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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.

Dom Lawson has been writing for Hammer and Prog for 14 intermittently enjoyable years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He listens to more music than you. And then writes about it.