In a brand new interview with Grammy.com, guitarist John Petrucci of progressive metal giants DREAM THEATER spoke about what fans can expect from the band’s forthcoming, self-titled album, which is set for release on September 24 via Roadrunner Records.
“I think it’s really hard to describe music without alienating somebody,” he said. “You can say that this album sounds a lot heavier, and people would say that sucks. Some people might be really happy about that. Or you could say it’s a lot more melodic, and people could get mad like you said. To me, that mentality where it’s one or the other drives me nuts.
“To give you an example as a guitar player, there has always been this argument, like these two sides where guitar players can only be technical or play with feeling; it’s one or the other. But to me, that makes no sense whatsoever. My favorite guitar players have both. Just because you have developed the craft on your instrument doesn’t mean that you don’t have the ability to be expressive emotionally on that instrument, or vice versa. Just because something is melodic or catchy doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have depth and substance and progressive sensibilities. Just because something is very technical or heavy doesn’t mean that it’s not melodic. You know what I mean? To me, it’s not one or the other. That’s part of the progressive spirit, that’s part of the spirit of DREAM THEATER — we try to keep all of those elements in mind when we write.”
Petrucci also discussed how involving drummer Mike Mangini in the writing process for the first time affected the sound of the new album.
“[Mike] was amazing in the studio,”
Petrucci said. “After getting to know him and recording [our previous studio album] ‘A Dramatic Turn Of Events’ with him [and] then going on tour for 15 months, we spent so much time together as a band and played so many shows, we really got to know Mike Mangini, the person and the drummer. So by the time he got to the studio with us [again], everybody was comfortable and relaxed. We had this incredible musical chemistry, and because of that, it was just a real natural and creative environment. He was able to come in, not as the new guy anymore, but as an established guy and share his ideas in a really respectful way and help us take the music even further.
“Mike can do things on the drums that, really, nobody else can do, so when we’re writing stuff and want to take something even further, he’s right there along with us pushing it. He has a ton of great creative ideas and input. His drum performances brought a lot of spontaneity to the album. Things that you’re hearing were things that we were capturing when we were writing. He’s that good.”
Drummer Mike Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER more than 27 years ago, abruptly quit the band in September 2010 while on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD.