John Petrucci’s Terminal Velocity album is a storming guitar-driven instrumental album released in 2020. It doesn’t really matter when it was released; it simply Rocks!
John Petrucci is the founder member of Dream Theater (1985) and Liquid Tension Experiment (1998), for whom he composes, plays guitar and produces. Both these bands have recently released albums: Distance Over Time in 2019 for Dream Theater and Liquid Tension Experiment this year (2021). So they were pretty prolific to have released this master work in between.
John Petrucci was born in 1967 and from the age of 12 dedicated a large part of his life to playing guitar, practicing six hours a day. Now that is dedication.
Premier Guitar calls Petrucci “One of the best who has ever laid a hand on a fretboard.” There can be no doubting that once you have listened to this album.
Petrucci’s workload is staggering. Two full-time bands, a solo career, and a much-in-demand session player. He still found time to go out on the road with Joe Satriani and Steve Vai as G3 for a world tour, as saved for future generations on G3’s Live in Tokyo 2005 album, which has the highlights of the shows from all three guitarists plus the jam session as the encore when all three guitarists get up to rock through some Hendrix, ZZ Top and Deep Purple.
Also, taking into account that Dream Theater and Liquid Tension Experiment gigs can be up to four hours long, as witnessed at the Dream Theater gigs in Bangkok in 2006, 2008, 2012 and 2017.
So, to come out with an album of this superb quality is breathtaking. The fretwork dished out here is invigorating. It’s a 100% Rock’n’Roll collection, though. There may be pieces introduced by acoustic guitar, but the electric guitar soon storms in. With such titles as Glassy-Eyed Zombie or Snake in my Boot, one can imagine what this is all about. I presume they get the music laid down and then come up with titles for each piece afterwards!
The musicians accompanying Petrucci are top drawer. We have the world’s best rock drummer Mike Portnoy who was also a founder member of Dream Theater until his departure in 2010. Mike Portnoy has worked with many of the top guitarists in the world: Steve Morse, Tony Macalpine (as witnessed in 2012 when they played Bangkok together,) Ronnie Stolt, etc. But when Petrucci and Portnoy play together there is some powerful magic.
On bass guitar, there is the supreme David La Rue, probably best known for playing in the Steve Morse Band when Steve Morse has time away from his busy Deep Purple schedule.
So if you go into this album expecting the best, that’s exactly what you get.
John Petrucci also still looks like an eighties rock guitarist with long flowing hair and beard – none of this haircut and a trim for him – like so many of his contemporaries.
Written by a stunned Mott the Dog from Pattaya’s Dark Side.