JOHN PETRUCCI, POWERMAN 5000, SEETHER, AND THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX RELEASE NEW ALBUMS
John Petrucci – Terminal Velocity
Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci is known as being one of the most important guitarists of his generation. He and his band Dream Theater helped create the blueprint most prog metal bands have been using for the last three decades.
For a lot of die-hard fans, the release of a new Petrucci solo album is on par with the release of Chinese Democracy or Fear Inoculum. Sure he’s released plenty of material with Dream Theater since 2005’s Suspended Animation. But his solo album is extra special to guitar nerds that follow his every whim as they’ve been few and far between. Also, his solo work isn’t limited to the confines of the Dream Theater machine. He isn’t just one of the cogs, he’s the whole bloody show.
The album sees the return of Dave LaRue on bass. He had previously played on John’s solo albums, as well as accompanied him on various G3 tours. But the bigger deal for a lot of fans is the reunion with Mike Portnoy. We had all seen the holiday photos with both of them. At the time people started going nuts over the prospect of them working together again. At the time everything was just played down. But now we know that there was more than a bunch of old friends just hooking up for some frosty beverages.
The album has everything you’d expect from Petrucci, and then some. The album checks off all of the right boxes for Dream Theater fans but also sprinkles in other musical ingredients that people would deem as being outside of the box. The album has some funk, pop, and punk mixed in with the heaviness and majesty on the fretboard everyone associates to him.
Fans of Petrucci are die-hard Dream Theater fans. If you think this description fits, there is no doubt in my mind that this album is for you. If you’re a guitar nerd, this album is for you.
Here’s the title track off of John Petrucci’s Terminal Velocity:
Powerman 5000 – The Noble Rot
This is Spider One’s tenth studio album under the Powerman 5000 banner. Along the way he’s always experimented with various types of rock, mixing in all types of influences into the band’s music. This album is no different, as he mixes in a bunch of different ingredients. You’ll find 80s music that meanders between Siouxsie And The Banshees, Depeche Mode, and Bauhaus. Electronica in the vein of The Prodigy and Tricky.
The Noble Rot also contains a cover of The Go-Go’s “We’ve Got The Beat”. As you might expect, the band makes it their own. If you’re a fan of the band, this album will fit nicely into your collection. It is exactly what you want from Powerman 5000 in 2020.
Here’s “Black Lipstick” off of Powerman 5000’s The Noble Rot:
The Atomic Bitchwax – Scorpio
The band has always been a throwback to proto-metal bands of the early 70s in the vein of The Stooges. The band released their first album over three decades ago. Although they have had members come and go, they have always been associated to Monster Magnet. All three members of the band have either been, or are currently members of Monster Magnet.
The band isn’t reinventing anything here. This is just pure, fun, entertaining hard rock. Does it really need to be more than that?
Here’s Atomic Bitchwax with the title track off of Scorpio:
Seether – Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum
I have always had a love-hate relationship with Seether. Their first album Disclaimer is one of my favorite albums of the beginning of the century. And each album since then has gradually lost me a little bit more. I get it, the main man, Shaun Morgan has always evolved the band’s sound. But for me, it’s been in a more commercial direction, and less of a rock direction. That said, his career is full of gold and platinum albums, so what do I know?
The track “Bruised And Bloodied” is the first song in a long time that has really jumped out at me and reminded me of the band’s former glory. The band hasn’t really strayed that much from their second album Karma And Effect. Where Disclaimer was chalked full of hard rockers, it only had one ballad. Said ballad, “Broken” was re-recorded with Morgan’s then-girlfriend Amy Lee for The Punisher soundtrack, and it was a massive success.
Like a lot of bands that taste commercial success, Karma And Effect flipped the switch in the other direction with very few rocking tunes. The album was geared more towards radio play, and it succeeded. Because of that, Morgan has always kind of played within those lines he’s developed for the band. A little rock, with the type of song that gets them on terrestrial or satellite radio.
With Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum they aren’t doing anything they haven’t before. The album is geared towards their fan base, and will be gobbled up by any fan that has been following them their entire career.
Here’s Seether with “Bruised And Bloodied”:
HERE ARE SOME OTHER ALBUMS THAT DROP TODAY
Pain Of Salvation – Panther
Venom – Sons Of Satan
Diamond Rexx – Psych Ward
Ulver – Flowers Of Evil
Manticore – To Live To Kill To Live
Narrow Head – 12th House Rock
Various Artists – Bill & Ted Face The Music Soundtrack
Pig Destroyer – The Octagonal Stairway EP
Metallica – S&M2
Redemption – Alive In Color
Dokken – The Lost Songs: 1978-1981
In Flames – Clayman 20th Anniversary Edition
Lynch Mob – Wicked Sensation Reimagined
Article by Victor M. Ruiz of Mars Attacks Radio & Podcast, and Galaxy Of Geeks Podcast. Connect with him on Twitter: @vmr907