Between A Rock And A Prog Place: TONY LEVIN On The Trickiest LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT Song

May 9, 2021, a year ago

By Greg Prato

feature heavy metal hard rock tony levin liquid tension experiment

Between A Rock And A Prog Place: TONY LEVIN On The Trickiest LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT Song

What truly is progressive music? Each month BraveWords will aim to dissect that answer with a thorough overview of the current musical climate that is the prog world. Old and new, borrowed and blue. A musical community without borders. So watch for a steady and spaced-out array of features, current news and a buyer’s guide checklist to enhance the forward-thinking musical mind. So, welcome to BraveWords' monthly column appropriately titled, Between A Rock In A Prog Place. 

For many years, it seemed like we had heard the last of prog supergroup, Liquid Tension Experiment. After all, the band had not offered a full-length album since 1999 (and a handful of shows in 2008). But on April 16, 2021, the all-instrumental LTE – which features guitarist John Petrucci, bassist Tony Levin, keyboardist Jordan Rudess, and drummer Mike Portnoy – offered a treat to prog fans, a third LP titled…Liquid Tension Experiment 3. And the music remains challenging and complex, according to Levin:

“First of all, it’s ALL challenging for me. On the new album it’s certainly ‘Hypersonic’ that’s the most blazing speed. But we haven’t done the material live yet, and that’s a different kind of challenge, so we’ll see then which ones jump up to bite me in the butt when it’s in concert! Very different indeed [comparing playing in LTE to playing in King Crimson]. With Crimson, a lot of rehearsing, and changing parts around, trying different approaches and sounds. With LTE the speed that the guys compose and record is pretty extraordinary, so it’s a matter of keeping up, the ‘R&D’ needs to be done beforehand. Also, of course, with 4 players in LTE it’s easier for each of us to have input, changing the song around, than it is with the 7 players in Crimson. The feeling when we finished up tracking was that we’d really like to tour with this music. Of course, the logistics of planning a tour are complicated, with obligations to Dream Theater, King Crimson tours and more…but my sense is that we’ll get out there as soon as it’s possible - this new music deserves to be played live.”

Between A Rock And A Prog Place News Blast

Finnish Folk Metal Superstars Korpiklaani recently unveiled an “accordion playthrough video” (check it out below) for the track “Huolettomat,” off their recently-released album, Jylhä. French post-rock/neoclassical quartet, Bruit≤, has issued their debut album, The Machine Is Burning and Now Everyone Knows It Could Happen Again, which can be streamed in its entirety here. Baltimore’s psychedelic/prog rockers Darsombra released a new two-song EP, Call The Doctor/Nightgarden, via Bandcamp, which can be heard here.

Described as “modern psychedelic prog rock with retro ’70s nostalgia,” The Vintage Caravan recently returned with their fifth studio album overall, Monuments, featuring the video “Crystallized.” Washington, DC-based prog rockers Shumaun have released a music video for their new single ‘Memories of Water,’ which can be viewed here. Sabaton just may have issued their most over-the-top/bombastic video yet, for the song The Royal Guard.” Additionally, several limited edition formats of the song’s single are still available for purchase.

Described as “dynamic, progressive, atmospheric, melodic and wild,” Geometry Of Chaos has released their debut album, Soldiers Of The New World Order, and a lyric video for the track “Spiral Staircase” can be experienced here. For intense prog/extreme metal, the new album by drummer Hannes Grossmann, To Where The Light Retreats is a must-hear, as you’ll soon discover via the album’s first single, “The Sun Eaters.” The Rush classic, “The Spirit Of Radio,” was recently covered by The Polyphonic Spree for their recent all-covers album, Afflatus, and now, it can be heard.

Original Styx vocalist, Dennis DeYoung, announced that his final studio album, 26 East, Vol. 2, will hit the streets on June 11, 2021 (via Frontiers), and the album’s single/video, “Isle Of Misanthrope,” can be heard/seen below. Turkish/German symphonic metallists, Dream Ocean, have released a new video, “The Great Silence,” a track off their upcoming studio album, The Great Silence. New York-based progressive death metal group, Cryptodira, have announced a 2-day (!) livestream event, entitled A Storm Called Progress – which will be an in-studio, full performance of their newest album The Angel Of History. This will be taking place on May 11 and 12 at 7 PM ET, and the stream will be available to watch for free on the band's Twitch channel. For more info about the event, click here. Prog-metallists Benthos have recently issued their debut full-length, II, and you can sample the band’s schizophrenic sound via the official music video for the toe-tapping ditty, “Talk To Me, Dragonfly!.

May New Albums

May 7, 2021:
Jordsjø – Pastoralia (Karisma)
Kayak – Out of This World (Inside Out)
Procol Harum – Missing Persons (Alive Forever) (Frontiers)
The Samurai of Prog – The Lady and the Lion and Other Grimm Tales I (Seacrest Oy)
Save the World: Two (Frontiers)

May 14, 2021:
Frost* – Day and Age (Inside Out)
Subterranean Masquerade – Mountain Fever (Bandcamp)

May 28, 2021:
Can – Live in Stuttgart 1975 (vinyl reissue) (Mute)
Sylvan – One to Zero (Gentle Art of Music/Soulfood)
Various Artists – Beyond The Pale Horizon: The British Progressive Pop Sounds Of 1972 [3CD Box Set] (Cherry Red)

Classic Clip

Can Liquid Tension Experiment pull off their complex compositions live? Of course they can! Just check out this classic live clip from 1999, of the band shredding away at NAMM on the tune “Acid Rain.”

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