John Petrucci – Terminal Velocity

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On one hand the pandemic has caused severe problems for the music industry, and right now “normal” tours seem to belong in the past and/or the distant future, but, because every black cloud has a silver lining (pun intended), some artists have found the time to finish projects that simply couldn’t fit in their eternally busy schedules.

John Petrucci’s sophomore solo album, the follow-up to 2005’s “Suspended Animation”, is one of these projects. What makes it even sweeter of course, is Mike Portnoy playing drums on it, marking the first creative experience the two Dream Theater former co-captains have shared since “Black Clouds & Silver Linings”, Portnoy’s last album with the band. Dave LaRue (Steve Morse, Flying Colors etc.) on bass and master mixer Andy Sneap complete the line-up.

Compositionally, “Terminal Velocity”s biggest accomplishment is how smoothly it flows for an instrumental 55-minute guitar virtuoso record. Petrucci gives emphasis on precise, clear melodies, rather than never-ending shredding. Not that there aren’t moments of… paranoia on here, but the goal was to have a variety of moods and not try and impress just for the sake of doing so. Some of my personal favorite moments include the mesmerizing acoustic solo on “Gemini” and the “Eddie Van Halen / Brian May tribute” that is “Snake in my Boot”. And, if it is Dream Theater you’re looking for, check out “Temple of Circadia”.

John and Mike back at it again: Next stop, Liquid Tension Experiment!