Power of Metal.dk Review

James LaBrie
Impermanent Resonance
Style: Progressive Metal
Release date: 29 July, 2013
Playing time: 57:07

"Impermanent Resonance" is the second release by the current lineup for the James LaBrie Band (as I prefer to call them), following the exceptional "Static Impulse." Because of how much much I loved that last album, and the fact that ex-Soilwork main man Peter Wichers was assisting on this album, I had very high hopes for "Impermanent Resonance." Unfortunately, it's a real "hit or miss" affair.

The album starts very strongly with my favorite track, "Agony." Once again, drummer Peter Wildoer (Darkane) sings first on James' album. A lot of people have issues with the use of harsh vocals on the last release, but I am not one of them. I love harsh vocals and Peter is great at doing them. "Agony" could have been on "Static Impulse." The next two tracks, "Undertow" and "Slight Of Hand," are not quite as heavy but are still solid songs with good hooks and catchy choruses.

It's at this point that the problems begin for me. The next four tracks are basically the same song done four slightly different ways...mostly different lyrics! The tempo, the melodies and the sugary lyrics are all front and center on each track. I kept waiting for something different...more energy, anything! The "blame" rests with James' right hand man Matt Guillory, who has written with James on each album. Three of the four songs are solo compositions for Matt. James obviously didn't object to any of the songs, so he gets some blame as well. The band does their very best on each track, but there's such a sameness. The next track, "Letting Go," is a bit better with more energy and a reappearance of Peter on harsh vocals. Unfortunately, things deteriorate back to slower, dull tracks with "Destined To Burn" and the ultra top-40 song "Say You're Still Mine." The only good thing about that song is that it is at least different from the other slower songs.

"Amnesia" finally starts to turn the ship around with a lot more energy, better lyrics and a forceful hook. "I Will Not Break" is the last song on the standard edition of the album and it is similar to the opener "Agony":  extremely aggressive with some insane playing.  The bonus tracks (I LOVE BONUS TRACKS!) are both great songs that should have replaced any of the aforementioned "snoozers" -- you can pick two. "Unraveling" is a slower song but nothing like those songs before -- stronger melody and better lyrics. "Why" is another fast-paced song, which this album is sorely lacking.

It's unusual to say that an album would be better with fewer songs, but for "Impermanent Resonance" that's definitely the case. If you include the bonus tracks, drop a few slower tracks and re-sequence it so that things never slow down too much for too long, I would give this one a higher rating. James' voice sounds as good as it ever has, Peter is one of the best drummers on the planet, Marco Sfogli and Ray Riendeau are solid. Matt Guillory is the glue, as he always is on James' albums. Despite some weaker songs this time out, Matt is quite talented at writing songs and of course playing the keys. Hopefully the next release fulfills what could have been on this one.

01. Agony
Slight Of Hand
Back On The Ground
I Got You
Holding On
Lost In The Fire
Letting Go
Destined To Burn
Say You're Still Mine
12. I Will Not Break
13. Unraveling
14. Why
Label: Inside Out Music
Distribution: EMI (Denmark)
Artwork rating: 85/100
Reviewed by: Rob Pociluk
Date: 19 August, 2014
Website: www.jameslabrie.com