Liquid Tension Experiment – LTE3

LTE3 Album Cover Art

Liquid Tension Experiment – LTE3
Inside Out Music
Release Date: 16/04/2021
Running Time: 61:39
Review by Chris Galea
10/10

It’s hard to believe that it has been over 20 years since the first Liquid Tension Experiment (LTE) CD popped into my letter box but on listening to the band’s 3rd album, it feels much less than that.

For the uninitiated, LTE was formed after 4 academically trained musicians got together in one room hoping that something worthwhile would emerge from their collaborative efforts. The musicians were guitarist John Petrucci and drummer Mike Portnoy, who at the time were both parts of Dream Theater; ex-King Crimson bassist Tony Levin and keyboardist Jordan Rudess. Well, something worthwhile had emerged…in fact so productive was the chemistry between them that Jordan Rudess ended up being invited to join Dream Theater…where he remains to this day. The first LTE album was quickly followed by another but that was the distant 1999.

In a nutshell LTE is an instrumental band that inhabits the boundaries of Progressive Metal. The beauty of this project is that there are no significant constrictions, whether artistic or commercial, on what to create. Having said that, I’d say that “3” feels Jazzier, Bluesier, Funkier and perhaps more eclectic than the previous 2 LTE albums. And yet the source of the music is immediately recognisable. Case in point is ‘Beating The Odds’, which John Petrucci recently described as the “feel-good song of the pandemic”.

The tracks I liked most are also the ‘weirdest’…the most adventurous…of the lot: ‘Liquid Evolution’ and ‘Rhapsody In Blue’. The latter track, in particular, seems to possess the musical playfulness often associated with Frank Zappa.

When you hear Tony Levin extracting a series of harmonics from his bass, you know that Chris and Kevin (whoever they are) are about to embark on another journey. I’m referring to the track ‘Chris & Kevin’s Amazing Odyssey’ (Note: the 1st LTE album had featured a track called ‘Chris And Kevin’s Excellent Adventure’).

‘Shades Of Hope’ contains some of the emotional intensity of ‘Out Of The Blue’, a track that appeared on Petrucci’s recent “Terminal Velocity” solo album.

Mike Portnoy sounds relentless in ‘The Passage of Time’, the closest the album gets (musically speaking) to Dream Theater. In this track his drumming works particularly well with Petrucci’s fiery riffs.

All musicians are in excellent form, individually and collectively. There’s no doubt in my mind that this third LTE outing delivers on its potential and expectations in leaps and bounds.

‘The Passage Of Time’ (Official Video)

‘Hypersonic’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Hypersonic
02. Beating The Odds
03. Liquid Evolution
04. The Passage Of Time
05. Chris & Kevin’s Amazing Odyssey
06. Rhapsody In Blue
07. Shades Of Hope
08. Key To The Imagination

LINE-UP:
Tony Levin – Bass Guitars, Chapman Stick
John Petrucci – Guitars
Mike Portnoy – Drums
Jordan Rudess – Keyboards

LINKS:

Liquid Tension Experiment Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

EMQ’s With KAUPE

Kaupe Logo

EMQ’s With KAUPE

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with DeLand, Florida based Instrumental Progressive Metal band, Kaupe. Huge thanks to guitarist, Brett Walker, for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

Brett Walker, guitar. Kaupe formed in the summer of 2016 by myself, and Marc Larabel (drums). The two of us originally formed a band called Loss For Words in the early 2000’s. The two of us eventually parted ways, and 14 years later decided the time was right to jam again. After a year or so of writing songs we landed our bass player, long-time friend Pete Medrano, who was actually looking for members for his own band. After several singer try-outs, we realized that great singers were impossible to find, we chose to be an instrumental band rather than have a singer butcher our songs. The final member of the band was Patrick Ross (keys), who I still say was one of my best craigslist finds to date!

How did you come up with your band name?

Kinda funny actually, I’ll try to sum it up as best as I can. It came out of an inside joke where we coined the term Hawaiian Werewolf. Shortly after, the term was considered as a band name, but was later shortened to “H. Werewolf”, the first track off our 2018 album “The Depths”. The singer of my other band “Junior Bruce” decided to google Hawaiian Werewolf, and the legend of Kaupe was the first thing that popped up. Google Kaupe on your own, it’s a pretty cool Hawaiian folklore legend, and it’s a one-word band name, which is hard to come by these days.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We are from DeLand, FL., but most of what we consider to be our local shows are in Orlando, 45 min away. The scene in Orlando is pretty eclectic, and filled with a ton of great bands from all different styles (metal, indie rock, punk, electronic, funk, singer/songwriter). It has been really good to us since we have such a wide range of influences, and can jump on mixed bills from time to time. There’s nothing wrong with a little cream in the coffee as far as we’re concerned…good music is good music. Too many of the same type of bands on one bill can be boring as hell.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Latest release: full-length “Cognitive Dissonance” (Releases 19/02/21).

First single off album: ‘Death Rattle’

Who have been your greatest influences?

This is always the hardest question for me since my influences change daily as far as what inspires me to write a song. Sometimes it’s actually a movie, or a soundtrack from a movie. I’d say if you were to sum up collective influences here are some of our biggest: Faith No More, Dillinger Escape Plan, Bach, Ben Folds, Tool, The Mars Volta, Torche, Queens of the Stone Age, Interpol, Converge, Pixies, Depeche Mode, Contortionist, Carpenter Brut, Perturbator, Deftones, Meshuggah, Helmet, Radiohead, Fear Factory, and Led Zeppelin. Lately I’ve been jamming on Entombed.

What first got you into music?

My older sister used to bring me home concert T-Shirts, and got me into GnR, and Metallica at a young age. Megadeth was soon to follow. My dad also listed to bands such as: Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, Dave Clark Five, Beach Boys, Beatles, and all the classics.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

Josh Homme would definitely be one of them, dude’s badass.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Any fest in Australia, cause I’ve always wanted to go/play there.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Not sure, skip!

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

We miss you. Covid sucks ass.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Bob Ross of course.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Enjoy: Performing live is the absolute best thing about being a musician.

Hate:  Having to think about anything involving social media.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Having to think about anything involving social media.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

God….probably a tie between “Ride The Lightening” and “Dirt”, there are no bad songs on either of those albums.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Since I’m always bouncing mixes down, anything that can go on your phone is what’s best for me. Vinyl, if you’re the stay at home and listen to music type.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

Probably a local show at Will’s recently, where I locked my keys in my car with all my gear inside, and got a locksmith to open my door 5 minutes before we were to set up on stage. Even though we were the last band on the bill, everyone stayed, and rocked the fuck out.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

I’d be somewhere with a better job not thinking about social media.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Bob Ross if he were still alive, Joaquin Phoenix, Mike Tyson, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Dave Chapelle. Let’s see what happens.

What’s next for the band?

Dreaming of playing live shows again, buying more gear, writing more tunes, and continuing to craft our sound.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

www.facebook.com/KaupeBand
www.instagram.com/kaupeband/
www.kaupe.bandcamp.com/
www.youtube.com/channel/UC6PUYgc0H9kLNg4bGhJR8iQ/videos

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

What is a Jaffa?

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

EMQs with Altostratus

EMQ’s with ALTOSTRATUS

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with UK Instrumental Progressive Metal band, Altostratus. Huge thanks to Guitarist Alex Hek for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

We are called ALTOSTRATUS and we play our own brand of widdly Instrumental Progressive Metal. The band was originally founded by myself (Alex / Guitar) and Jack (Drums). We’ve been musical friends since we were kids and we thought we should start writing in 2014, after being inspired by modern Progressive Metal music from Intervals, Tesseract, and Periphery. Upon the recording of our EP Altitude (2015), we thought we should make this a proper band, and recruited Andrew (Bass) and later found Jordan Harris (Guitar) through his YouTube videos. Since then we’ve been great friends working together and have shared the stage with the likes of Skyharbour, Sarah Longfield, Sithu Aye, and Modern Day Babylon; as well as performing at UK Tech-Fest in 2016 and 2017 (and are returning there again this year!).

How did you come up with your band name?

Jack actually came up with that. The name is inspired by cloud formations and the fact it’s always cloudy where we come from – the North of England! Some of our music reflects this; for example, our song ‘Zephyr’ references the wind through its name and by featuring many ‘airy’ synth layers that serve this imagery.

What country are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We’re from the UK and the Metal scene seems to be thriving here. There’s loads of bands and a lot of promoters putting on shows right now so it feels like there’s a buzz in the scene. While there might not be many bands of our specific style who play Instrumental Tech-Metal, there’s a lot of acts in the UK Tech scene, and even a festival – UK Tech-Fest, that solely features bands from this scene.

What is your latest release (Album, EP, Single, Video)

We just released our debut album, “Complete The Connection”, which we’re very excited about as it’s been in the works for a while. We spent a large portion of the writing process making sure that the pace of the record as a whole worked from start to finish, and that every song has its own identity. It features our heaviest parts to date, as well as a grander, almost Post-Rock feel throughout. We paid close attention to what every chord says and how every section feels. It’s taken us this long to release as no compromises have been made with regard to composition, and we’ve spent countless hours discussing very minor details. This has accumulated to create a very nuanced, dynamic – and what we believe to be – epic piece of music.

Who have been your greatest influences?

We all listen to a lot of different kinds of music and try to distil all of it into what we do. Our sound is derivative of our individual inspirations but all mixed together. Whilst our album – Complete The Connection – is ,at its heart, a Progressive Metal album, there’s hints of Post Rock in songs like ‘Starlight’ and ‘Complete The Connection’, a full blown Jon Hopkins inspired electronic tune in the middle (Universal Receiver), and in every track there are background layers and production inspired by ambient artists like Nils Frahm and Brian Eno. We couldn’t resist throwing in some Meshuggah inspired, poly-rhythmic breakdowns throughout, but with our own soundscape and unique spin on them.

What first got you into music?

My Dad. He bought me an iPod for my 11th birthday and a whole bunch of CDs to put on it, as well as introducing me to the guitar when I was 12. He started learning guitar, then and inspired me to do the same! I was fascinated by the instrument and this led my interest towards guitar based music. I started out listening to the Arctic Monkeys, The Fratellis, and Green Day, before gradually shifting to heavier and heavier music, until Meshuggah became my favourite band.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

I’d love to collaborate with Robert Glasper, he’s a Jazz pianist and I love what he does. He makes Jazz/Hip-Hop music and his grooves and harmonic choices make you want to melt in your headphones.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Knotfest at Sea. This is just a one-off event right now, but the thought of spending 4 days on a Mediterranean cruise and playing multiple shows onboard is heaven. This was setup by Slipknot and kudos to them as it’s an awesome idea.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

I don’t think we’ve ever actually received any gifts other than money haha! Ask us that next time and maybe we’ll have a better answer.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Thanks for your support, it’s much appreciated, and we couldn’t be here without you. Also, if you come to one of our upcoming shows please be ready to be in 3 Walls of Death when we play ‘Hidden In A Cloud”!

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Jeff Buckley. He died far too young and his only album is one of my all-time favourites.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

I really enjoy the process of bringing music and ideas to life, it’s really rewarding. I also love working with others and the people you meet through being a musician. I think connecting and collaborating with others is an essential part of being human.

I hate how hard and cruel the industry can be, the way things are fixed up currently means that you have to pay your way to get somewhere, and the way streaming services are right now mean that it’s hard to make any money from your music. I like streaming I just think the system is very corrupted now, not that it ever wasn’t.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

I’d like it if streaming services paid a fairer per stream rate and if they weren’t so corrupted, with Pay to Play and fake streams that dilute stream revenue. I know this won’t happen though, just gotta play the game.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

One by Tesseract. “The Concealing Fate” tracks are honestly the best Metal I’ve ever heard live.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Right now, I’d say downloads, they’re much more practical in 2020.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

Our album launch party back in February was definitely my favourite. It was our first hometown show in ages and we got to party with a big crowd of our dear fans. Not only that, Andrew managed to co-ordinate 3 Walls of Death in one song – that was epic!

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

Probably something business related, if I wasn’t doing what I love (music) I’d want to be making shed loads of money!

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Jens Kidman, Fredrik Thordendal, Tomas Haake, Mårten Hagström, Dick Lövgren. So just Meshuggah basically, maybe they could do us a private show after dinner!

What’s next for the band?

We are touring the UK in April and playing in Edinburgh, Berwick, Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, and London. We’ll be joined by our Tech-Metal brothers, Pravitas, and you can get tickets from http://www.altostratusband.com. We’ll be releasing a very exciting music video soon so keep your eyes peeled for that too!

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all the standards. Here’s the links:

https://altostratusband.com
https://altostratusband.com/shop
https://altostratusband.com/spotify
https://facebook.com/altostratusband
https://instagram.com/altostratusband
https://twitter.com/altostratusuk

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

BiscuitThank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

We’d like to say thank you for all the recent and on-going support for our debut album, it means a lot to us, and we really appreciate your feedback. Don’t forget that we’re touring the UK this April so look out for our shows and tickets via our website (www.altostratusband.com). If we’re not playing in your city or country soon, let us know and we’ll make an effort to reach you!

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.