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John Petrucci's solo album featuring 8 tracks of previously unreleased material with Dave LaRue on bass and Dave DiCenso on drums, including guest appearances by Tony Verderosa (acoustic and electronic drums on "Tunnel Vision") and Tim LeFebvre (bass on "Tunnel Vision").
1. Jaws of Life
2. Glasgow Kiss
3. Tunnel Vision
4. Wishful Thinking
5. Damage Control
7. Lost Without You
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Update 10/08/15. Oh so now it's almost $100? How are we low income folks to enjoy such an awesome artist if we can't afford the CD? For those of you criticizing my 1 star for the price, may you can buy me one!
Again, this review has NOTHING to do with the genius that is John Petrucci, It's the money Stanley.
And a few weeks later, I did. Music to my ears, I tell you. The opening track, Jaws of Life, was aggressive, fast-paced, and interesting. The other members of this band weren't up to DT standards, in my opinion, but they held the melody together and served as perfect backup for Petrucci's bustin' solo spots. The rest of the album was either really catchy and radio-friendly, semi-heavy (like Train of Thought by Dream Theater), or with hints of progressive rock. It was well balanced, and overall, an interesting album. So why not the full five stars? Read on, dude.
The following are the flaws in this album, but as musical tatses vary greatly, they may not bother you. Find the ones that apply to you, and then decided whether this cd is worth the buy.
1) The guiatr gets a little repetitious at some point in the middle of the album. Not slow, and not boring, but just repetitive. Usually, this is in the super fast, progressive-like riffs, or in the slow breakdowns that repeat the same 2 measures like 50 times. These "points of bore" aren't common in the cd, and I was exaggerating when i said 50 times, but it was enough to make me push the next button. But to those who have lots of patience, lucky you.
2) To pre-existing Dream Theater fans, you have mostly likely heard of Liquid Tension Experiment, correct? Just in case you haven't they are the side project of 3 current DT members- Jordan Rudess, John Petrucci, and Mike Portnoy. Bassist Tony Levin replaces the great John Myung and there is no singing at all. Purely instrumental. However, this album sounds very much like the LTE projects, and even has some of the same riffs and chord progressions. Once again, monotonous...Buut, you could always listen to this first, and then treat yourself to the amazing Liquid Tnesion Experiments. I went vice versa, and now I wish I could have saved the best for last.
3) Lastly, because this album is Petrucci's album, it's completely revolved around the guitar line. Cool deal for some, but for me, only up to a point. I liked how Liquid Tension Experiment and Dream Theater had some keyboard, drum, and even bass solos incorporated into the whole mesh of progressive goodness. Here, it's pretty much only guitar.
So, check and see if that would bother you, and then...time to face the moment of truth. To buy or not to buy? As for me, I recommend this for sure, because, despite the flaws listed above (which aren't really as annoying as I make them sound), the album is catchy and good ear candy. There's a little something for almost everyone in here- slow stuff, fast stuff, solos, sweet meoldies, shredding heavy enough to headbang to, and length. Dream Theater has always put out long albums, and they all fall within 50-80 minutes. The same with Liquid Tension, and the same with Petrucci. Although there are only 8 songs, they are long enough to make the album worth buying. Hey, I may have less tolerance for anything that's not perfect only because I'm used to DT and LTE topping themselves countless numbers of times, but you may not. If you are new to this kind of music, you must realize that all the members of of Dream Theater are head and shoulders above the majorities of those rockstars out there. They are tasteful, and can play at extremely fast speeds for extremely long periods of time. This isn't musical "fast food" at all, and is not for the faint-of-heart. That said, the members of Dream Theater(especially Petrucci) are golden in their own rights. So, you decide. (...) worth it isn't it? I thought you'd say that:)
For people who liked this album, here are a list of my other favorites that you could try exploring into, and probably get hooked on *Note that these are mostly progressive rock/metal bands, so I won't get you wondering into some other genre you don't want to hear about:
Scenes from a Memory/ Dream Theater
Images and Words/ ""
Liquid Tnesion Experiment 2 (not 1)/ Liquid Tension Experiment
Ghost Reveries/ ""
Spirit of Radio/ Rush
Close to the Edge/ Yes
The Fury of Our Maker's ands/ Devildriver
An Eveneing With John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess/ John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess...Mellow mellow mellow, but good
That's about it. I wouldn't want to list all of my favorites, because it would cost you a bundle, but try these on for size, and I hope you like them. Thank you reading my long review, and please continue supporting these guys.
Best wishes, (...)
The backing tracks are formulaic, the ballads appear as expected, the exotic scales are in place, even some 'bluesy' playing - it's as if JP is trying to emulate the instrumental albums that shaped his listening and playing - too bad he didn't listen to some Jeff Beck!
Both Joe Satch and Steve Vai are referenced heavily in JP's playing, (no bad thing, every guitar player is influenced by somebody), but he fails to take it to the next level beyond their collective shadow.
As far as I am concerned, it is unimportant if a guitar player of JP's calibre opts to play one or a thousand notes, so long as a)he has something to say and b)he says it with his own voice. JP fails to achieve this here.
In summary: JP is awesome but fallible, he's only human after all.