There was no possible way that James LaBrie could’ve imaged, that when he left home in 1981 to move to Toronto to purse his musical career that it would be such a long strange trip. James may have gotten his start in music with the glam metal band Winter Rose in 1989, but he is surely best known as the frontman for the legendary progressive metal band Dream Theater. James became their singer after beating out 200 other hopefuls in 1990 and the rest is history. A very illustrious and well respected history that spans almost 25 years.
Dream Theater’s fan base is vast and extremely dedicated, but that is just one of the projects this versatile vocalist has going on at any given moment. You see, his pedigree also includes MullMuzzler, Frameshift and his body of work as a solo artist. Every bit of it as different from anything else he’s ever done before and finds him traversing several musical genres and styles. His new solo offering “Impermanent Resonance,” continues that bold tradition and may very well be the best, most commercial offering he has ever done.
The juggernaut begins with “Agony”. It’s a heavy, hook driven song that will have Dream Theater fans thinking of the “Awake” album, but the heavy vocals provided by drummer Peter Wildoer take the song and album as a whole to the next level. The rest of the band is rounded out by Marco Sfogli on guitars, Matt Guillory on keyboards and Ray Riendeau on bass. Adding signifigantly to the sonic experience is the stunning musicianship and superb production job by Jens Bogren and Tony Lindgren.
“Undertow,” will thrill fans of All That Remains and In Flames alike. While “Slight Of Hand,” has a very heavy Sevendust vibe on the verses, paired with a 30 Seconds to Mars type chorus. Strange, but incredibly catchy. Bullet For My Valentine fans will really enjoy the hugely commercial “Back On The Ground.” “I Got You,” features lush interwoven melodies alongside a fierce guitar groove and solo that would make Drangonforce fans proud. “Holding On,” takes a page from the Killswitch Engage songbook and features another mind bending guitar solo.
The song “Lost In The Fire,” has sort of Disturbed meets Breaking Benjamin groove. “Letting Go,” has a huge memorable chorus and killer heavy breakdown. “Destined To Burn” is another amazing “Awake” era track. While, “Say You’re Still Mine” is a poignant ballad that makes exceptional use of a full string section to create an exquisite song that should please Skillet or Evansblue ethusiasts. “Amnesia,” has a symphonic metal sound, while “I Will Not Break,” boarders on hardcore. “Unraveling,” is another very commercial endeavor that has pop sensibilities and will dominate radio once it breaks. By the time the cd reaches critical mass with closer “Why,” you will be begging for more.
Here’s the real bottom line. If you liked anything this dynamic artist has done in the past, then you will love this. It is the culmination of all things LaBrie. Oh, not to mention that Mr. LaBrie’s voice actually sounds better now than it did we he first began.
A critical must have- 9 out of 10.