[July 29th, 2013]
03. Slight Of Hand
04. Back On The Ground
05. I Got You
06. Holding On
07. Lost In The Fire
08. Letting Go
09. Destined To Burn
10. Say You’re Still Mine
12. I Will Not Break
James LaBrie, singer for the seminal prog metal band Dream Theater, also has a pretty well fleshed out solo career, releasing albums first under the name Mullmuzzler, and then under his own name. He has a couple good albums under his belt, including the most recent album Static Impulse. This year, his newest solo effort Impermanent Resonance was released on progressive metal label Inside Out Music.
His voice is the subject of much division; some people have immense dislike for it while others praise his tone. In the end, he was exactly what Dream Theater were looking for at the time, and he continues to be the right man for their sound. His solo work, however, trends more towards pop metal and metalcore than the progressive metal of Dream Theater, which is fine as long as it is done well.
Unfortunately, this time around, James does not get it done well. What has come forth is a mess of pseudo-prog pop metal and metalcore-esque melodies. There are one or two songs that are quite enjoyable – the opening track “Agony” being a good example of the positive elements on this album – however there are far more generic melodic metalcore and pop metal moments that fail to really grab interest. When you consider all those previously mentioned factors along with cookie-cutter keyboard tones and completely uninteresting chord patterns, and you end up with a very weak start to this album.
One thing that needs to be mentioned is the lyrics, written by LaBrie himself. They are, for the most part, laughably silly. The worst offender is the single “Back on the Ground” (“You know I’ve tried my best/You never gave me the time of day/And now you’re out of breath/And heading ‘cross the Milky Way” really?!) but many of the other tracks feature tired cliches, and overused metaphors.
The album features the excellent Peter Wildoer on drums and harsh vocals, but fails to really take advantage of his immense talents on the skins. This man was auditioned to be part of Dream Theater; use his talents more! In fact, as a whole this is an album that makes almost no extra use of its musicians outside of providing a backing for LaBrie and the occasional uninspired guitar solo.
It’s also over-long. Too many songs of nearly the same musical ideas over and over again make it really tough to get through. Trim the album down by 4 or 5 tracks, and remove the worst ideas, and maybe this album might be worth something. Despite all the criticisms leveled at it, there are some good, catchy ideas here. Some of the chorus melodies are quite solid.
James has recently gone on record as saying he’s enjoyed modern bands such as Bring Me The Horizon and August Burns Red, and that influence has really shown on this album. Impermanent Resonance is a very disappointing offering from the Dream Theater frontman. LaBrie has been considered the weakest link in his main band, and despite a few good solo albums from him, his solo career shows why, especially on this album. The few good moments are not enough to save it – though they do offer some solace for those seeking to review it. Skip this album and go back to Static Impulse, or even leave LaBrie’s solo career alone entirely.