JAMES LABRIE
Progressive Metal • Canada

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Kevin James LaBrie (born May 5, 1963) is a Canadian vocalist who is best known for being the lead singer in progressive metal band Dream Theater. He has released several solo albums (progressive rock/metal style) as well as collaborating in various projects.

He was born in Penetenguishene, Ontario, Canada and started singing and playing drums at age 5. By his mid-teens, LaBrie was a member of several bands as a singer and/or drummer, and in 1981, at age 18, he moved to Toronto to further his musical pursuits. He currently still resides in Toronto, with his wife Karen, daughter Chloe, and son Chance.

Formerly of the band Winter Rose, he sent a sample to Dream Theater when they were auditioning for a new vocalist after firing their previous one, Charlie Dominici. He subsequently got the job, debuting on DT's seminal progressive metal album "Images and Words", and reverted to using
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Impermanent ResonanceImpermanent Resonance
Inside Out U.S. 2013
Audio CD$6.54
$5.16 (used)
Elements of PersuasionElements of Persuasion
Inside Out U.S. 2005
Audio CD$3.94
$1.48 (used)
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Inside Out U.S. 2010
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PID 2010
Audio CD$17.20
$16.23 (used)
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Audio CD$7.48
$11.59 (used)
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JAMES LABRIE Discography

JAMES LABRIE albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.31 | 13 ratings
Elements of Persuasion
Progressive Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 3.65 | 18 ratings
Static Impulse
Progressive Metal 2010
.. Album Cover 3.78 | 9 ratings
Impermanent Resonance
Progressive Metal 2013

JAMES LABRIE EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
I Will Not Break
Progressive Metal 2014

JAMES LABRIE live albums

JAMES LABRIE demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

JAMES LABRIE boxset & compilations

.. Album Cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Prime Cuts
Progressive Metal 2008

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JAMES LABRIE Reviews

JAMES LABRIE Impermanent Resonance

Album · 2013 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Diogenes
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.

JAMES LABRIE Impermanent Resonance

Album · 2013 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
adg211288
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.

83/100

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/james-labrie-impermanent-resonance-t3136.html)

JAMES LABRIE Impermanent Resonance

Album · 2013 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
arcane-beautiful
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.

8.2/10

JAMES LABRIE Elements of Persuasion

Album · 2005 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Valarius
By now, most Prog fans should be familiar with the name James LaBrie, famous for his role in Dream Theater. So it's no surprise that what we have here is a very Dream Theater-sounding album. However, don't let that put you off, for this is a brilliant album from start to finish.

This album has a nice mixture of heavy and melodic songs, and although it sounds and feels a lot like Dream Theater, the songs themselves are a bit more straight-forward. So people who are put-off by Dream Theater's over the top instrumental sections might be a bit more content with this.

LaBrie’s vocals are in top form here, and he is clearly showing why he is one of the best vocalists out there today. Marco Sfogli’s amazing guitar skills are nicely complemented by Matt Guillory’s keyboards, and Mike Mangini (as always) does a great job keeping a solid beat behind it all.

If you’re looking for some good, quality Progressive Metal, then look no further.

JAMES LABRIE Static Impulse

Album · 2010 · Progressive Metal
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Diogenes
Here we are with another album by James LaBrie. It’s not really a “solo” album per se, since Matt Guillory also wrote it, but far more people know who James LaBrie is, and marketing 101 says to put the most profitable name on the record. So, a JLB solo album it is!

To be honest, I didn’t think this would be any good. I never got into Mullmuzzler and I thought Elements of Persuasion was pretty forgettable. Fortunately, LaBrie wrote some good stuff this time, exploring a new style and hitting on it for the most part. Static Impulse shows the longtime Dream Theater frontman blending a more traditional heavy metal style with modern melodic death metal elements, with sludgy riffing courtesy of Marco Sfolgi and Matt Guillory’s keyboards playing a big role. There are some harsh vocals provided by drummer Peter Wildoer, but they are used pretty sparingly; if anything, the majority of the Gothenburg influence comes from the guitar work and not the vocals. This should come as somewhat of a relief to those of you who hated unnecessary AAARRRRGGGGHHHHs from a certain someone COUGHMIKECOUGHPORTNOYCOUGHCOUGH in an aforementioned band. Hum.

As for James himself, he’s been criticized on pretty much every Dream Theater album since Falling into Infinity; his voice is either annoying, or too operatic, or too unfitting with the Dream Theater approach, or whatever. However, here his vocals are much more tolerable, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering he wrote his own vocal lines-what a concept! It should be known by now that LaBrie’s not going to be hitting any more F#s, but on Static Impulse he sounds both as confident and comfortable as he did in the old days. His slightly smaller vocal range fits the heavier sound shockingly well; if you didn’t like how he sounded compared to the music on, say, Train of Thought, you might want to give this one a shot for kicks.

Apart from LaBrie’s vocals, there aren’t really any due Dream Theater comparisons on this album. The songs are all fairly short and structured with no extended instrumental sections, which might be a bummer if that’s what you were expecting. Make no mistake about it; LaBrie’s supporting cast (Sfolgi in particular) has some chops, but they’re not playing much in the way of progressive metal on Static Impulse. There are plenty of catchy melodies, both of the keyboard and vocal variety (I TRIED! I TRIED!). The playing is still pretty tight, serving as a reminder of the experience in this lineup, yet the album largely of the “low-risk” variety. As such, it’s hard for me to say that anything on this album is a must-listen, although I find that a lot of the songs (Euphoric in particular) are catchy enough to have a permanent home in my collection.

The only major issue this album has is the order of the songs. One More Time is good, but the Wildoer’s screaming right off the bat gives the impression that Static Impulse is going to sound like some random Gothenburg band. This is not the case. On the opposite end, Coming Home is an anticlimactic album closer, being the only “soft” song on here. This whole thing is fairly negligible though, as my pickiness is easily put to rest with a simple click of “shuffle”. So, that’s that.

Obviously, if you’re a fan of LaBrie, you’re going to like this simply because his vocals are much less strained than on most Dream Theater releases. Other than that, I can’t think of anyone that will surely love this album; it’s straightforward enough to appeal to many, although it might not have enough memorability to stick. It’s pretty obvious that Static Impulse is more of a side project, and thus it isn’t an essential…but it’s very well done for this sort of thing, and it’s good for a few listens.



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