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James LaBrie - 'Impermanent Resonance' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/30/71/0c/JamesLabrie-ImpermanentR-70-1376667820.jpg Hot

Added by James Gaden     August 16, 2013    
 
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Another milestone in a discography already overloaded with them.

Having hit on a winning formula with 2010's 'Static Impulse', Dream Theater frontman James LaBrie has kept the same mix of melody and muscle and the same team that made that near-perfect release such an adrenaline rush. Mostly written by LaBrie and keyboard player Matt Guillory, this time with help from ex-Soilwork guitarist Peter Wichers on half of the album's tracks, 'Impermanent Resonance' again features guitar wizard Marco Sfogli, bassist Ray Riendeau and Darkane drummer Peter Wildoer, the latter again providing grunt vocals as a counterpoint to LaBrie's clean delivery.

Opener 'Agony' is a statement of intent, the furious riffing and blast beats pinning you to the wall whilst LaBrie and Wildoer caress and assault the ears in tandem, but the song is turned on its head by a big, melodic chorus and Guillory's dextrous synth fills and solo. Similarly, the moody 'Undertow' keeps the intensity levels up with staccato guitars and drums and 'I Will Not Break' closes the album in a way that's perhaps even heavier and more intense than what has gone before. In between these bursts of aggression, 'Slight Of Hand' is less angry and more symphonic and 'Amnesia' is contemporary modern rock at its finest.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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I've gotten used to the screamy vocals in quite a few acts and LaBrie uses them intelligently as an instrument rather than a voice, but even so, most of the best moments happen when they're not present. In recent years LaBrie has hit a real purple patch vocally, and soars on the more melodic tracks, like the brilliant power ballad 'Say You're Still Mine' and the stirring 'Back On The Ground' with its catchy chorus and wall of vocal harmonies. The slightly darker 'Destined To Burn' marries the two facets perfectly, with 'Lost In The Fire' and 'Holding On' also leaning heavily towards the catchier side of the material.

As expected, the playing is phenomenal throughout, with Sfogli and Guillory weaving regular highlights atop a ridiculously talented rhythm section, and the self-production by LaBrie and Guillory and mix by the wonderful Jens Bogren give the album a power and clarity virtually unequalled by all but those with the hugest of budgets.

'Impermanent Resonance' is another milestone in a discography already overloaded with them, the man can do no wrong.

Phil Ashcroft

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