John Petrucci
Terminal Velocity


3.5
great

Review

by Robert Davis CONTRIBUTOR (304 Reviews)
October 13th, 2020 | 30 replies


Release Date: 08/28/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An album which will not only lift your spirits, but also soundly regains John Petrucci's solo career after 15 years.

On his latest solo effort, John Petrucci seems to be in very high spirits indeed. The song titles consist of either wackily humour ("Happy Song", "Glassy Eyed Zombies") or vague movie references ("The Oddfather", "Snake in My Boot"), the musicianship comes mostly with an uplifting tone and the mental image of Petrucci playing guitar on Terminal Velocity isn't far from the guy dancing in his home studio. Maybe I'm in the minority with that last one. Nevertheless, it's nice to see the Dream Theater axeman venturing out into solo territory for the first time in 15 years, the only other full-length effort being the excellent Suspended Animation. What's nicer to hear is that, as disheartening as this year has been for virtually everyone except London MPs, John Petrucci seems to have genuinely enjoyed constructing his sophomore solo release.

Generally, Terminal Velocity seems to have a much less serious feel to it than virtually anything else Petrucci has been involved in. You won't find multi-part epics lasting for over 20 minutes here. Instead, you'll find solos towering to lofty heights and riffs having more in common with classic metal a la Steve Vai than snippets of a progressive rock odyssey. I mean "Happy Song" sounds like it could have been on a pop punk album circa 2001, and considering how unusually well that song flows, you'd be forgiven for thinking that John Petrucci has only been bubbling with these vast ideas for a lot longer than the last year. The opening title track is perhaps the best example of the man combining his intricate guitar work with a more lenient musical tone, the surrounding rhythm section relaxing with its mid-paced prowess before Petrucci solos his way to the end of the song. It can sound a bit pretentious at times, admittedly, but not more so than on any album in Dream Theater's discography. Similarly, "Snake in My Boot" (I thought of this title as a Toy Story reference, how fun) aims for the same lenient rhythm section but ultimately turns out to be forgettable. It lasts little over four minutes but is far too slow to kick off, and when Petrucci does hammer in a few solos it seems their existence is somewhat abrupt, as if the song was meant to end muddled and flat.

There are songs here where John Petrucci does develop quite adventurous songwriting, and I'm not referring to "Happy Song". Instead, you have the likes of "Gemini" with its powerful progressive bombast or arguably the album's heaviest song, closer "Temple of Circadia" which could arguably stand shoulder to shoulder with any of Dream Theater's finest songs post-2000. The former develops an excellent level of prowess and even filters in some versatility, the mid-section consisting of a beautiful Latin American guitar arrangement before laying down welcome heaviness for the song to finish on a high. The latter by comparison also aims for bombast and does very well. The introductory couple of minutes draw you in, Petrucci's heavier guitar work coming into its own as it builds upon a crescendo of battering rhythms, before the song takes a dark-tinged, quieter voyage, allowing even more focus on Petrucci's guitar work and the subsequent rhythm section supporting him. Both of these songs are very well-written and clearly point towards adventurous ideas, more of which should have been put into Terminal Velocity

Honestly, it's nice to hear an album as happy as Petrucci's sophomore solo effort. With much of the year seeing bands (and indeed musicians' solo efforts) focusing on the negative or the downright mundane turnout of politics, Petrucci seems to have taken a backseat and not allowed conceptual interference, instead letting the music do the talking. Thankfully, it's a great album to listen to for those who simply don't get enough of his talent in Dream Theater, but what's even more promising is the axeman is seemingly allowed to breathe and on this evidence, being given free rein seems to have given Petrucci a fresh musicianship approach.



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Suspended Animation


Comments:Add a Comment 
linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2020


2645 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

c/c welcome as always. It seems like this has been the longest time between reviews I've taken, so the writing is a little rusty. Nevertheless,as reviews, we have to get back into it somehow

Digging: Wolvennest - Temple

el_newg
October 13th 2020


1187 Comments


Nice review! Surprised you didn't mention Portnoy, it's so nice to hear him playing with Petrucci again. They definitely have a chemistry that I've felt is missing in DT's latest efforts.

So cool to hear Gemini on this album, it's burned into my brain from watching that hilarious adam02 Psycho Exercises video so many times hahaha

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2020


15666 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Enjoyable shredding. It's nice to see these guys together again.

Digging: Evergrey - Escape of the Phoenix

parksungjoon
October 13th 2020


28226 Comments


thought this was the terminal redux thread lol

Digging: The Sisters of Mercy - Temple of Love / Heartland

Ecnalzen
October 14th 2020


10400 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Will have to check. Enjoyed a pre release song he put out

e210013
October 14th 2020


3207 Comments


I'm very curious about it. I need to check it. Petrucci and Portnoy again together. Great.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2020


12159 Comments


So nice listening to Petrucci playing next to an interesting drummer again.

Digging: Kanonenfieber - Menschenmühle

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2020


23686 Comments


So this is what was keeping you busy, good read as always man. I once went down the rabbit hole of Petrucci watching fans covering DT songs, he looks like a really cool dude.

Digging: Lost Horizons - In Quiet Moments

MaryBabko
October 14th 2020


709 Comments


Personally found this to be wack, but good review man

Pikazilla
October 14th 2020


15060 Comments


is this a nod at dt's distance over time lmao

OmairSh
Contributing Reviewer
November 8th 2020


17499 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Didn't know this had a review! Some good ditties on here

Digging: Thievery Corporation - The Richest Man in Babylon

Ecnalzen
November 8th 2020


10400 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Damn, haven't listened to this yet



I be slackin

OmairSh
Contributing Reviewer
November 13th 2020


17499 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Wish Petrucci would incorporate more flamenco style playing in DT, like on Gemini. Fun song

wildinferno2010
November 13th 2020


1338 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This seems to just be Suspended Animation 2, and I'm perfectly happy with that

Ecnalzen
November 14th 2020


10400 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is probs gonna land in the 3 5 to 4 range. Really fun stuff

OmairSh
Contributing Reviewer
November 20th 2020


17499 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

"This seems to just be Suspended Animation 2"



I think SA had a bit more character to it, and it's production was a little more lively than this. Production is a bit dull on this

Anthracks
December 6th 2020


6673 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

love how good vibey this is. need more music that just tries to be fun

wildinferno2010
December 6th 2020


1338 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@Anthracks I don't see Plini in your ratings, you should check his stuff. Vibey af

Titan
December 6th 2020


21997 Comments


Wow im surprised with these ratings.....guess I'll check it out

Ecnalzen
December 6th 2020


10400 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Tis pre great



I have always enjoyed Petrucci's side projects more than Dream Theater



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