LaBrie, James: Impermanent Resonance
Elements Of Persuasion and Static Impulse were both such appealing albums by Dream Theater vocalist James LaBrie, his latest Impermanent Resonance stays inline with the vocal style of Static Impulse. Drummer Peter Wildoer returns with his death metal style growls and another great performance behind the drums. Keyboardist, songwriter and backup vocalist Matt Guillory is back alongside LaBrie, while bass player Ray Reindeau and guitarist Marco Sfogli also return. So while Impermanent Resonance is of course a solo effort in name it does feels like a band getting together for a new album.
I realise that I am most probably in the minority when I say I was more pumped with anticipation for this album than the upcoming new Dream Theater, overall I have had more enjoyment from James LaBrie's solo albums than DT's recent efforts. Maybe I'm just burnt out on DT and do hope their next album changes my feelings.
As I wrote in my Static Impulse review LaBrie's vocals sounded simply fantastic and this album is no exception as some of his best work can be found on these albums, and his band or should I say "solo" band mates really put in top performances also. Wildoer's growls and rapid drumming soon appear to introduce "Agony" though it's not long before LaBrie's clean vocals are also heard, with songs like this one on Impermanent Resonance and "Undertow" metal fans are well catered for and they are only a taste of what's to come. "Slight Of Hand" is another impressive melodic metal number and "Back On The Ground" has some of LaBrie's best vocals on the album. "Lost In The Fire" is a stellar tune the vocals and music are so captivating, it's not the heaviest song on offer but still so very powerful with a great chorus and potent theme as LaBrie sings "The flames might be growing higher, but I'm gonna stay and fight". Impermanent Resonance is a metal album and then some like metal meets pop and lacking some of that aggression that appeared on Static Impulse.
Impermanent Resonance has LaBrie and crew mainly staying with that which has worked so well on prior albums, the heaviness remains and the songs are as catchy as ever. Dream Theater fans wanting more DT style technical athleticism had better wait for their next album, there isn't the room or need for extended musical wizardry. Not to diminish the talents of those musicians involved on here as this is also one talented group. This is LaBrie's opportunity to do his own thing and record the kind of songs that DT doesn't allow him the freedom to do so, and the result is another great album.
3. Slight Of Hand
4. Back On The Ground
5. I Got You
6. Holding On
7. Lost In The Fire
8. Letting Go
9. Destined To Burn
10. Say You're Still Mine
12. I Will Not Break
Added: October 8th 2013
Reviewer: Scott Jessup
Related Link: Artist Website
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|LaBrie, James: Impermanent Resonance
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-08-10 06:52:09
I have to admit that after growing increasingly disinterested in what the ever repeating Dream Theater have to say and being thoroughly underwhelmed by Mullmuzzler, the first side project of their frontman James LaBrie, I've made no effort to hear what the singer has previously had to say under his own name. However if the shimmering mix of styles that makes up Impermanent Resonance is an indication of what I've missed out on, then more fool me. LaBrie has always has a fine and possibly genre defining set of pipes, so the fact that he sounds so accomplished on his third solo effort is no surprise. However that he and his returning bandmates are so focused and driven is. This has to be one of the least "solo" sounding solo albums I've heard for quite some time.
The mere mention of growls or gutturals is often enough to have Prog fans - even Prog-Metal ones - scurrying for cover, but the clash of LaBrie's super clear, breathy tones against the harsh rasp of drummer Peter Wildoer's vocal contributions and the clear back-up singing from Matt Guillory, is a real stand out point on an album that doesn't struggle to impress at every turn. The songs are tight and straight to the point, while still incorporating a whole host of emotions and attacks, with the keyboard contributions adding a very "right here, right now" vibe that LaBrie's main band seem to have let slip some time ago. The likes of "Slight Of Hand", "Undertow" and "Agony" possessing enough dazzling, shimmering key breaks, striking guitar sideswipes and vocal interplay to draw in an audience willing to stretch far beyond the usual Prog Metal fare.
"Back On The Ground" surges into life in such melodic fashion that it could almost be a chart hit, before the guitars beef things up considerably and the thunderous rhythm makes the journey into progressive metal anthem complete. That said you really can dip into this album anywhere to discover captivating tracks that hold the imagination through a variety of fiery performances, skilled execution, cleverly varying themes and skilled songwriting.
Impermanent Resonance really is a revelation of an album and one that will appeal to a far wider sphere of music fan than its main-man's name would suggest. I'd go as far as to say that it is the best, farthest reaching DT related release for a serious length of time and that in itself should be enough to make you want to check it out. If you do, you won't want to be parted from it.
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