James LaBrie anyone? You know, just the vocalist of the most popular progressive metal band of our time… Dream Theater ringing any bells? Well, some of you may have heard of his solo career. It started back in 2005 with the release of “Elements Of Persuasion” and continued in 2010 with his second album “Static Impulse”. As we’re all waiting his band’s self-titled album to be released in September, we can now give a listen to his brand new solo album “Impermanent Resonance”. It was released on July 29th here in Europe and August 6th in the US via InsideOutMusic.
Those of you just looking for more Dream Theater songs will probably be disappointed. We’re always talking about progressive metal, but these songs are way more straight-forward, shorter and built with a simpler form than what we’re used to hearing on Dream Theater’s albums (most of these solo tracks are based on a strophe-chorus-strophe-chorus-solo-strophe-chorus scheme). Nevertheless the quality and the amount of creativity condensed into this album is surprising and may be appreciable even for the most demanding and elitist prog-heads.
Personally, I also appreciate the modern metal approach featured in the whole album with the intelligent use of synths and electronic elements pushed forward by smart and balanced production. This mix makes it an easy album to listen to but with precious and refined details as well, so that both the elitist above and the mainstream rock/metal listeners below can appreciate its gem. As always, LaBrie’s singing has class. It’s always great to listen to his amazing and unique timbre, even in this more mainstream oriented approach. Atmosphere plays an important role in the album as well. Even though we can say most of it is suggested by James’ vocals as well as by the intelligent use of synths.
Unfortunately “Impermanent Resonance” results to be a bit imbalanced. All the best, most interesting and catchy songs are definitely featured during the first half of the album. Using a similar formula in every song, and giving them pretty much the same atmosphere and style really ends up making the second half of the album a bit boring. This is especially true for the ears of demanding Dream Theater fans and modern progressive metal fans in general. They’ll probably get tired during the second half in which the only interesting installments are “I Will Not Break” and the ballad “Say You’re Still Mine”. I don’t consider making an album sound all the same as a flaw. I’m only saying that LaBrie’s usual audience will probably get tired after track 7. Luckily, this doesn’t take away from the really brilliant moments found in the first part of the album.
You may have already checked out the singles “Agony” (opening track of the album) and “Back On The Ground” which are actually two of the most delighting songs in the album, striking with their simple and immediate sound and stand out choruses. “Undertow”, “Slight Of Hand” and “Lost In The Fire” also stand out. The instrumental work has its precious details. Especially the guitar riffage is capable of being more than a simple carpet trampled on by James’ ruling vocals. The strings bring a great, creative effort if you focus on it.
I think that everyone that regularly visits this website should give this album at least one chance. If for nothing else, to respect this influential and amazing musician and discover some good music. Give it ago, you may find something truly interesting.