Guitar World premiere: Hear John Petrucci reunite with Mike Portnoy on Terminal Velocity

John Petrucci recently announced his first solo effort in 15 years, Terminal Velocity, and while we all eagerly await the album's August 28 release date, Guitar World is proud to premiere the title track and video, which you can check out above.

Said the Dream Theater electric guitar player about the track, “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.”

The video, he continued, “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.

(Image credit: John Petrucci)

“The tracking footage 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."

Petrucci is joined on Terminal Velocity by bassist Dave LaRue (Dixie Dregs, Flying Colors), who also played on his debut solo album, Suspended Animation, and subsequent G3 tours, as well as, in a long anticipated reunion, former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy.

Portnoy’s appearance on Terminal Velocity marks the first recording between the guitarist and his former bandmate in over a decade and the first since Portnoy left Dream Theater 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.”

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).

Regarding the music on the record, Petrucci said, “Much like the songs on 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.

“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.”

Terminal Velocity will be released through The Orchard Music on Petrucci’s Sound Mind Music record label on all digital and streaming platforms on August 28. It will be out on CD and vinyl Oct. 30. 

Until then, the album is available for preorder here.

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.