The long awaited third album by supergroup, Liquid Tension Experiment is finally here. “LTE3” comes 22 years after their second and seemingly final album. Obviously a lot has transpired since then.Keyboard wiz Jordan Rudess joined Dream Theater after the second album and in 2010, drummer Mike Portnoy quit Dream Theater. With a fair amount of animosity, it seemed doubt that the band would regroup but no one counted on a global pandemic.
The COVID outbreak canceled touring plans and allowed all 4 members (also including bassist Tony Levin and guitarist John Petrucci) to have a good chunk of free time. It was that which allowed Portnoy to guest on Petrucci’s solo album and for LTE to reform once again.
“LTE3” is going to sound very familiar to fans. The album picks up as if 22 years had not passed. Go for what you know. The only somewhat iffy number for me is the opener “Hypersonic” which basically jams in as many notes as humanly possible. Most of the song itself is good but some of it is a bit much.
The album continues the traditions of the first two albums with duets by Levin and Portnoy on “Chris & Kevin’s Amazing Odyssey” which is their best thus far. “Shades Of Hope” continues the Rudess/Petrucci tradition. Though it doesn’t close the album like previous songs did.
The closing track is the very melodic epic “Key to the Imagination” which has a lot of great moments and transitions. Definitely one of the best songs LTE has done. One of the more intriguing songs is the second single “Beating the Odds,” which is almost catchy if it weren’t for the very strange time signature. Great song though. The track “Liquid Evolution” is reminds me a little of “Liquid Dreams” in that it is more jazzy and has more space between the notes.
One of the more interesting songs is their cover of the Gershwin classic “Rhapsody In Blue” which had been part of the LTE live shows back in 2008. Now the song gets the full studio treatment and like anything LTE, you can tell it’s the cover (bluesy and classy) but it goes many places the original never quite did. It really showcases the overall musicality of the members of LTE.
“LTE3” is not going to disappoint fans of this supergroup. It’s a logical follow up regardless of how long it took. Tony Levin is still a genius and the other 3 still have great chemistry. But the Portnoy sycophants should just pump the breaks and enjoy this reunion. DT has their new album underway with the master Mike Mangini behind the kit. Things have worked out in many ways. A new Liquid Tension Experiment album is one of those ways!
Label: InsideOut Music
Release Date: April 15, 2021