Being lead singer in one of the world’s leading Progressive Metal bands is an acceptable excuse for not releasing a new solo album every year. It’s been five years since the voice of Dream Theater released his first and only solo album (released under his own name that is), Elements Of Persuasion. Now he is back with a new album entitled Static Impulse.
As James LaBrie himself has stated, the music on Static Impulse is “Gothenburg Metal with some Progressive elements.” The album differs a bit from the sound on Elements Of Persuasion in that it’s at times much heavier, and also contains underlying growls, courtesy of the new drummer Peter Wildoer (Darkane, Arch Enemy, Old Man’s Child). Also new for the album is bass player Ray Riendeau (Halford). Session musician Marco Sfogli and LaBrie’s long time co-author Matt Guillory are the only ones left from the previous release.
The good thing about this album is that it’s varied, and proves that LaBrie has the balls to try a different sound and step outside the box. It’s not a totally new sound, though, and you’ll still find some elements from Elements Of Persuasion on this release. Many of those prior elements are due to the magnificent musicianship of Sfogli and Guillory, but it’s still a good deal more technical at times than the typical “Gothenburg bands.”
Songs like “One More Time,” “Jekyll Or Hyde,” “I Need You,” and “This Is War” are the songs standing out the most that best represents LaBrie's “new” sound. The songs have a refreshing blend of heavy, technical riffs with Wildoer growling on top, and more straightforward, melodic parts with LaBrie singing on top. Songs like “Mislead,” “Euphoric,” and “Just Watch Me” are perhaps the closest you’ll get to the previous album on this release, although they too bring something new to the table. The general sound on the album is less keyboard-based and more centered around drums, bass, and guitars than Elements Of Persuasion. There’s only one ballad on this record. “Coming Home” is the album-closer and an enjoyable acoustic guitar-driven song. It suits the album well to end with this song, and LaBrie should be credited for not forcing more ballads in-between the other songs.
In comparison to Elements Of Persuasion, this album is equally good, but not as innovative and original as the former. The songs are good and there are plenty enjoyable moments, but all in all this album will arguably not receive the same status among Progressive Metal fans as his previous release.
James LaBrie – Lead Vocals
Matt Guillory – Keyboards, Background Vocals
Marco Sfogli – Guitars
Ray Riendeau – Bass
Peter Wildoer – Drums, Screams
One More Time/Jekyll Or Hyde/Mislead/Euphoric/Over The Edge/I Need You/Who You Think I Am/I Tried/Just Watch Me/This Is War/Superstar/Coming Home
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