Album Review: James LaBrie – Impermanent Resonance
Posted by Reggie
James Labrie has got to be one of the busiest guys in metal. He’s been a gust musician on nearly 20 albums and recorded an additional 18 albums between Dream Theater and his other projects. Those are just the ones I know of…the guy is seriously nonstop. Within just a couple months, fans will get to see both a Dream Theater album, the first with Mangini input, and another James LaBrie solo album called Impermanent Resonance, the latter of which the subject of this review. The new album was released on 6 Aug 2013 and whether you are a Dream Theater fan or not, you should probably take a listen. You may be surprised by what you hear.
This is the third release under his own name. The first two were Elements of Persuasion (2005) and Static Impulse (2010) both of which were strong releases. How does the new album differ? Well, not much except that LaBrie’s albums continue to strengthen with each album. He’s had a relatively steady band considering it’s not his primary band. I think that helps them evolve as group and find the direction want. And that direction is…to record melodic metal that doesn’t comply with anything you would particularly hear from Dream Theater. And that’s one of the things that make his solo albums a pleasure to listen to. His vocals are there, yes, but the music tends to be a bit edgier and more Hard Rock.
One of the things I like so much about this album is that Agony immediately comes out with drums, growls (from another band member), and strong riffs as if to say “this is me, not Dream Theater.” As the song progresses, it weaves its way and out of melodic choruses and hard rock melodies – the kind that inspire finger and foot-tapping. And pretty much the rest of the album follows suit with a few exceptions such as Holding On and Say You’re Still Mine which are ballads. Even the closing track of the album, I Will Not Break, is borderline speed metal, but does have a more mellow chorus. Though the album doesn’t stray too far from the groovy and melodic, each song has its own tempo thus, giving them a bit of character. On occasion, growls appear which give a darker appeal that blends well with LaBire’s vocal style.
Overall, Labrie’s solo albums are certainly improving with each release. His crew of talented musicians is adept at making melodic hard rock that is probably just out of reach of mainstream radio play. It’s that slight edge they have preventing them from being too poppy-sounding and probably keeping them off the airwaves in most cities that don’t have cool radio stations. Impermanent Resonance is composed of 12 songs that hold their weight from beginning to end making this album nearly 50 minutes of solid music.