John Petrucci – Terminal Velocity Album Review

Today we have reviewed Dream Theater’s legendary composer and guitarist JOHN PETRUCCI’s second solo album, TERMINAL VELOCITY, along with its character, style, story, potential, and more.

After 15 years of a long break since the release of Suspended Animation, here we are talking about the new album by John Petrucci; Terminal Velocity. John collaborated with two legendary musicians on this album, Mike Portnoy (Ex-Dream Theater, Transatlantic, Winery Dogs, Sons Of Apollo) on drums, and Dave LaRue (Dixie Dregs, Flying Colors) on bass.

John Petrucci is one of my all-time heroes with his musicianship, personality, and innovative thinking. My semi-professional musical career started with my discovery of Metallica when I was in the fifth grade. And it was Dream Theater who opened another big window in my perspective, understanding of music and changed my life forever. I am here today, still making music, writing about music, and working in the music industry thanks to them. I grew up listening to Dream Theater, watching their live materials such as Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York, practicing on guitar while watching Rock Discipline, etc. I remember selling my Ltd Explorer guitar and buying an Ibanez in high school only because I was so inspired by John. He has always been an example of a true artist, a mentor, and a guide for me since then and surely made me a better guitar player. The early Dream Theater period when Mike Portnoy, John Petrucci, Kevin Moore, and John Myung were together will always be the ultimate Dream Theater period for me. It probably was about their overall feeling, the excitement they were channeling through their music at that time. They were young, passionate, playing like no one else can, making phenomenal music, and looking much more badass (especially Mike Portnoy, with his long hair and old-school thrash metal tank tops on Lie music video).

I have been making music for a long time, and I believe in the crucial role of that special energy and understanding when you are playing together with your true partner. They say playing together with the right band member is like having the chemistry with your woman in bed. That chemistry, which makes a gigantic difference, also exists between musicians. And I am fascinated to see my all-time favorite heroes Mike Portnoy and John Petrucci playing together since Mike’s departure from Dream Theater on September 8th, 2010.

Terminal Velocity is a phenomenal album with nine super progressive songs where John Petrucci experimented and blended many different ideas from early-prog, modern-prog, blues, traditional rock, flamenco/Spanish guitar, and country-rock music. The general mood of the album is quite positive, in other words, happy. In his interview with Ola Englund, John also mentioned that he wanted to give positive, happy vibes to people through his music, especially during these difficult times. Before watching the full interview session, I also thought that this positivity thing had become one of John’s characteristics. He has a well-earned and well-deserved happy life, and this naturally reflects to his music.

My favorite song of the album is the fourth track, GEMINI, mostly because of its diversity. It has old-school progressive rock elements as well as technical and some old school Dream Theater vibes. When I listened to Gemini for the first time, it immediately reminded me of some parts from my favorite Dream Theater songs such as Change of Seasons, Voices, and Erotomania. Also, John has his special part where he melts every single listener with his beautiful melodic solo as he usually does. He is one of the greatest guitarists in history, but his melodic and emotional side is what makes him “the best.” Also, the idea of adding some Spanish Guitar/Flamenco elements made everything richer. Gemini’s structure was the clearest in my mind after listening to the whole album a few times on repeat. I loved the collectiveness of instruments a lot. It is very dynamic but emotional at the same time, a bit more minor compared to other songs, more powerful sounding sections (intro and outro), and of course, the beauty of John’s soul where he played that beautiful solo (1:47).

Another thing that caught my attention throughout the album was, of course, the harmony of John and Mike. They took me back to my childhood, brought back so many memories from those beautiful days. Many sections reminded me of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence and Metropolis, Pt.2: Scenes from a Memory albums. Sometimes, it was the overall vibe/feeling, sometimes the riffage, pattern, energy, and song’s traffic. That beautiful nostalgia is on every second of this album, which immediately grows a stronger connection in you.


Technically, Terminal Velocity has excellent standards, indeed. I know John Petrucci, Mike Portnoy, and Dave LaRue never had the chance to rehearse before recording the album because of COVID. John Petrucci recorded guitars first, then Mike and Dave recorded their parts. Yes, this is a very challenging situation, of course, but when musicians are on this level, it won’t matter. In my book, this album sounds flawless. Everything has a beautiful blend and a balance, highlighting guitars a bit more as it should be.

When I take all these into account, I’d like to say that I am thrilled to hear a new record from John Petrucci. Terminal Velocity is definitely one of the greatest things that happened in this f*cked up year without a doubt. I would like to thank John Petrucci, Mike Portnoy, and Dave LaRue for their efforts to put this album together in these difficult times. And special thanks to John and Mike for being together again, for taking us, the old school Dream Theater fans back to those beautiful days with their vibes in this album. They meant to be together, and I am already excited about things I have heard about the legendary Liquid Tension Experiment project already!

John Petrucci – Terminal Velocity Album Review | Metalhead Community | Heavy Metal Blog | Metal Music Magazine

In conclusion, Metalhead Community Team congratulates JOHN PETRUCCI with his new exceptional piece of art, TERMINAL VELOCITY. Thank you for reading.


John Petrucci – Terminal Velocity

Terminal Velocity was written and produced by John Petrucci
Guitars: John Petrucci (Dream Theater)
Drums: Mike Portnoy (Transatlantic, Winery Dogs, Sons Of Apollo)
Bass: Dave LaRue (Dixie Dregs, Flying Colors)
Recorded by James ‘Jimmy T’ Meslin
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)


Official Website:
Stream/Buy Terminal Velocity:

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