DREAM THEATER guitarist John Petrucci will release his second all-instrumental solo album, “Terminal Velocity”, on all digital and streaming platforms on August 28 and on CD and vinyl on October 30 through The Orchard Music on his Sound Mind Music record label.
“Terminal Velocity” was written and produced by Petrucci, recorded by James “Jimmy T” Meslin and mixed and mastered by Andy Sneap (JUDAS PRIEST, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, ARCH ENEMY). The artwork was 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, an eagerly anticipated reunion with former DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy (TRANSATLANTIC, THE WINERY DOGS, SONS OF APOLLO).
“It was awesome bringing Dave back to play bass on this album,” said Petrucci. “He is just such a monster player who can handle anything you throw at him with tastefulness and unmatched musicality. His melodic approach to bass lines along with impeccable technique and groove for days really stands out on these tunes.”
Portnoy’s appearance on “Terminal Velocity” marks the first recording of the guitarist and his former bandmate 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 he did an absolutely incredible job navigating the various styles and technical challenges my music presented in the way that only he can do,” Petrucci said. “It was very cathartic for the both of us, I think, to be playing music together again after all these years and it really felt great! Mike’s spirited, intuitive and energetic playing truly helped to elevate these new songs to a level that I couldn’t be happier with.”
The official music video for the “Terminal Velocity” title track can be seen below.
Petrucci said about the track and video: “‘Terminal Velocity’ was actually the first new song that I wrote for the album when I entered the studio in March of this year. It stemmed from one of the many ideas and seeds that I had collected over the past several years. I literally began with the opening motif and built the rest of song from there. I think it’s a great lead-off single and nicely represents a few of the different stylistic sides of this record that I wanted to explore as a guitar player; The melodic/thematic side, the riffing side, and the shred side. Mike and Dave both did an amazing job bringing this song to life as well, with all of the energy that they injected when recording their performances.
“The video was created by Wayne Joyner who made all of the promotional videos for DREAM THEATER’s ‘Distance Over Time’ album as well as all of the 2019/2020 DT live tour visuals including all of the updated ‘Scenes From A Memory’ video content. The tracking footage of me, Dave and Mike in the studio has a play-through sort of vibe while Wayne did his magic adding amazing 3-D graphics and special visual effects to help tell a story. I think the end result is a really unique and engaging video that captures the song’s energy and definitely does the first single justice. Really excited for people to see and hear this!”
In the beginning of March 2020 while the COVID-19 global pandemic was unrelentingly wreaking its havoc on the world and especially New York, John started working on the music that would make up “Terminal Velocity” at the DREAM THEATER headquarters on Long Island with engineer Jimmy T at the helm.
“All DT touring for the rest of the year was either being canceled or postponed and even though I had already planned on starting the project this spring, I suddenly found myself with many unanticipated months at home,” Petrucci said. “Jimmy T and I would head into the DTHQ five days week for about two and a half months and, as I wrote and constructed the new tunes, he was right there capturing it all and turning it into a record. Initially, we programmed drums and shared bass playing responsibilities just to get the ideas to a place where they sounded like completed and cohesive songs but we always anticipating that ‘work in progress’ drums and bass would eventually be replaced.”
The nine songs on “Terminal Velocity” showcase John’s affinity for writing tightly weaved guitar instrumental powerhouses that feature everything from monster riff breaks to passion-filled melodic themes worthy of film soundtracks, to all-out shred extravaganzas that leave the listener feeling like they just stepped off of a thrilling musical roller coaster ride.
“Much like the songs on my first solo album, ‘Suspended Animation’, I wanted the new tunes to really showcase what I’m all about as a player and to give an up-to-date depiction of where I am musically and how I like to express myself on the instrument,” Petrucci said. “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 over the years to develop and refine.”
Although a few 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 the album’s content is new music that John created while in the studio during the quarantine.
“I believe that making this record when I did really helped me to maintain a sense of stability and normalcy during such a crazy time in our history,” Petrucci said. “It was encouraging for me and my family to embrace something so hopeful and positive as we faced a very uncertain future in the music industry and in the world and for that, I am truly grateful for having music be such a big part of my life.”
“Terminal Velocity” track listing:
01. Terminal Velocity
02. The Oddfather
03. Happy Song
05. Out Of The Blue
06. Glassy-Eyed Zombies
07. The Way Things Fall
08. Snake In My Boot
09. Temple Of Circadia
Photo by Larry DiMarzio