James LaBrie – Impermanent Resonance

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James LaBrie’s new solo effort, “Impermanent Resonance”, is a true metal masterpiece. The record comes out July 29th 2013, but Maximum Rock Magazine had the privilege of listening to it beforehand.

And truly nothing could have made us happier than to have our ears blown to smithereens by this amazing release. Production-wise the record is flawless. In what concerns compositional structures, you’re never going to hear anything more sophisticated.

Song-wise, you pretty much have all you can wish for, from blastbeat rich thundering and fast metal hymns to sappy ballads, and everything in between. The harmonious way in which Matt (Guillory; keyboards & harsh vocals) completes James LaBrie’s trademark timbre only gives more sonic savor to the melodies. The fact that the line-up of the band stayed the same contributed to the feeling of stylistic unity.

There are so many hooks on “Impermanent Resonance” that you can’t help clinging to each song and staying suspended in thin sonic air, with your heart adrift. Despite the complex nature of the compositions, the pieces are still memorable and easy to remember.

Probably the biggest achievement of this record is the particular blend of genres which gives birth to something altogether new. There’s, surprisingly, metalcore, there’s progressive metal, there’s heavy-metal, and even some remote industrial elements. Out of all of this results a magnificent crossover oeuvre, 100% modern and “text-book” perfect.

“Agony” starts the record in a strong manner, drawing a clear, unhesitant direction. “Undertow”, relies on a very agitated keyboard line, doubled by the syncopated distortion. “Slight of Hand” represents the most progressive song on the disc.

“Back on the Ground” is half-ballad, half-up-tempo, but it’s generally built on slower rhythmic patterns. “I Got You” creates a feeling of anxiety through its fast, aggressive nature. “Holding On” is a true rollercoaster song, fooling you with an electronic, synth-driven beginning, only to explode in merciless distortions afterwards.

“Lost In the Fire” is one of the most melancholy tunes on “Impermanent Resonance” and contains some of the most haunting guitar and keyboard effects ever. “Letting Go” goes back to the syncopated guitars and alert pace. “Destined to Burn” is massively led by guitars, in a true metal fashion.

Enter “Say You’re Still Mine”, one of the most beautiful ballads ever written by a band in this genre. “Amnesia” represents the “wake-up” moment after its beautiful “predecessor”.

“I Will Not Break” is a true hymn, praising man’s power to keep moving forward no matter what. Rich in merciless blastbeats, driven by speed and possessed by demented progressions, it is a worthy “finale” for a great album.

“Impermanent Resonance” is a record that all fans of modern metal must listen to, because it is a revelation that uncovers a creative and original sonic pathway, to be tread by many acts in the future. The album is innovative, hard, professional and very well written. “IR” is definitely a must-listen of the year 2013.

Our mark: 9.5 out of 10. 

Tracklisting:

1. Agony (4:23)
2. Undertow (4:02)
3. Slight Of Hand (5:21)
4. Back On The Ground (4:05)
5. I Got You (3:46)
6. Holding On (4:53)
7. Lost In The Fire (3:52)
8. Letting Go (4:17)
9. Destined To Burn (4:00)
10. Say You’re Still Mine (3:32)
11. Amnesia (3:43)
12. I Will Not Break (3:52)

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