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James LaBrie - Static Impulse CD (album) cover


James LaBrie


Progressive Metal

3.53 | 97 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars James Labrie's solo album is a surprisingly heavy album, perhaps heavier than Dream Theater at times, due to very coarse gravelly death metal vocals by Matt, scattered in places. Labrie sings exactly as Dream Theater fans have heard him over the years and he is joined by those death growls in tracks such as Mislead, and One More Time, Jekyll and Hyde. The metal is melodic and fast with the traditional galloping riff, the lead breaks are well executed, and the rhythmic drum patterns are standard metal. It is very standard, each track sounding similar, not as complex or intricate as a Dream Theater album but it allows Labrie to let loose with all guns blazing.

Each track is a raucous blaster until we get to the ballads such as the heartfelt sorrowful Coming Home (not a Scorpions cover). There are some proggy moments, Just Watch Me begins with a beautiful piano intro, then some crunching riffs follow, Labrie sings in his ballad voice, and it builds to an epic chorus; "no promises broken that's for sure, no wishing and hoping I've finally found a cure, this time I'll do things differently, this time I will do it, just watch me." The lead break that follows is very well played, with fast hammering and speed sweeps. Then it settles back to the minimalist piano and finger picking guitar.

Jekyll and Hyde has a proggy instrumental with cool keyboard swirls and blastbeats of metal distortion.

Euphoric begins with quiet guitar and atmospherics on keyboards, Labrie sings gently but there is an ominous lead guitar heard, it builds to a crunching riff and chorus. Labrie sounds excellent, hitting every note, and at times it sounds like Dream Theater, though there are no long songs or any lengthy instrumentals.

The album will grow on you after a few listens but there are no brilliant tracks, nothing really stands out as a classic, and therefore not to the standard of Labrie's other work. Overall I enjoyed the album, it was heavy with some brutal riffs, solid lead breaks, and as far as melodic metal goes it delivered. 3 stars.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |


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