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John Petrucci - Suspended Animation CD (album) cover


John Petrucci

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3 stars Well, this IS a Guitarrist album, so anyone who lislikes the genre AVOID AT ALL COSTS.

I personally don't like guitarrists albums, to much of exibiocionism and lack of instrumentals showing where a whole band can go, instead, it simpy sticks to a background riff, straight drums, and a repeating bassline. However, this one has gone a BIT beyond it, it DOES haves instrumental passages with a whole band shifting, and John uses a lot of odd time signatures and well made drum loops.

Despite of all his efforts, he still failed. Infinite soloing still keeps going, and people who eager for something more keep escaping.

I personally think it deserves a two, since its only for those who like the guitarrist album style, but this one is problably the best guitarrist album i've ever heard (right togheter with Satriani's Alien) so i gave it a three. Not too shabby

Report this review (#43024)
Posted Monday, August 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars A very nice instrumental album by Mr Petrucci. It contains all his trademarks: crazy solos, heavy riffs and some beautiful melodies to keep the DT fans happy. The band sounds great too and saves the album from getting repetitive and too much "guitar player orientated". I recommend this cd especially to those who were complaining about Petrucci's style in Octavarium, here you'll get the typical Petrucci sound.

All songs are good but Jaws Of Life, Glasgow Kiss and Animate/Inanimate are the highlights.

Report this review (#43111)
Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
King of Loss
4 stars This is John Petrucci's first solo album and I must say it was not a surprise to me when I heard this album.

It was a most typical and expected result where a bland instrumental background mixed with John Petrucci's almost bombastic guitar playing and insane licks and chops. The guitar playing in it has a great sense of rhythmn, technique and especially technically. After listening to the song, Glasgow Kiss, I was almost blown away. The incredible use of Neo-Classical shredding mixed in with a great sense of rhythmn has made this one of my favorite Guitar songs of all time. But however, after this song, a lot of the songs worry me greatly due to the fact that most songs completely lack melody. When I mean melody, I mean the brilliant Jazz measures of Liquid Tension Experiment. However, that brilliance was not heard on here and most songs was very reminiscent of Train of Thought, especially the guitar playing and fast, furious Metal assault. Nevertheless, John Petrucci's Suspended Animation serves its purpose for a while to entertain Guitar players and may also entertain certain Metal/Prog Metal fans with its absolutely, mindblowing technicality, speed and precision.

This album is a very good album and most surely be recommended by me.

Report this review (#57708)
Posted Thursday, November 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars ehem... a lot of guitar stuff, nothing new actually, very well crafted, very well executed (no criticism towards that) however, is the same sound that he uses in DREAM THEATER. To be honest i think this great guitar player are promoting this record beacuse of his inclusion on the G3 tour, a tour based on show-off and guitar-chops... so read my lips: this is a record for the fans of PETRUCCI and the fans of guitar heroes. Every single cut actually is very old as far as i know, songs composed 10 years ago or so, but that has the chance to see the light of day recently, if you are a fan of DREAM THEATER, you will find out that there's an acoustic LIVE version of LOST WITHOUT YOU from some of the official bootlegs/fan cd's. The key point is that this kind of record needs no review after all, because it is an offering or rendition resulting from an 'itch' from the artist to escape from his main band and create a few pieces from his own personal view (a view that of course is like a trademark nowadays) Avoid it if you're searching something new or inspiring, get it if you want to hear some good guitar oriented music. peace
Report this review (#63815)
Posted Sunday, January 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Seems like I heard this somewhere before?

Oh, I know! John Petrucci is finally here, like Steve Morse or Stevie Vai, but Joe Satriani is not? Weird, because from all those stated, Petrucci is sounding as close as can be to Satch. The only minor difference is the lenght of the songs, althought the albums of Satch clocks at the same time (around 1 hour).

Honestly, this does not scores high marks in originality, if you're a Satriani fan of course! If not, you'll probably think you've bought the best stuff in a long time. Indeed, Petrucci's style is refreshing and althought full of the same technical you're used to listen in the Dream Theater or G3 repertoire which means nice melodies that catches your ear, and soon digs it's way to your heart.

If you're not familiar with the G3 extraordinaire or related material, this is an instrumental album that rocks, roll but progs a tad less. Enjoy!

Report this review (#69082)
Posted Saturday, February 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well, before you all kill me I will tell why I gave a 4 star ..... I'M A GUITARRIST .... ok, that explains a lot of my opinion. This album is fantastic talking about each musician skill (even more Petrucci's skill at guitar) and this is incontestable. So has a guitarrist that I am I would say this is amazing. Petrucci really deserves to be at G3, but I think he is walking too much with this guys (Steve Vai and Satriani). Who are nice too. In my opinion he's getting a little bit of influence by this "best guitarrist of the world" stuff. And this album looks near non-prog and full-exibicionism.

Well, but as I said before, Im a guitarrist and I wanted to make half of things that Petrucci can do, so probaly my critics are the result of my jelousness =P.

About the album tracks, everyone looks like DT without LaBrie and Rudess with means full space for Petrucci solos. In "Jaws of Life" the progress of the music is very sweet, with a strong guitar base (and solo) and good drum work its one of bests to me. "Glassglow Kiss" and "Damage Control" are pretty good too (G3 tracks). The rest of the album follow the same style: alltime solos!!!

Someone already said but I will say again: THIS IS A GUITARRIST ALBUM!!! who doesn't like guitars or prefer keys shouldn't buy this album! Thats is, thx for your patience!

(I'm sorry about my english, if I misunderstood something please excuse me)

Report this review (#72596)
Posted Wednesday, March 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This is not a bad album at all. Yes, I know he is one of great guitarists and I enjoy his work with Dream Theater but I don't expect him to have this kind of album which over show his technical skills. Any guitar player must learn from Steve Hackett or Roine Stolt (of The Flower Kings). The latter always make albums that do not over use their skills in guitars. They use other people's skills in their own roles such as Roine Stolt using alto sax and keyboard players to create rich textures of his music in "The Flower King" album (see my review on this one at this site - it's a masterpiece!). But "Suspended Animation" is nothing different with those albums of Steve Vai, Joe Satriani. I don't intend to demean their skills and virtuosities but over using it into their solo albums do not fit into my musical taste. For me, this album is like Petrucci telling the other musicians (drummer and bass player): "Folks, you just play the rhythm part - I'll play all melodies! Don't go any further, Okay?". The result is a very boring record that did not attract me to purchase at all. By the way, I got this CD on loan basis from my colleague progger Rizal. Having listened to four tracks (and some skimming of next tracks) of this album I conclude there is nothing special about the album but Petrucci's demonstration of his virtuosities. I admit he's a great guitar player but for this album his composition is weak. So, I guess this album is only suitable for those completionist. Two stars would serve well, I think. I'd rather listen to his work with Dream Theater or his previous collaborative work with Jordan Rudess. You are the final judge. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#75713)
Posted Friday, April 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Suspended Animation For those of you who like Joe Satriani or Steve Vai or Yngwie Malmsteen, you will love this album, just like me, plus, I am a guitarist : ) . The songs are really influenced by Al Di Meola, Steve Morse, Steve Vai and of course, Joe Satriani. It is really his first solo album but although this is his debut in producing a solo album, he has done a great job.

The overall songs have a mix of metal - rock - jazz elements. For me, it is not technique or skill that is the most important in every instrumental solo album, but the songs have to have a feeling, deep feeling inside it, which then we can enjoy. My favorite song is Glasgow Kiss, Wishful Thinking and Animate - Inanimate. Glasgow Kiss, which is the song that also played in the G3 Live In Tokyo, is a real combination of great technique and beautiful selection of tones. Wishful Thinking is more like ballad song, but also has a great overall technique in it. One thing about Animate - Inanimate, I love the tones in the second minute, which is VERY beautiful and you know, every time I listen to it, I always smile and I don't know why! : ).

Probably you wouldn't like this CD very much if you are not really into Steve Vai or Joe Satriani. It is because the songs are very different with Dream Theater songs. In Suspended Animation, John Petrucci brings more rockish-not very metal songs, very Joe Satriani.

Personally I would give four star for this album, since this is his first solo album and I think its great! Timur Imam Nugroho - Indonesia

Report this review (#78463)
Posted Wednesday, May 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Here you will read a review from a non guitar player (I just try to play).

The album has a good sound, heavy riffs and all of that. But the problem is in the ideas. It's like a try-to-repeat the good heavy songs of Dream Theater, of course, instrumentally, with the same sound, the same concept, and finally you have a weak album with little new stuffs to offer. It seems like Petrucci had lost his inspiration being far for Portnoy and company.

I think collectors/fans only is a good description, because all in all you won't waste your time listening it (if you like the genre), but if you're searching for good new progresive rock for your collection, skip this one.

The highlights go together: Damage Control and Curve, although this last one is almost a Satriani song (make this exercise: take Curve and put it into the middle of "The Extremist". it fits perfectly) Maybe that's a reason why I think it's a good song.

Report this review (#80143)
Posted Friday, June 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars A waste of time, it seems like John just wanted to create this to have his own album. Some of the tracks are listenable, but there's no substance to anything here, other than a few cool riffs and solos. If you are a guitar playing looking to improve upon your skills and wanting some basic ideas for songs, then this album may be great for you. However, this album is far from necessary as a part of anyone's music collection.
Report this review (#83643)
Posted Thursday, July 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars Anyone who feels that Petrucci can be a little over the top in Dream Theater should stay away from this release. Petrucci seems to have contracted a bit of Yngiwe-Malmsteenitus. He seems intent on being as technical and fast as possible on this album instead of exploring his ability as a composer.

A bland rhythm sections backs up his powerful and technical shredding. The bass and drums are the same you've heard on every guitar album from Gary Moore to Satriani. On top of them we have Petrucci pulling out all the stops, but rarely ever producing something thoughtful. There are times in "Jaws Of Life" and "Wishful Thinking" were he finds a bit of soul, but the moment is quickly lost into the mindless riffing and shredding that might as well of been written by a computer.

"Lost Without You", John's tribute to his wife, stands out as the only successful song on the album. Though even that seems to have been stripped on some of the emotion it had live in favor of guitar overdubs and more solos.

Suspended Animation is nothing more than a disappointing album from a talented guitarist.

Report this review (#84404)
Posted Friday, July 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is one of the best guitar-skill display albums I've ever heard, but there's something really missing here; OTHER INSTRUMENTS! I know the idea of this album wasn't to create a band and roll with it, but to show off in some ways, yet I feel that one of the most impressive ways for someone to show off is to show his ability to work with other instruments. Petrucci does an unparalleled job at writing the guitar parts for this album, and comes close to pulling off an excellent album nearly single-handedly, but comes up inches shy.

Most of the album is one or two guitars (both played by Petrucci, not at once obviously but he overwrites it using music editors) and drums. That's it. "Tunnel Vision" features a bass, and it is in my opinion the best track on the album, which just goes to show you that this album could have been a godsend had Petrucci involved a bassist in a few more of the songs.

In closing, I HIGHLY recommend the purchase of this album if you like guitar work, play the guitar, or need some heavy shredding to get through the day. However, from a prog perspective, it's quite easy to create a masterful collection and exclude this album.

Report this review (#102230)
Posted Saturday, December 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars I hate to label music as "boring" because music is not really about "having fun", but... It is all this really is... really. The songs usually have 3 moments, which rotate. 1. Heavy part, 2. Cheesy part, 3. Technical part. 2 and 3 are sometimes connected by 4 bars of pentathonic scale.

There you are, that is all there is in this album. Even if you are a guitarrist and are looking for ideas to improve your technique, there is nothing here that you can't find in more interesting albums. Also, he does nothing here that he doesn't already do in dream theater or in LTE, so there's really no reasons to even give it a chance.

Report this review (#103723)
Posted Tuesday, December 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars To start, you don't have to be a guitarist to enjoy this album, for example I'm a bass player and I liked this. Of course if you love shredding you'll like this a lot, but this album is NOT all about shredding. In fact, as I always said, Petrucci finds a very good balance between the shred parts and the emotional parts. You really have to appreciate this, and for me, I needed a lot of time to enjoy this album completely because of all the complex structures and different solos. Obviously, this is a heavy guitar-centered album with phenomenal playing (hey, dudes, it's Petrucci!), with super technical moments and times when he finds his soul; and also a very, very good base: crushy drums and accurate bass, to finally make this a very solid album. The best tracks for me are:

"Jaws Of Life": this was the starter of the album and the first song I heard from it, via ProgArchives, and left me completely amazed and wanting to but this disc. Kicks your ass off with a ver heavy and low riff, then all joins when drum and bass explode into the mix. Another similar riff in 5/4 (a lot of odd time signatures during the album) enters with a dark guitar melody, that arrives to the emotional 'chorus'. Then alternated parts lead us to an amazingly enjoyable rocking solo, with an 'orgasmic' moment during the end. Great song!! If you like metal, you'll find yourself headbanging to this all around, believe me. The rhythm guitar work here is essential to the song, IMO, so I wouder how would they pull this off live if they're a trio. What a pity the mp3 streaming of this song is not here any more.

The following track is "Glasggow Kiss" which has a characteristic folky and metallish melody that will be in your head for days. In fact, here Petrucci finds his soul again with very different and well thought and INNOVATIVE solos and melodies. Another song to be amazed by this incredible guitarist.

The fourth song is "Wishful Thinking" which is way more softer and features a very pleasant melody that will touch your heart. This one is way more poppy and I believe if there was a voice, this could be a hit because it's extremely catchy! Really the song finiches at around 5 minutes, but then it all calms down and the guitar enter very quietly and goes getting power and speed until Petrucci goes completely mad and starts playing SO fast that I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Impressive. That part has absolutely nothing to do with the song but it's highly enjoyable as well.

"Damage Control" is very, very good as well. The song progresses perfectly and shows John's abilities as a composer. It starts with a great rocking 4/4 riff which then goes 7/4. The rest is a sucession of parts with great transitions from the heavy moments to the magic moment which can be considered a 'chorus', and again the feeling on the guitar takes place there. The main solo is introduced by a very Metallica-like riff, and rocks very loud! Damn great song!

"Lost Without You" is the quietest composition here and can be considered a guitar oriented ballad, and, well, this is all about playing with feeling and features great guitar solos as well as an unexpected bass solo in the middle. Very good.

Overall, a very good instrumental album that can be enjoyed by anyone specially DT fans, Progressive Metal lovers and shred metal fans, that proves again that Petrucci is one of the best guitarist of recent time.

Rating: 3.4/5

Report this review (#117031)
Posted Sunday, April 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars For a solo album, John Petrucci has really held back on the wanking here. Many tracks are very rhythm-heavy and more about establishing the groove than the fluff that floats around in the aether above it all. If you like all the best of DT and want some Vai and Satch influence, this is where you look. However, I acknowledge that it's really a clique album and a lot of people would prefer to avoid.
Report this review (#122663)
Posted Thursday, May 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars I assume that anyone who would attempt to listen to this album would be fans of Dream Theater and/or Liquid Tension so I will write my review with that in mind.

In short, if you really enjoy Liquid Tension for all its subtleties and musicianship, I say STAY AWAY. However, if you are a HARD CORE Dream Theater fan, and one that enjoys guitar solo after solo, then maybe this album will be a welcomed addition to your collection.

I listened to this album 1 1/2 times and that's all i could take. At one point I though to myself, "Why listen to John here, when I could be listening to Dream Theater or Liquid Tension?" John is an excellent guitarist, but I feel he needs a better supporting cast, and help with his songwriting skills. Many of the songs on here are VERY forgetful, too lengthy, and have no progressiveness at all.

2 stars seems a perfect fit for this album. If you REALLY love John- then this is a good (not great) pickup- however, I would not advise any prog fan to do so when there is so much excellent stuff out there, waiting to be listened to, or discovered.

Report this review (#124888)
Posted Wednesday, June 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars What to say, about this man as a musician, super guitar player, what to say about this album, almost boring with a little moments that catches my ears. This album sound like you put together Steve Vai and Vinnie Moore, lots of heavy passages and not necesary very intristing. In DT is something else, i like him more on DT or LTE, but here only good but non essential music, to me at least. Don't get me wrong this album is not really bad has good moments like Glasgow kiss and Jaws of life, he rest are so so, but is aimless in my opinion. If you like Vai or Moore, this is the answear, because Suspended animation has nothing in common with DT or LTE, here is more mainstream hevy with some classic varation here and there. 3 stars, not bad but not something special either.
Report this review (#142260)
Posted Friday, October 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is absolutely underrated in progarchives.

This is a completely flawless, fun, amazing album that all guitar players should own.

Jaws of Life: It has intense heavy riffs in 6/8 that demand you rock to. There's an incredible solo with no rhythm backing, and overall its a brilliant guitar track. 10/10

Glasgow Kiss: Perhaps the highlight of the album. Very technical, very interesting feel, and JP shows he can play guitar like no other rocking it out at the end. 10/10

Tunnel Vision: This is very JS influenced, with heavy 7-string rhythms and brilliant melodies. Once again he pulls off a very progressive and heart pounding song that brings happiness and joy whilst inspiring you to play. 9/10

Wishful Thinking: this is a brilliant, feel good ballard, with more guitar harmonies than you can imagine, and an ending solo that gives him godlike guitar status. 9.5/10

Damage Control: Very progressive, very rocking, so many riffs, so many moments of beauty. His solo songs are just as long as with Dream Theater here. 10/10

Curve: At first all I heard was JS, but the sweeping part in the solo just gives this song a whole new status. 8.5/10

Lost Without You: A beautiful ballard with a brilliant bass solo and great melodies 9.5/10

Animate-Inanimate: Very long for a guitar track, but that just prooves all the better. He pulls out more riffs than you thought existed here and it has the kind of progressive transitions that create moments. This is an incredible ending to an amazing guitar instrumental album. 10/10

John Petrucci shows why he is one of the greatest guitarists of all time and has played as the third guitarist in G3 more than any other. This album is a must for all Dream Theater fans and guitarists

Report this review (#149052)
Posted Monday, November 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars John Petrucci - Suspended Animation 2.0 stars

John Petrucci is the founding member, guitarist and composer for the prog-metal band Dream Theater and guitarist/composer for the instrumental act, Liquid Tension Experiment. John's work can also be heard on other notable acts like various years of the G3 project and the Explorer's Club 'Age of Impact'.

The album features John Petrucci who plays the guitar and produces the work. Dave Larue, who plays for one of John's biggest influences (Dixie Dregs and Steve Morse Band), does the bass work. Dave Dicenso is behind the drum set and Tony Verderosa plays the drums on track number three called 'Tunnel Vision'. Kevin Shirley, the mixer of Dream Theater's 'Train of Thought' and 'Falling into Infinity' albums, as well as the first Liquid Tension Experiment album mixed the album.

This is not good at all in my honest opinion. When I hear about artists that come out with solo albums. I expect something that we would see from Steve Hackett of Genesis, Steven Wilson/Gwen Aviv from Blackfield or the guy from Katatonia that I can never type correctly. Their solo albums are composed of things that they could never do in their respective bands, showing that they have other influences and more talent that they are perceived having. John Petrucci does not apply here. The music on this album is nothing that we haven't heard before in a sense. The solo's just seems like just more thrown in the basket like his solos in every Dream Theater song. They are also very 'shred' oriented, which is exactly what we hear in Dream Theater's music. So what can one say about this album after listening to albums that feature him chronologically? Wow, this guy can play fast.but don't we already know that since his debut album in 1989? The riffs also remind me a lot of the 'Falling Into Infinity' album, which were nothing to progressive, just simply hard rockish.especially on the 'Tunnel Vision' track.

The tracks on this album also seem to go in an order of how good they are. It really is just a gradually, or for some, an extremely downhill journey as the clock counts down. 'Jaws of Life' is the opener that has a pretty cool riff and simple yet cool sounding chorus. This track is seven minutes though, how can I describe it by those two things? Well, the rest is basically just a very long shred work, nothing you haven't heard before at all. 'Glasgow Kiss' is the most well known track on the record. This is because it has a very nice sounding intro. The rest of the track is again just Petrucci creating shred work, but that's all that is offered. The rest of the album is just downhill like I said before. We start to lose the tasteful chorus and intro riffs, and then it just becomes Petrucci's 50- minute solo spot. Don't get me wrong though, the solo's are Dream Theater esque, meaning he is hitting the right notes, but he is constantly going way too fast and there is nothing new being offered at the table, which is the point I am trying to make here.

This album is recommended for fans of Petrucci's work, not Dream Theater's. There is not a huge sense of composition's in the songs and we are lacking melody, it just isn't a fantastic listening experience were a bunch of talented musicians are working together to put out some strong tasteful songs. This could appeal mostly to fans of some shredding guitarists such as Yngwie Malmsteen or Chris Impelleteri. Not for fans like Steve Vai, Joe Satch or Paul Gilbert. Although not a Vai or Satch fan, I admit they do make a bit of an artistic statement with their music which is what Petrucci lacks. Again, just for collectors of an album that says it features John Petrucci, nothing more.

Report this review (#158546)
Posted Sunday, January 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
Petrovsk Mizinski
3 stars When I first heard of John Petrucci's first solo album coming up, I was struck with a lot of curiosity as to what to expect. I first heard two songs off the album from the DVD G3:Live in Tokyo, which was part of the tour in which he debuted his solo album. Those two songs were Glasgow Kiss and Damage Control, both of which have very noticeable differences to the studio album versions.

The album kicks off with the track Jaws Of Life, which is a very heavy song utilising the 7 string guitar for a very meaty riffing sound indeed. The song kicks into a heavy C# Phyrgian Dominant riff, which immediately gives the song a somewhat evil and dark vibe. The 'chorus' sections contrast this with a soulful feeling. We come to 2:59, where Petrucci goes into his solo, with the licks being fast, firey, while never losing a sense of passion and good phrasing. After the solo we are given more guitar riff heavy sections, but never does this song lose any focus nor does it become boring when listened to in its entirety.

Next up, there is Glasgow Kiss, with a cool opening lick played over a solid backing section. Soon enough, we come to a section that you may not hear all the parts if you don't pay enough attention, but listen well and you can hear some cool harmonised lines and even some counterpoint. But where this song truly hits you in the gut, is the main solo in the middle section of the song. This solo never ceases to take my breathe away every listen. There is not a single note or phrase I would change in that solo. If there is a problem with this song, it's probably because I feel it drags on a little towards the end, but it's no major cause for concern.

The 3rd track is Tunnel Vision, while not a bad song, is certainly not one of the strong song on the album. It has some great guitar ideas, and sounds distinct enough from the previous two songs that it retains a sense of individuality, but it just doesn't seem to inspire me as much as the first two tracks.

The next track, Wishful Thinking is a particularly great track. It has a nice opening guitar line that just touches me straight away, but any concerns about the rest of the track lacking in emotion can be put to rest. This whole song captures my heart time and time again, from it's slower soulful melodic vocal-like guitar lines and even the fast alternate picked lick at 4:47, with some exceptionally well chosen notes. The last two minutes and twenty seconds of the track take on a somewhat different vibe, taking the track from it's original wondering wishful thinking vibe to a more down to earth wishful thinking feel.

Damage Control is another great song, which displays a large variety of moods and emotions. This song is quite progressive, going through a variety of time/key signature and tempo changes throughout which really help to give the song the great variety of feelings it has to offer. Again, the song has some cool compositional devices like counterpoint, which help to make the song a very interesting and fulfilling listen indeed.

*Just a note, due to certain mishaps, some people got copies of the Album that have either 8 or 9 tracks, me having the 8 track version which has Curve as just one track (the whole 6:25), and no Interlude track and I'm taking this into account in my review*

Curve seems to show Petrucci's Joe Satriani/Steve Vai influence, with the main riff being in the Lydian mode, which gives the song a sense of adventure and wonder. Some of the solos have a very Satriani feeling to them (Satriani of course being a notable user of the Lydian mode in rock music and the legato technque), but this isn't such a bad thing the song doesn't feel like a song Satriani would have written anyway. For me, this song didn't totally hit me, and seemed repetitive at times, and just seemed to drag on just a tad too long.

Next we have Lost Without You, which is an absolutely killer track. It is a tribute to his wife, and a great one at that. The song uses the switch to major, which is a device that Satriani liked to use to show a different side of the story or as a passing moment or feeling within one song. It works to great effect here, and really keeps the song flowing fantastically. The real killer for me, is the very last shred lick, which has such incredible fire and the phrase ends absolutely perfectly, I couldn't think of a better note to end that lick.

The last track, is the longest and arguably the most progressive track on this album. But unfortunately I don't feel those two factors make this song the best song on this album, as it sometimes just feels like it just goes too slow at times, even with all the creative guitar ideas and solos. A good track, but there could have been a more exciting and inspiring end to the album to be honest.

As for how the album comes together as a whole, it seems a somewhat hit and miss affair, with some great and not so great tracks and sometimes I felt the lead guitar was a little low in the mix in some of the songs, but luckily it's not a big issue here. It's a well composed and emotive album, no doubt. But from an instrumental guitar standpoint, there has been more interesting releases, and the same goes for a Prog Metal/Rock standpoint. Nevertheless, fans of Petrucci's guitar work and fans of instrumental guitar could do a lot worse than to check this album out. 3.4/5

Report this review (#168823)
Posted Sunday, April 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Suspended Animation is a really great album, but after a few listenings I've found three weak points in it. The first one of them is that the album lacks any degree of originality. Half of this album is undistinguishable from any other Dream Theater album, while the other half y made up of songs that seam to be taken from inside the mind of Joe Satriani. I think that anyone whose work is compared to DT and Satriani should feel utterly flattered, especially when creating an instrumental and progressive record, but I think that we can ask a little bit more to a person like Petrucci. Jaws of life has an impressive resemblance to the music of Train of Thought, while Wishful thinking and Tunnel vision seam as thought they are being played by Satch's fingers. Even more, Damage control even makes me remember the song Bad horsie from Steve Vai. In conclusion, in spite being a wonderful work, the record does not achieve the standard of a truly original creation, basically copying the structure of the two genres that it attempts to emulate. The second criticism is that the record does not have a single direction, it is as though progressive metal would have tied up the left hemisphere of John's brain, while instrumental rock have done the same with his right hemisphere, both struggling to take control of his creativity. It is for this reason that the album lacks coherence, the songs doesn't seem to have a single creator, and the record can't show itself as a single and concise piece. And the last one is that Petrucci seems to be running out of new ideas. His compositions are starting to lack his innovative side which was such an important characteristic in his early work. He has exploited those riffs made up of exotic scale to the point of making them undistinguishable from each other. But don't get me wrong, this is an excellent instrumental rock album, way up among the best ever created. And this is because Petrucci is not just a person who has exercised his fingers for hours each day, he has also done it with his head, and he has dedicated a lot of his time to think the guitar as a serious instrument and not as just as a machine to work out. I dear all of you who criticise this huge musician saying that he is the stereotype of a technical virtuoso to thoroughly study his music and realise that his work goes way deeper. 4 stars to this album. The critics are superficial, the work isn't.
Report this review (#170790)
Posted Monday, May 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars I am a fan of Dream Theater, and I think John Petrucci is a very tasteful guitarist.

Well, he can be.

I know, I know, he's doing a solo album, trying to work out these urges to eat people with his guitar. And it does make this music enjoyable. He plays really fast all over those frets, and it gets impressive. There are some chops on display here that are not easily found in Dream Theater or Liquid Tension Experiment. The rest of the band keeps up nicely. All in all, hey, fun.

But then, as far as an album goes, it gets old fast. Not only do a lot of these riffs and solos remind me back quite heavily to Dream Theater, as is fair, the truth is that it seems that John here wrote himself into a box. His songs are all progressive, as such, featuring odd time signatures and all that. Academically, it's nice. But when it really comes down to it, he's playing the same things he's been playing. The solo album is almost like an exorcism of his redundant, in a way. At least, it should have been, though he turns out some of the same sorts of materials again with Dream Theater.

One of the problems is moods. Great riffs or melodies fade pretty fast to either mindless noodling or a Joe Satriani sort of bridge. While it's not bad, trust me, it's not really all that interesting in the long run. And so, even though I enjoy this album and enjoy the talents of John Petrucci, I think Suspended Animation deserves a mere two stars. It's slightly subpar for a progressive metal album, but that's to be expected, I guess, for an album built around and focusing on solely one guitarist.

If you just can't get enough John Petrucci, go ahead. If you want some wicked shredding, go ahead. But if you love Dream Theater and want more of the same, this is not quite the place to go. The music is quite similar, but this lacks the flair and depth that the rest of that band provides.

Report this review (#184077)
Posted Monday, September 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Oh my God, an enormously gigantic amount of . . . . . meh????

John Petrucci is well know n around the world for three things: he is Dream Theater's guitarist since the band's first formation, he is an amazing guitarist and he is a very good composer and those are the reasons why i had considerably high expectations concerning his very own solo album. However, in Suspended Animation John Petrucci practically only shows us his guitar-player skills. I mean, there are some good songs, but most of the album material is dull and boring and could be easily discarded without a single loss to the album quality. Also some songs feel like they are just too big, as their only purpose is to expose Petrucci's capability of playing 1 million notes per second or his soloist skills. I think that this album may have been influenced by Petrucci's participation in one G3 tour, alongside with Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, since it sure sounds like or seems influenced by them in the whole picture.

About the songs, musicianship and other features, there are somethings i would like to state:

The instrumental work is amazing, but the large amount of meaningless notes just don't add anything good to the album. Also, there are lots of guitar overdubs made by John Petrucci himself, since he is the only guitar player here. There are usually two guitars, one rhythmic and the other soloist, but sometimes there can be listened three, four or five at the same time! The bass and the drum work are also good, but they are only appendages, they only support the guitars.

The highlights are: Jaws of Life, Glasgow Kiss, Wishful Thinking and Animate/Inanimate

Grade and Final Thoughts

Though being a great guitar player, this album is almost an hour of musical masturbation with a handful of good songs that save the album. Its an album hard to sit through without skipping any song and, because of that, it's a 2 stars grade for me.

Report this review (#184219)
Posted Tuesday, September 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Unneeded...

That is how I feel about this album. I feel it is simply an outlet for Petrucci to say "Look at me, I'm fast!" now, this is not entirely true, as some of the songs can be quite pretty. I will say that he overuses the standard "Dream Theater" trademarked guitar solo. None of the solos really amaze or do anything different, specially not from his Dream theater work. This could easily be called Dream Theater - instrumental version.

Take Jaws of Life. It has such a thick and rocking opener, then shifts into a great "chorus" until ripping with a furious solo at the end. This would be great if the every song on the album (barring an exception or two) didn't follow this style. It is very repetitive, and I don't even think he utilized a rhythm section. It is there, but who cares? It adds no dimensions to the music, and could just as well not even be there.

The songs seem progressive, but only on a very shallow compositional level. Most of the songs are standard metal tunes, and this is pretty much a second rate instrumental metal album. To be fair, the melodies are pleasant, and nothing really offends, but this album won't be missed if you decide to pass it up. Two Stars

Report this review (#212048)
Posted Wednesday, April 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Only until 2005, Dream Theater's guitarist John Petrucci introduced his very awaited first solo album, it's called "Suspended Animation" that first of all, nobody knew what kind of musical experience could bring us before came out on sale. However, once you have in your hands the record and push play to the music player all doubts end and an universe of diverse melodies, compositions of high quality, and mostly a great understanding about how to play and feel an electric guitar appear. Songs from blues style to electronic sounds make a particular blend to extend the dynamics along the 9 tracks that compound all this "Suspended Animation".

There are some tracks I would like to mention, for example; "Jaws of life" and its overwhelming metal sound, also "Damage control" has a similar style. "Tunnel vision" focused to the experimentation and working on different sounds. "Wishful thinking" with a very kind and relaxed melody and finally "lost without you", has a really well done blues rhythm on the guitar, I like it!.

Like any other guitar virtuoso, Petrucci tries to show all his skills as musician and make of this work something personal and almost necessary for growing up as much as possible on his music and also on his career. Concluding, I would say we're in front of an enjoyable released for listening carefully, directed to all the electric guitar geeks around the world. Specially recommended to Satriani and Vai fans.

By: Epsilon.

Report this review (#216431)
Posted Monday, May 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars As a big fan of Dream Theater, and especially as an admirer of the playing of John Petrucci, I was excited to hear of his solo album. After hearing the end result I was pleased. It was exactly what I had expected and made a pleasant guitar driven listening experience.

Suspended Animation is obviously concentrated only on guitar, with bass and drums taking the back seat but still offering solid contributions to the overall sound. In other words, they create the space for Petrucci to flex his musical muscles. His playing is all over the place, and most of the time over the top. He can play emotionally and slowly too, though it is on minority on this album, which is fine by me.

The songs are pleasant enough with great melodies and I even ended up humming several of them after listening to this. The style is in the vein of Joe Satriani or Steve Vai, with the emphasis being a bit more on the metal side of things. It's nothing groundbreaking, but I disagree with many that Suspended Animation sounds like your typical Satch or Vai album. You can really hear Petrucci's own individual style through every song. So while the album is a bit generic, Petrucci really makes it his own.

So in conclusion, the album is a good one, I would say a must have to those of us who like instrumental melodic guitar rock with lots of showing off. 3 stars.

Report this review (#231327)
Posted Thursday, August 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars As so often is the case on this great site the overall average rating of an album is the correct one .... This is one of the most important conclusions I can make of Suspended Animation. And I really would have liked to say something completely different !

And how is this possible ? Is this a poor album ? Well, no, not really but somehow it falls short. And this is best explained by comparing this album with what Liquid Tension Experiment has done with their first two albums. Those two albums were spontaneously constructed, at least that was what it seemed. And John Petrucci must have thought: I can do this also with a solo release ! And the problem then is that the mentioned spontaneity is gone. Like other reviewers already mentioned this is just an expression of someone who can play the guitar very fast and in a very technical way. All praise for that but in a way it lacks the authenticity that LTE had.

That's in a nutshell what Suspended Animation is about. If you like just great technical guitar play this one is yours but if you want to feel the inspired stuff done like in the LTE-project then you will get disappointed with this output. But on the other hand it really goes too far for me to give the album two stars or even less because of just the feeling it expresses. The musicianship is simply too good and the compositions are well done. So I'm in doubt between three and four stars here but feel that three is the more adequate score for this (3,3).

Report this review (#258597)
Posted Thursday, December 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I am not a fan of Dream Theatre, but I am interested in instrumental music. It was a reason why I listened to this Petrucci solo debut.

No surprises. I heard him playing solo on G-3 live album recorded in Tokyo, where Petrucci played two songs from this, his solo debut album. And I can say, that concert versions are very close to studio originals.

You can hear technically skilled guitarist playing melodic power metal with prog elements. I believe that Petrucci know how to play guitar, or let say - heavy metal guitar. This album is confirmation. Rhythm section is just supporting team for demonstration of his guitar soloing abilities.

But after listening of full album, I didn't change my opinion I had still from listening of Petrucci playing with G-3 in Tokyo: he is a professional heavy metal guitar player, but not a progressive composer and arranger. Songs sound quite melodic, but in fact are not full range compositions at all. Its more high quality demos for demonstration of guitarist technical abilities. And I can confirm, that as such demos the compositions are great examples. But for being great prog songs, there are not enough originality both in composition and performance.

I believe axe-heroes fans will like this album, possibly DT maniacs as well. For all other listeners this album is listenable, but not too much attractive. And in all cases I prefer Steve Vai or Satriani (from the same field).

Report this review (#258618)
Posted Thursday, December 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Masterful John shines, but leaves the listener a bit lonely

John Petrucci has often been accused of being technically superb but lacking soul in his music. Therefore many reviewers I've spoken with complain that they find his playing style simply unbearable in comparison with great metal/jazz rock/fusion guitarists (such as Petrucci's own idol Shawn Lane) or even Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Paul Gilbert. As I always argue, that is not necessarily so - as Devin Townsend's insane riffs could be interpreted as smothering or as empowering - it's rather a matter of taste.

In a recent video Petrucci confesses that alternate picking is probably his strongest ability as a guitar player. In that, I must say, he is truly masterful and that is exactly what you should expect from Suspended Animation album.

Sound and impressions

I've followed Petrucci's artistic path since 2003 and I must say, Suspended Animation is distinctively different from his main project Dream Theater (whose Octavarium album was oddly recorded at the same time) or even some side projects like Liquid Tension Experiment and, of course, collaborations with Jordan Rudess. Two of the songs have been featured on G3's Live in Tokyo album, though.

As a fully instrumental release, John composes and plays all guitar parts himself, which gives him the opportunity to really excel in a play style that had so far been incompatible with Dream Theater. His uplifting speed-riffs and powerful soloing in so many registers creates an album that is a combination of prog metal and fusion with hints of jazz, blues, and rock' n roll. Nevertheless, it has some immortal tracks, like Jaws of Life, Glasgow Kiss, Tunnel Vision and Wishful Thinking.

The undeniable upside of this album is that John expresses himself musically without having to limit his play to fit in a band's concept of an album which often happened under the hard-handed leadership of Mike Portnoy. Ironically, this is also the downside, because using drummer and bass player simply as fillers makes the album lack versatility and offers less listening experience than regular DT or Liquid albums.

In that sense I found myself amazed how similar Perucci's 2005 album Suspended Animation and Paul Gilbert's 2010 Fuzz Universe really are. The question is, though, which one has more character?

Very solid 3 stars.
Report this review (#422230)
Posted Friday, March 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Elated and inspired. A natural journey through joy.

Since John Petrucci is one of the must successful and acclaimed guitar players in history of prog, is very hard to approach a solo album of him without the band in which he has developed his unique technique. Maybe for his fans this solo album do not come as surprise or groundbreaking in any way, but does he has to surpass his own material in Dream Theater? I think not and he has made one of the must refreshing instrumental guitar albums for sure.

Let's see, what do we have here? A perfect balance between heavy riffs, nice melodies, technical at top class and many solos. Yes, nothing new in this types of albums, but all those parts and styles are really great worked and shows a lot of musicality sense and is touching, not only shredding. For instance, a track like "Glasgow Kiss" is completely uplifting and fresh, and even with the complex arrangements it presents, there's soul there and a lot of nice feelings along to it. Wishful Thinking and Lost Without You are the other tracks where you can feel your soul lifted and have a wonderful journey through the sounds. Just great.

Now, for the more prog metal fans, Damage Control and Jaws of Life seems like the perfect fit. Heaviness, strength, power and very nice melodies and harmonies within. Nothing sounds out of place and even though the tracks are long, it never reaches a point of overwork or trying too hard.

One of the biggest challenges for instrumental albums is to keep it fresh and rememberable, you know, those sequences or melodic lines has to be memorable and in this case is a total win. You can keep the tunes in your mind for hours.

Of course, this will satisfy most fans of prog metal, but I'm sure people with likes of instrumental music will find something nice to enjoy. I just hope people stop prejudging him and hear it without closed mind, because they will miss a lot of joy around here.

A strong 4 stars album. Even with the high standards that the same Petrucci brings over his shoulder, this album is successful and will please everyone. the musicians, no need to say, are top class and the production is great. One of the best instrumental albums I have heard in years. Hope he won't wait another 20 years to throw a second album.

Report this review (#441283)
Posted Sunday, May 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars The First Coming...

Originally spotted in 2005, this is the only known recording of the elusive guitarist in its natural habitat.

The Good: It's John "mother f*cking" Petrucci!!

The Bad: Tunnel Vision is a brilliant composition but it really should end at 3:45 as the reprise brings nothing to the song... then it really really should end again at 5:25... but instead it just meanders on for another minute, like an alcoholic trying to find his way home before puking up all over the front porch in an orgy of shredding.

The Verdict: 'Suspended Animation' isn't particularly progressive and for that reason I give it three stars. Having said that, if it consisted solely of tracks 2 through 6 then I would be very tempted to give it four.

Report this review (#513296)
Posted Friday, September 2, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars I've never been too keen on these guitar instrumental types. You know the ones... Joe Satriani... Steve Vai... yeah, those types. While I "like" them, and appreciate and respect their talent, I've always found "shred" albums tend to get fairly mundane fairly quickly. But this isn't just another guitarist, no sir, this is John freakin' Petrucci of Dream Theater dammit! And this is an album I just had to have!

As a die-hard Dream Theater fan and a guitarist myself (my aspirations to be this good withered away a long time ago), I was super excited to hear this. John Petrucci has long been one of my all-time heroes, and it was about time we got to see him strike out on his own.

However, while there are some fantastic tracks here, 'Suspended Animation', like all the others, quickly becomes just another one of those guitar albums.

I mean, the positives are that the songs are well-written and performed perfectly. We all knew Petrucci's technique was impeccable and this album does nothing but prove what everyone already knew. 'Jaws of Life' and 'Glasgow Kiss' are probably the two tracks most people are familiar with, and damn right, they are good songs! But the absolute star of the show is 'Tunnel Vision', which is an incredibly underrated song and easily the best off the album.

Sadly, after that, the rest of the songs are fairly average. Good exercises in technique and everything you'd come to expect, just not overly memorable. This is why 'Suspended Animation' is nothing more than a good album. Other than the first three tracks, the rest mostly serve as material for guitar nerds to study and learn, or for Petrucci to show off how Godlike he is.

Mostly the latter.

And I'm jealous.

Report this review (#1776144)
Posted Monday, August 28, 2017 | Review Permalink

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