquid Tension Experiement
Magna Carta Records

A powerhouse front of progressive art-rock soldiers boasting credits from Rush and Queensryche to Peter Gabriel, King Crimson and the Dregs is set to blow your mind on Liquid Tension Experiment (Magna Carta MA 9023-2; 74:04), a sometimes brilliant, indulgent and often scary showcase. The quartet of Mike Portnoy (drums), John Petrucci (guitars), Tony Levin, (bass) and Jordan Rudess (keyboards) is clearly having fun here-offering everything from explosive fast and furious art metal ("Kindred Spirits," "Paradigm Shift") to uplifting rock anthems ("Freedom of Speech") and whacked-out funk ("The Stretch")-yet a common thread of precision and master craftsmanship holds it all together. The guys delight in extremes-Portnoy rages so hard on "Universal Mind" that you can visualize his head exploding, yet Rudess and Petrucci get emotional to make "State of Grace" an affecting rock ballad. "Chris & Kevin's Excellent Adventure" is a rhythm section workout, with freaky whistles providing counterpoint to Levin's fluid bass work.

Originally published in May 1999
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