Released: Jul 29, 2013
Genre: Progressive Metal, Melodic Death Metal
Number Of Tracks: 12
Dream Theater vocalist, James LaBrie, releases his third solo release under his own name. He has used his solo project as an outlet for his personal muse that doesn't fit within the context of Dream Theater.
UG Team, on july 29, 2013 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: James LaBrie originally started out as a drummer as a child, but at the age of seventeen and after 12 years of drumming he gave it up to focus exclusively on his vocals. He was recruited to Dream Theater in 1990 after a taped and then live audition. Since joining Dream Theater, James has struggled to have creative input in the band and after 23 years he still has a minimal creative role, writing a song or two per album. James began solo projects as an outlet to let him write and sing his songs as he envisioned them. Initially, he recorded under the name Mullmuzzler but after two releases under this moniker he began using his name instead. Counting the releases under Mullmuzzler and his releases under his own name, this would be his fifth solo release. "Impermanent Resonance" has a total of 12 tracks with a total runtime of approximately 50 minutes. The track "Agony" was the first single and was released on June 19th, 2013. James LaBrie does the clean vocals for the album, Peter Wildoer does percussion and screamed vocals, Matt Guillory does keyboards and backing vocals, Marco Sfogli does guitars, Peter Wichers does the writing and additional guitars, and bass is covered by Ray Riendeau.
The album opens up with the single, "Agony," which is one of the higher tempo songs on the album with James and Peter Wildoer trading off vocals. "Slight of Hand" is also an interesting track with some interesting and powerful drums going on, and a really solid bassline. The track "Back on the Ground" is definitely the most ballad-like song on the album with a hum-able solo, though a little shorter than I would have liked. The track "Holding On" really felt like it was going to be a Genesis song until the guitars came in, then by the time the vocals came in it sounded a little bit like late career Michael Jackson, but it came into its own voice by the first chorus. "Letting Go" has a nice groove to it and utilizes both clean and screamed vocals with some solid guitar riffing going on. The album closes out with the track "I Will Not Break" which comes across as one of those "made for radio" songs about patriotism or resilience of the human spirit that people seem to like for when they work out. The album is okay, but there aren't really any stand out moments to me. // 7
Lyrics: James LaBrie has been the vocalist for one of the most popular rock bands in the world for 23 years, so he definitely is no kind of amateur. His vocals are spot on, and he knows how to use his voice to help carry the song. Peter Wildoer does an excellent job with the screamed vocals, and in fact better than the main vocalists for a lot of bands I know who use almost exclusively screamed vocals. Matt Guillory does an excellent job with backing vocals, by not especially standing out but instead adding strength and harmony to James' vocals. The lyrics are fairly solid, but I don't understand the concept of creating a solo project to express yourself creatively to only end up letting someone else (Peter Wichers) write the material. As a sample of the lyrics, here are some lyrics from the track "Back on the Ground": "You're lost in outer space/ And I don't mean to burst your balloon/ Put yourself in my place/ While you orbit around the moon/ 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/ Gotta get your feet back on the ground/ Shake off the stardust/ Gotta get your feet back on the ground/ Just not on Venus/ Don't make it any worse/ Just throw it in reverse/ Come on, come on/ Come on down to earth/ Gotta get your feet back on the ground/ Back on the ground/ Back on the ground/ Riding a solar wind/ As you weave through Saturn's rings/ You dig your heels in/ But that's not gonna solve a thing." The rhyme scheme is maybe a little juvenile, but the lyrics are "okay." // 8
Overall Impression: I'm a fan of Dream Theater, but I just can't quite get behind James LaBrie on this release. The album isn't bad, but it seems really unfocused. The music is all well composed, good tone, good instrumental and vocal performances but something just feels a little bit generic about the whole thing. On a positive note, while some of his previous releases may have felt a little bit too reminiscent of Dream Theater this album definitely escapes that. The high points on this album, for me, was definitely the screamed vocals provided by Peter Wildoer and the bass provided by Ray Riendeau. I'm definitely not trying to detract from anyone else's contributions, especially James LaBrie as his performance was immaculate, but Peter and Ray were who kept me listening. My favorite track on the album is probably "Letting Go," because the song had an interesting groove to it and the use of the clean and screamed vocals on the track was fairly dynamic. The album as a whole, for me, was very underwhelming.