Twenty-two years after their last recording together, Liquid Tension Experiment LTE3 (released today 4/16/21 on Inside Out Music) found a way to reunite in July of 2020 (pandemic be dammed) to write and record this monster album. Mike Portnoy (drums), John Petrucci (guitar), Jordan Rudess (piano, keys) and Tony Levin (bass, chapman stick) release their long awaited third album entitled LTE3.
‘Beating the Odds’ is a tremendous second track. LTE comes out like a prize fighter, weaving precisely through odd time signatures. This song is a great example of these players ability to float around each other and come together in the perfect moments to deliver the punch. It definitely sets the table with some intense leads, builds and swells.
‘Passage of Time’ seems to be a nod to the whole experience of this reunion. From the opening two phrases, this song really takes off in a relentless ascension only to glide into some beautiful open phrases. The synchronization and hard driving riffs offer the listener the path to some really fabulous guitar work that showcases Pettruci’s voicing and immense range, fierce and inspiring drumming from Portnoy.
‘Key to the Imagination’, the epic anchor to the eight-song album, is the showpiece that gives some amazing moments for the group that really highlight the strengths of the individuals and again how they blend together so tightly. There are some stellar moments for Rudess that really transform the piece. These moments ride the shifting feel from driving metal to open soaring sections that shine both dynamically and with some powerful and unique grooves. The songs length at an ambitious 13:14 never seems to wane on the listener. The resulting track is epic prog excellence.
I must also mention ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ (yes, Gershwin) with a truly magnificent arrangement that is a gem. As well, the tour de Levin on the jam Chris and Kevin’s Amazing Odyssey that comes from out of some another realm.
One of the great things about this recording is that the joy and genuine fun are translated in the tracks. For the fans that have waited for this reunion, you will be rewarded for the wait. I would encourage those not as familiar with LTE to venture into this album with an open heart. Like me, you will be transported back to being a kid, sitting on the living room floor with headphones on, getting lost as the songs wash over you, absorbing every fill, every phrase and nodding your head and smiling until the final gong. Bravo boys.