MIKE PORTNOY Recorded His First Full-On Metal Album

Mike Portnoy

Rick Triana of MikePortnoyWarriors.com conducted an interview with drummer Mike Portnoy (Flying ColorsThe Winery Dogs, Transatlantic, Metall Allegiance, Dream Theater) during this year’s ShipRocked cruise, which sailed roundtrip between Port Miami and Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas February 2-6 onboard Norwegian Pearl. You can now watch the chat below.

Speaking about his recently announced metal project in which he is collaborating with a couple of other well-known musicians — rumored to be Alex Skolnick (Testament) and David Ellefson (Megadeth) — Portnoy said: “There’s another album I just finished the drums and the writing on, and it’s my full-blown first full-on metal album. We wrote it in December and January, and I tracked my drums in January, and we’re about to do the guitar and bass tracks next week.

He continued: “I can’t really give much away yet, but for those of you on Twitter, if you’re a good detective, you’ve kind of put one and one and one together to see what at least the core is, and the three of us wrote and recorded this album together, and then from there, the project and the band and the album will continue to evolve. So, more information to come, but I will say if you’ve done your homework, you know who I’m working with, and it’s an amazing, amazing album.

Portnoy added: “It’s pretty obvious that it’s stemming from my ‘Metal Allegiance’ experience, and it’s all original music. For me, I’m getting to do the full-blown, double-bass shredding drumming that I’ve only been able to hint at with Dream Theater or with Avenged or with Adrenaline Mob. So now it’s a full-blown album. And the whole album is not thrash. I mean, this album is really kind of the history of metal; there’s moments that are early metal, like very Sabbath-esque, and then there’s moments that are full-on mid-’80s thrash — ExodusSlayer, early Metallica‘Kill ‘Em All’ Metallica — so there’s a good chunk that’s very, very much like that. And then there’s moments that get more into ’90s type of Alice in Chains sort of stuff. So it’s almost a good history-of-metal sort of album. But I definitely have gotten my metal chops in. It’s been fun. It’s been really, really cool. I can’t wait for people to hear this album.”

Portnoy also talked about his experience playing with “Metal Allegiance” and “Metal Masters”, the all-star metal band consisting of a rotating cast of musicians, including members of Anthrax, Testament, Sepultura, Mastodon and more. He said: “I love playing with these guys. I’m a metalhead through and through. I was always a metalhead in a prog band. I’m also the biggest proghead you’ll ever meet too. I’m just the biggest music fan you’ll ever meet — whether it be prog, classic rock, metal — I’m ‘all in’ in every genre. But I never had a real metal outlet. Dream Theater got heavy, and most of that was my doing, and Avenged is a kind of heavy, and Adrenaline Mob is a kind of heavy, but my roots are with Sabbath, MaidenPriestMotörheadMetallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Pantera, Megadeth… So this is, to me, the ultimate metal outlet I can have, ’cause not only are we paying tribute to all of our heroes, I’m also playing with all the guys that are in all those classic bands that I grew up listening to as well. They also happen to be my buddies. Even though I was in a prog band, doing a different kind of music, these guys — the guys in Anthrax and Pantera and Megadeth — they were always my buddies. If Dream Theater was playing a festival with these bands, I was always hanging out with these guys, so we kind of all have grown up in our careers together, even though I was in a different genre. So it’s a blast.

Alex Skolnick, Mike Portnoy & Dave Ellefson

Alex Skolnick, Mike Portnoy & Dave Ellefson (photo: Mike Portnoy’s archive)

Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.

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