Released: 2008, 2008
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
It was during 1998 that Liquid Tension Experiment went into the studio to record their second album. Studio time was booked and everything was set when Dream Theater guitar player John Petrucci’s wife went into labour so he couldn’t participate in the recording. Instead of cancelling the recording the remaining members decided to proceed and simply make an instrumental jam album. The trio stayed in Millbrook Studio in New York for two days and jammed for several hours and that jam is what ended up on the new album SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION. The reason it has taken the band 10 years to release the album is because of the loss of the master tapes.
The guys simply improvised the songs and nothing was written when they entered the studio. The music is a combination of technical and complex progressive rock with hints of jazz and all three members deliver strong solo parts in every song. Even though I knew that the members were awesome before I’m even more convinced that these guys are at the top of their class in their individual league. Drummer Portnoy (Dream Theater) delivers pure magic and he is amazing. Keyboardist Rudess (Dream Theater) is a wizard with his keys and delivers both soft and soaring layers of keyboards and Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel) on bass is the third component that makes this engine run smoothly.
Normally, I am easily bored with strictly instrumental albums but this one is an exception. All three members have the opportunity to show off and the way they do it is brilliant. If you think about the fact that the members have improvised the entire album it makes your jaw drop even more. Some of the 13 songs are really long, some of them clock in at 10 minutes and the album is 70 minutes long. You will get a lot of music for your money if you buy SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION.
Nothing has been added or deleted in the final mix. What you hear is what actually happened in the studio and that is a brilliant way of working. These bandmates are craftsmen and they restore the faith that there actually are genuine artists in these days of Britney Spears and other bubblegum productions. As a special bonus Portnoy has written liner-notes for the booklet regarding this recording. It is fun reading for fans.