JAMES LABRIE — Impermanent Resonance

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JAMES LABRIE - Impermanent Resonance cover
3.85 | 14 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2013


1. Agony (4:21)
2. Undertow (4:02)
3. Slight Of Hand (5:21)
4. Back On The Ground (4:05)
5. I Got You (3:46)
6. Holding On (4:53)
7. Lost In The Fire (3:52)
8. Letting Go (4:17)
9. Destined To Burn (4:00)
10. Say You're Still Mine (3:32)
11. Amnesia (3:43)
12. I Will Not Break (3:52)

Total time 49:44


- James LaBrie / Vocals
- Marco Sfogli / Guitars
- Ray Riendeau / Bass
- Matt Guillory / Keyboards, Backing Vocals
- Peter Wildoer / Drums, Growls

About this release

Release date: July 29th, 2013
Label: InsideOut Music

Thanks to diamondblack for the addition and adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

After finishing up the highly successful tour for Dream Theater’s A Dramatic Turn of Events, vocalist James LaBrie got back together with songwriting partner and keyboardist Matt Guillory to record the follow-up album to 2011’s Static Impulse. Even though the more abrasive style on that album came as a surprise to some who follow LaBrie’s musical career closely, it was received fairly well, and Impermanent Resonance is written and played in mostly the same vein as its predecessor, and yields mostly the same results.

You could call this album “Static Impulse II” and not be too far off base; if you’ve heard that album, not much on Impermanent Resonance will shock you. It’s a collection of shorter pop metal songs with a heavier edge, thanks to the modern and aggressive guitar tone of Marco Sfolgi and the growling vocals of Peter Wildoer. The centerpiece of the album is, of course, still the unmistakable singing of James LaBrie, though his clean singing and Wildoer’s growls are used extensively in a “call-and-response” fashion not unlike that of mid-era Soilwork and many other Gothenburg-style metal bands. That’s where the comparisons to the melodic death metal genre end, however, as both the album’s riffs and recurring electronic sampling lean towards accessibility rather than heaviness. Make no mistake about it; both Sfolgi and Wildoer know their ways around their instruments, but technicality is reigned in for the most part here.

Being the album’s main focus, LaBrie’s vocals are in fine form on Impermanent Resonance, as they have been on his two previous “solo” efforts. Though his higher register hasn’t been employed nearly as much on recent Dream Theater material, the vocals on this album sit even more comfortably in the middle of LaBrie’s range, as he sings possibly the catchiest group of vocal melodies I’ve ever heard from him. It’s pretty clear that Impermanent Resonance was written with this in mind, and they did a good job of it, as there are hooks en masse and some really great choruses on here; “Slight of Hand,” “Lost in the Fire,” and “Amnesia” are my personal favorites, though there is nary a song on this album that doesn’t feature a really poppy hook or vocal line of some sort.

As the sing-along moments of Impermanent Resonance are so prevalent, particular attention is drawn to the album’s lyrics; like on Static Impulse, they’re quite angst-y and personal, and this is where this album lets me down a bit. I don’t want to call the penmanship on Impermanent Resonance lame, but it’s a little weird to hear a veteran vocalist like LaBrie sing lines such as “Say you're mine, that we're not broken in two, say you're still mine, say it's me and you.” I’ll be honest: I find the album’s lyrics so polarizing that I shy away from certain songs that are otherwise pretty good just because the words are so cheesy.

Fortunately, that’s the only part of Impermanent Resonance that I can see anyone having a problem with. With its sleek, modern production and well-written songs, it’s an incredibly easy album to listen to, and for that reason I’d recommend you give it a try regardless of your opinion on LaBrie and/or Dream Theater (because apart from the voice, this album sounds nothing like the prog metal giants whatsoever). It’s a solid piece of pop metal that you should enjoy if you also liked the previous LP released under LaBrie’s name.
Although he'll always likely be known first and foremost as the voice of progressive metal giants Dream Theater, James LaBrie has been putting out a reasonable amount of music without his Dream Theater band mates for many years now, first with Mullmuzzler and then with the Mullmuzzler musicians albums under his own name. Impermanent Resonance (2013) is the third solo release from the Canadian vocalist. It's going to be a double dose of LaBrie year with Dream Theater releasing a self-titled album later in the year. It's been a few years though since LaBrie's last solo effort, Static Impulse (2010), an album which saw him flirting with extreme metal, including growling vocals courtesy of drummer Peter Wildoer. The same line-up joins James again for Impermanent Resonance. As an band I have to be fair they're no Dream Theater but a solid act in their own right.

Impermanent Resonance comes across as the logically continuation of its predecessor, with LaBrie leading the vocal delivery with growling support from Wildoer. To be honest I seem to like Wildoer's contributions more on Static Impulse than I do here, but that may be because LaBrie himself is on such top form these days that Wildoer comes over as a bit of a spare wheel. The songs themselves follow a similar pattern to Static Impulse, being much shorter and traditionally structured compared to some of the stuff LaBrie's main band has come up with. It's still progressive metal that LaBrie plays when he's away from Dream Theater, but it's a different, more modern sounding kind with shades of melodic death metal.

LaBrie hasn't broken any new ground here the way he did with Static Impulse, but overall Impermanent Resonance is a nice follow-up to that album. Opener Agony (also the album's lead single) is one of the best solo tracks I've heard from LaBrie yet and there are some other highlight contenders in the form of songs like Undertow, I Got You and Letting Go. The quality otherwise is solid but it does kind of feel like the same ideas are being used all the time. A couple of tracks go into balladry territory but otherwise once you know what to expect from the album it isn't ever going to come across as the most adventurous progressive metal release. LaBrie's vocals are the true highlight. Overall I prefer Static Impulse to this one, but even so a great album tier rating is still deserved here.


(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/james-labrie-impermanent-resonance-t3136.html)
For those who don't know who this guy is, he's basically the lead singer of one of the biggest unheard of band's on the planet. Now, I know that is a paradox, but let me explain. Dream Theater in the prog world are one of the biggest bands in history, but in the mainstream world, they are barely anything. They got nominated for a Grammy last year, and even then people where wondering who these guys where.

The best way I can describe James' solo career is much like Bruce Dickinson's solo career. It is very odd to learn, but yes, these two do have solo careers, even though they are the voices of 2 of the biggest metal bands on the planet. But instead of basically doing what there previous bands are doing, they offer something a little bit different to the table.

I was shocked to read the linear notes of the album and discover that in fact a lot of the songs where not even written by James himself, and instead most of the songs where written by writing partner Matt Guillory. I'm not sure if this is 100% correct, but either way I'm not too phased by it, because it doesn't take away the impact of the material.

Now, musically James has now been able to create a new sound and a staple for himself. The last album “Static Impulse” did flirt with melodic death metal ideas and bringing in death growls from Peter Wildoer did give the album a certain flair, but on this album those ideas have been melded with a bigger focus on songwriting, giving the album a more pop laced feeling. I mean it, the best way to really describe this album is a weird hybrid of Soilwork and One Direction.

The albums lead single “Agony” is one of the main highlights. Whenever this got released, I was so surprised at how much I liked this song. Having not not read the lyrics to the song, I was just enjoying it for the catchy moments, but after getting the album and having a read...yea...pretty dark stuff (it's about domestic abuse by the way).

“Back On The Ground” could easily be a One Direction song. I really mean it, this song is so poppy and catchy that James & Matt could have easily sold this off to Simon Cowell. The guitar sound is surprisingly heavy as hell as well, which does make the song a little bit more enjoyable. A great and diverse vocal performance from James too.

“Destined To Burn” is probably the best lyrical moment on the album. A song about racism...yea sometimes this can either be alright, terrible or just very cheesy (“Ebony & Ivory” comes to mind). It is pulled off very well and has some great riffs and melodies throughout.

“Say You're Still Mine” is also another great pop meets metal collaboration. A brilliant uplifting chorus and total cheese.

I recommend getting the Digipack version because there are two bonus tracks “Unraveling” and “Why”, and they are great songs that could have even been on the album and wouldn't affected it in any way.

In conclusion, this is definitely James' strongest solo effort to date. With some of his most memorable tracks and some of the catchiest songs I've heard in metal for a long time, this really is going to challenge a lot of what is to come on the new Dream Theater album. Brilliant album with some timeless classics in my opinion.


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