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JAMES LABRIE Impermanent Resonance

By Rob McNees, Vinyl Aficionado
Wednesday, August 14, 2013 @ 9:16 AM


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James Labrie
Impermanent Resonance

Inside Out Music

I remember my first introduction to DREAM THEATER. My Brutha Jason McMaster and WATCHTOWER were opening for them at the Verizon Wiress Theater in Houston, Texas. I thought it would finally bring great things to 'Tower', but alas nothing big ever became of it. I remember being bored with DT, as I found their songs long, drawn-out and quite frankly boring as hell!

Times have changed, and so have my thoughts on DT, as I quite enjoy them now (when I'm in the mood for some serious Progressive Metal. Which brings us to the lead singer of said band Mr. James LaBrie. Possessing a great Power Metal voice, this is his first solo album in 3 years, following in 2010's Static Impulse. Impermanent Resonance is the name of the newest opus, written with longtime writing partner, keyboardist Matt Guillory and featuring the same line-up as Static Impulse, Marco Sfogli on guitar from Italy, Ray Reindeau (HALFORD) on bass, and DREAM THEATER drummer audition finalist Peter Wildoer from Sweden.

New to the mix this go-round is Peter Wichers (ex-SOILWORK) who has collaborated on various albums, including the great solo album from ex-NEVERMORE singer Warrel Dane and the superb Praises to the War Machine. This is my first experience with James solo, so I didn't know what to expect.

When "Agony" hit the speakers, I was pleasantly surprised! Gruff, almost death metal vocals, smatterings of blast beats, and a very heavy, newer Metal vibe. If you were expecting DT straight up, you're in for a shock. A great lead-off track, getting you primed for the rest of the album.

"Undertow" starts with some electronics before the riffing kicks in. If you're a fan of SOILWORK then you will really dig this tune, except for James' smooth voice, it could come from any of their recent works.

"Slight of Hand" is a bit more subdued but still a great Metal song. I'm glad to see he didn't make a standard DT type album, but then again, what would be the point of that?

"Back On The Ground" starts off as a ballad before getting heavier. A very memorable chorus makes this track a possible radio/video crowd pleaser.

"I Got You" has a driving rhythm with some cool electronics from Matt.

"Holding On" is a very futuristic sounding track before settling into a more solemn tone. I could see this as a track in a Sci-Fi movie if any ever had a soundtrack worth a crap.

"Lost in the Fire" is another ballad type track, showcasing James's smooth, yet commanding voice.

"Letting Go" is a gets back to a more aggressive stance, one of my faves off the album. A track for when you're riding your Harley, and you'd have a wide smile on your face as you motor down the road. Not super heavy but just a great track.

"Destined to Burn" sounds like a DT/SOILWOWRK hybrid, with moments of both bands featured if you can imagine what that might sound like. Not a bad track but just kinda meh.

"Say You're Still Mine" again starts out as a ballad and actually stays pretty close to that formula. A track my Wife really liked. So there you go.

"Amnesia" again starts a little less aggressive before the aggressive backing vocals from Matt takes it to a slightly higher different level.

"I Will Not Break" start off flat-out Thrash!!! Easily the heaviest track on here, and my de-facto favorite! I'm Old-Skool and grew up with the very origins of Thrash so I am and always will be a fan. I do wish that the album as a whole would have been more along this vein.

"Unraveling" is back to the less aggressive stance, following in the footsteps of earlier tracks.

"Why", the final track ends on a high, heavy but catchy anthem. Aggressive, blast beat drums and Cookie Monster backing vocals in parts but still with James Power Metal vocals steering everything in the right direction.

It's hard to say what DT fans might think, but most Metal fans I think will dig this album. Definitely not a progressive Metal album but just a modern Metal album with excellent vocals, first rate musicianship, and solid production. Maybe not the most original sounding album you've ever heard, but in this day and time that's a tall order.

*** out of 5 stars.


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