James LaBrie – Static Impulse

I have never really been a fan of Dream Theater. I have listened to a few of their albums, but nothing really stood out to me. One of the main reasons for this is that I do not like James LaBrie. His style of singing is melodic and well done, yet isn’t something that I can really get into…. or so I thought.

After seeing Dream Theater in Minneapolis at Progressive Nation 2008, I was impressed by their performance and the heaviness that they displayed. Years later, I revisited James LaBrie’s music with this solo effort, Static Impulse. While Static Impulse is a small departure from LaBrie’s overall style with a very heavy melodic death metal presence, his vocal style remains intact. Contrasting this, Peter Wildoer of Darkane provides backing screaming vocals. Perhaps being the reason I enjoy this record so much compared to LaBrie’s other works, Static Impulse is a record that is heavy at times, yet also contains the melodic impressiveness that LaBrie has been known for with Dream Theater.

Released in 2010, Static Impulse is LaBrie’s sophomore solo effort, following Elements of Persuasion. While Elements of Persuasion was highly progressive, Static Impulse takes it a step further and incorporates more heavy metal instrumentation into the mix. Some songs such as I Need You and Who You Think I Am start off with that traditional melodic death metal/Gothenburg sound. Wildoer’s harsh vocals encapsulate this further making the songs strong, yet listenable. Those that enjoy LaBrie’s melodic style should still feel at home, with moments of melody and harmony mixed with the brutality Wildoer brings to the table. Mislead is the song I find myself listening to the most, which hits all of the high points this album has. It contains the melo-death feel, angry screaming vocals, LaBrie’s melodious lyrics, and exciting solos. Euphoric is a great example of the more mellow tracks, which begins with LaBrie’s pleasant vocal style, and some virtuoso guitar work in the background. It is a great track.

If you are a fan of LaBrie, or of Melodic Death Metal, I would recommend giving this album a shot. Even I gave this album a shot, and I am glad I did. It is a solid effort and shows that LaBrie can mix it up and put out some great music that is out of his ordinary style.

Genre: Progressive Metal, Melodic Death Metal
Inside Out Music
Toronto, Ontario; Canada
September 28th, 2010
Inside Out Music

1. One More Time
2. Jekyll or Hyde
3. Mislead
4. Euphoric
5. Over the Edge
6. I Need You
7. Who You Think I Am
8. I Tried
9. Just Watch Me
10. This Is War
11. Superstar
12. Coming Home

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