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LaBrie, James - 'Static Impulse'

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James LaBrie - Static Impulse

James LaBrie - Static Impulse

Inside Out Music

The Bottom Line

Dream Theater vocalist steps out of his standard prog rock shell.

Pros

  • A dose of heaviness was added to the songs.
  • Touches of the Gothenburg sound are utilized.

Cons

  • CD closer "Coming Home" seems out of place.

Description

  • Released September 28, 2010 on InsideOut Music.
  • LaBrie is Dream Theater's vocalist.
  • LaBrie’s second solo album.

Guide Review - LaBrie, James - 'Static Impulse'

Static Impulse, James LaBrie’s second solo effort, the first in over five years, is the darkest and heaviest album he’s ever done. Even considering what the Canadian did on his previous solo album, as well as his Mullmuzzler and Frameshift projects, Static Impulse goes even beyond what you’d expect him do you.

It takes the route of what he did when he began with his 2005 debut Elements of Persuasion, but then ramps it up a bit. There are even huge slabs of Swedish melodic death metal on this outing. The big reason for this sound is due to Darkane drummer/screaming vocalist Peter Wildoer.

But the heaviness of Wildoer’s scream vocals, combined with LaBrie’s melodic vocals and some top-notch musicianship, produce a well-balanced approach to their sound. The band also features LaBrie's longtime collaborator Matt Guillory on keyboards, Marco Sfogli on guitars and Ray Riendeau on bass.

The songs are short and the music is melodic and modern sounding. The song structures are guitar-driven and are not as progressive as what he does in Dream Theater. LaBrie’s voice is undeniably in good form. He hits the gruff notes, the high notes, and the passion and emotion he puts forth is very commendable.

CD opener “One More Time,” “Jekyll Or Hyde” and “This Is War” are specific examples of the Gothenburg approach. “One More Time,” opens up with a naturally progressive sound, but then takes a surprising turn when Wildoer’s vocals come in. Unless you were already expecting this sort of sound, it will surprise and amaze you that LaBrie has headed in this heavy of a direction.

However, there are some softer moments on the album, especially the ballad closer ”Coming Home.” I think it would have worked better toward the middle of the disc for a different variation and the CD could have ended on more of a heavier note.

Static Impulse is certainly a welcomed direction change from LaBrie’s previous efforts. I’m sure there will be the few unsure die-hard Dream Theater fans that might not agree with his new direction. But this is a catchy and melodic album that won’t grow tiring even with repeated listens.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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