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John Petrucci - Suspended Animation CD (album) cover


John Petrucci


Progressive Metal

3.05 | 140 ratings

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Petrovsk Mizinski
Prog Reviewer
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

Petrovsk Mizinski | 3/5 |


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