Wednesday, 21 August 2013

James LaBrie - Impermanent Resonance (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 29/7/2013
Label : InsideOut Music


Impermanent Resonance, album track listing :

1. Agony (4:23)
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)

Bonus Tracks for Limited Edition Digipak:

 13. Unraveling (3:30)
14. Why (3:47)

Bio :

Often referenced to “Gothenburg Metal with some progressive elements”, the latest James LaBrie solo-effort once again comes across as notably heavier than what his followers from Dream Theater might expect. But it is the mixture of contemporary, cutting edge ideas from the heavier metal genre blending with LaBrie’s crystal-clear melodic vocals as well as the tasteful, bright and illuminating use of keyboards that makes songs like the thundering opening “Agony”, the super-direct “Back On The Ground” as well as all around entertaining tracks like “Undertow”, “I Got You” or “Amnesia” become instant attractions for openminded fans of quality metal music. There is no need for a “prog” degree here, but even those with one will find plenty of instrumental sophistication to enjoy on this release.

Band :

James LaBrie - Lead Vocals
Matt Guillory - Keyboards, Background Vocals
Marco Sfogli - Guitars
Ray Riendeau - Bass
Peter Wildoer - Drums, Screams

Review :
Intriguingly, it is drummer Peter Wildoer’s gravel-shredded, growling vocals that we hear first before Labrie’s signature velvet falsetto takes over on the driving opener Agony. It’s a move that shows that, contrary to this being billed as a solo album, it is not a solo effort, it’s not an egotistical one man show. Not by a mile.
Recorded at Sweden's Fascination Street Studios which has previously hosted such acts as Kreator, Opeth and Paradise Lost, it is a record that includes a familiar cast. Guitarist Marco Sfogli and keyboardist Matt Guillory have been in the fold as far back as 2005’s Elements of Persuasion and 2001’s MullMuzzler 2 respectively. The rhythm section meanwhile, consisting of drummer Peter Wildoer and Ray Riendeau on bass, who provide a distinct a powerful heartbeat to the album’s 12 tracks,  have been in the band for 3 years now. Consequently, Impermanent Resonance has a great deal of cohesiveness to it. This is a collective effort and unmistakably so.  

Agony, Undertow and Sleight of Hand open the album in a truly thrilling fashion which set the tone for a consistently strong record. It’s a barrage of killer riffs and massive choruses, they bulldoze their way through your speakers while never straying from memorable hooks

While Sfogli’s guitar work may hold similarities to John Petrucci’s style, he is still very much his own man. He plants his stylistic foundations firmly in the groove, with jittering, hip-shaking rhythms that are both aggressive and attractive. His solos hit the perfect balance between awe-inspiring neo-classical shred and heartfelt wails. He isn’t afraid to hold back, to be minimalist now and then, creating a welcome variation to the dynamics.

But, again, it isn’t a one man show. Matt Guillory’s chiming keyboards weave in and out of Sfogli’s riffs incredibly well and help expand the songs dimensions, while Riendeau’s bass sets a pounding backdrop and Wildoer’s vocals are the Jekyll to Labrie’s Hyde.

In all, it is their attention to detail that arouses your approval the most. On Agony subtle keyboard melodies are peppered here and there and, as a result, they crawl into your head, stick themselves on repeat and refuse to leave. On Holding On, it is Sfogli who takes responsibility for making the song so contagious, with jangling guitars that float behind Guillory’s keyboards like a dandelion in the wind.

Describing the record, Labrie calls it
“powerful, memorable, hook-driven and above all extremely musical. It shows how the writing and the band itself have matured. I truly feel that this is our quintessential album.” I feel he puts it better than anyone else can. He has seen this band grow and mould together around him, seen them transform into a single entity that can no more be looked at as simply a side project to keep Labrie occupied outside of his day job and he now has damning evidence of this in one hell of a record.

Words by : Phillip Weller

As ever, show your support to the band by checking them out at the various links.  You can buy the record here. This record is available now. Thanks to Freddie @ InsideOut for hooking us up