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Labrie, James: Static Impulse

James Labrie's name always appears on quality recordings. The Dream Theater vocalist's last solo release, 2005's Elements Of Persuasion, was and still is a real winner, and here with Static Impulse James does it once more.

So Static Impulse continues that trend of impressive albums but some will be surprised (I know I was caught off guard), or even put off by the addition of death metal screams this time around. Maybe JLB has taken quite the risk going down this path but hey it works. Those vocals aren't from James but drummer Peter Wildoer of Swedish band Darkane, but even if you aren't a fan of this darker popular style don't be too hasty to pass this one up. They aren't present on every track and even with those that do JLB still has plenty of input with his wonderful clean vocals.

Static Impulse sounds more aggressive than his previous album and will appeal to more than just the progressive metal fans; it's still melodic and progressive but also has quite a modern heavy sound that's very appealing. Also James has some very talented experienced musicians backing him up making quite the lethal line-up, including musical partner keyboard player Matt Guillory. Static Impulse contains expertly performed and well written catchy tunes and though this CD may commence with the swift energetic and heady blow of "One More Time" and enjoys a good serving of metal, there is some reprieve, like the final number which is a light track called "Coming Home" being one that really is quite touching. Also, the songs on Static Impulse aren't overly long, as there are no Dream Theater style extended musical passages- that's not what Static Impulse is about.

James's vocals on this release are simply fantastic. He sounds better than ever giving his all on Static Impulse, proving once more that he has plenty to offer besides fronting the progressive legends Dream Theater.

Track List:
1. One More Time
2. Jekyll Or Hyde
3. Mislead
4. Euphoric
5. Over The Edge
6. I Need You
7. Who You Think I Am
8. I Tried
9. Just Watch Me
10. This Is War
11. Superstar
12. Coming Home

Added: October 20th 2010
Reviewer: Scott Jessup
Related Link: Artist Website
Hits: 2679
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Labrie, James: Static Impulse
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-10-20 13:41:24
My Score:

James LaBrie has managed to sneak another solo album into his busy schedule with Dream Theater, and lo and behold if Static Impule isn't one of his strongest efforts to date. Along with the singer on this outing is keyboard master Matt Guillory, guitar stud Marco Sfogli, bassist Ray Riendeau, and drum veteran Peter Wildoer, was has played with everyone from Darkane, Soilwork, Pestilence, Old Man's Child, and Arch Enemy, among others. What's really interesting is how Wildoer also lends his vocal growls along with his extreme form of drumming to this release, all of which helps give Static Impulse a very heavy sound.

LaBrie and Wildoer battle it out on "Jekyll Or Hyde", a crushing piece with clean & growling vocals duelling it out amidst Sfogli's thunderous prog metal riffs and Guillory's tasty keyboards. The even heavier "Mislead" also sees more of the vocal trade-offs, but this one has some rampaging rhythms to go along with those punishing riffs, while "Euphoric" is trademark LaBrie, filled with soaring melodies and catchy riffs. Other highlights include the rapid-fire metal of "I Need You", the pounding "Who You Think I Am", the symphonic & catchy prog/pop of "I Tried", and the melodic death metal/progressive metal gem "This is War".

I think many folks are going to be quite surprised by Static Impulse. This is easily LaBrie's heaviest solo release to date, and with Sfogli's super wall-of-crunch guitar and Wildoer's wild drum work & vocal screams and growls, is makes for a fun metal ride from start to finish.

» Reader Comments:

Labrie, James: Static Impulse
Posted by Jonathan Swank on 2010-10-05 08:03:49
My Score:

Great review. I couldn't agree more. I've been saying for years that James sounds better on vocals with his solo work than with the recent DT albums where he sounds uncomfortable. Just A/B this to the latest DT release and compare the vocals. I also really like the more straightforward approach to the metal on this release with the more modern, somewhat melodeath leanings of some of the songs. While it is easily as good as Elements, its also very different in style, which should be to the band's credit. James has a great line-up here and its really great to see that these guys are taking this release on the road in North America.

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