In October 2020, Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci released his second all-instrumental solo album, Terminal Velocity. It is his first solo album in 15 years. He has released an animated video for the final track on the record, Temples Of Circadia.
Terminal Velocity was written and produced by John Petrucci, recorded by James ‘Jimmy T’ Meslin, and mixed and mastered by Andy Sneap (Judas Priest, Killswitch Engage, Arch Enemy). Artwork created by Sean M. Smith at Echo Designlab (Stone Sour, Hollywood Undead, In This Moment).
The album sees the return of bassist Dave LaRue (Dixie Dregs, Flying Colors), who played on John’s debut solo album and subsequent G3 tours, as well as a much-anticipated reunion with former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy (Transatlantic , Winery Dogs, Sons). from Apollo). “It was great to bring Dave back to play bass on this album. He’s just such a monster player who can handle anything thrown at him with taste and unmatched musicianship. His melodic approach to bass lines along with impeccable technique and all day groove really stands out on these tracks.”
Portnoy’s performance on Terminal Velocity marks the guitarist and his former bandmate’s first recording in over a decade, and the first since Portnoy left the band in 2010. “Having Mike play drums on this record was really special for me and him did an absolutely incredible job of navigating the diverse styles and technical challenges that present my music in a way only he can. I think it was very redeeming for both of us to be making music together again after all these years and it felt really great! Mike’s spirited, intuitive and energetic playing really helped elevate these new songs to a level I couldn’t be happier with.”
Watch the Terminal Velocity video below. John Petrucci on the track and video: “Terminal Velocity was actually the first new song I wrote for the album when I hit the studio in March of this year. It grew out of one of the many ideas and seeds I had collected over the past few years. I literally started with the opening theme and built the rest of the song from there. I think it’s a great lead-off single and nicely represents some of the different stylistic sides of this record that I wanted to explore as a guitarist; The melodic/thematic side, the riffing side and the shred side.
“Mike and Dave both did a great job bringing this song to life with all the energy they put into recording their performances.
“The video was created by Wayne Joyner who did all the promotional videos for the Dream Theater album Distance Over Time as well as all the visuals of the DT Live Tour 2019/2020 including all the updated Scenes From A Memory video content. The tracking footage of me, Dave and Mike in the studio has a sort of play-through vibe while Wayne worked his magic adding amazing 3D graphics and special visual effects to tell a story. I think the end result is a really unique and engaging video that captures the energy of the song and definitely lives up to the first single. Really excited for people to see and hear this!”
In early March 2020, while the global COVID-19 pandemic was relentlessly ravaging the world, and NY in particular, at DT’s Long Island headquarters, John began work with engineer Jimmy T on the music that would make Terminal Velocity Helm. “All DT tours for the rest of the year have either been canceled or postponed and although I had already planned to start the project this spring, I suddenly found myself at home with many unexpected months. Jimmy T and I went into the DTHQ 5 day week for about two and a half months and when I was writing and constructing the new tunes he was right there to capture it all and turn it into a record. Initially we programmed drums and shared bass playing responsibilities just to get the ideas into a place where they sounded like finished and cohesive songs, but we always assumed that ‘work in progress’ drums and bass would eventually happen would be replaced.”
The nine songs on Terminal Velocity demonstrate John’s affinity for writing tight-knit guitar-instrumental powerhouses that contain everything from monster riff breaks to passionate melodic themes worthy of movie soundtracks to total shred extravaganzas worthy of the Giving listeners the feeling of just stepping off an exciting musical roller coaster ride. “Similar to the songs on my first solo album, Suspended Animation, I wanted the new tunes to really reflect what I’m about as a player and give an up-to-date representation of where I stand musically and what I like to express myself on the instrument . It’s about capturing the attitude of the performances and of course, as always, very much about capturing the tone that I’ve worked so hard to develop and refine over the years.”
Although some of the songs that make up Terminal Velocity were actually written quite a long time ago and even played live but never properly recorded, over half of the album’s content is new music that John created in the studio during the quarantine. “I think making this record at this point in time, as I did it, really helped me maintain a sense of stability and normality during such a crazy time in our history.” family to embrace something so hopeful and positive as we faced a very uncertain future in the music industry and the world and for that I am truly grateful that music is such a big part of my life.”
“The Odd Father”
“Out of the blue”
“Zombies with Glassy Eyes”
“How Things Fall”
“Snake In My Boot”
“Temple of Circadia”
(Photo – Larry DiMarzio)