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James LaBrie: Impermanent Resonance

Dream warrior wields cutting edge of steel

While it might be mischievous to suggest that James Labrie has long needed something to occupy him during the drawn-out instrumental passages that typify the music of his Dream Theater day job, his solo work has so far proved to be a triumph for the direct approach.

As with both of his previous solo albums, Impermanent Resonance is entrenched in territory we normally associate with In Flames, Soilwork and Evergrey: pounding state-of-the-art metal with a strong melodic core.

James sounds at home here as his multinational band serve up an exhilarating torrent of melo-death riffing and grandiose atmospherics. Every song boasts a monumental chorus and, thanks to a subtle sprinkling of electronics, almost strays into Linkin Park territory, albeit only if the nu-metal berks’ balls had finally dropped. Everything from more aggressive material like Agony and Back On The Ground to quasi-ballads like Holding On thrums with excitement and euphoria. Big, bold and outrageously enjoyable.