I make no bones about it. I'm not a Dream Theater fan. To be blunt and to the point, I've always appreciated the immense talent they have as individual musicians, but I've always found them to be the single most undisciplined songwriters in the history of heavy metal. They have always written bloated songs that are more focused on getting everyone's individual parts into each song than on writing a cohesive 4-6 minute song that's digestible to the average metal fan (such as I am). That's just my opinion, and I'm sure the throngs of DT loyalists out there will react with their typical "you don't know shit, that's why they're brilliant" response. So be it. I won't convince you, and you won't convince me...so we leave it there. That said though, I've been a big fan of vocalist James Labrie's solo efforts since he started putting them out. Specifically with his release ELEMENTS OF PERSUASION which featured the killer song "Freak", Labrie has proven to be solid for a more traditional listener such as I am. With IMPERMANENT RESONANCE, Labrie has once again put forth a solid effort.
Featuring no songs that even break the 5 ½ minute mark, Labrie has crafted a solid collection of simple, powerful and yet a touch progressive metal that just works for him. Without question, songs like the absolutely killer "Letting Go" or "Undertow" are about as standard as Labrie would ever do. On songs like "Agony", Labrie teams with vocalist Peter Wildoer to trade clean vocals (Labrie) with Death Metal screams (Wildoer). It works here. Labrie, for his part, sounds great as usual. Songs like the midtempo rocker "Destined To Burn" are excellent, with Labrie's soaring chorus being instantly memorable.
What makes IMPERMANENT RESONANCE so good though is not only Labrie, but the thick guitar sound provided by returning guitarist Marco Sfogli. His playing is rich and powerful, adding a lot of heavy flavor to each and every song. He's very underrated as a player (since I'm assuming that no one outside of the Labrie fan club has heard of him). His work on the ballad "Say Your Still Mine" literally carries the track. He works well with the rhythm section comprised of Wildoer on drums and Ray Riendeau on bass. Keyboardist Matt Guillory also appears on the disc, but outside of his piano on "Say Your Still Mine", he's pretty much unnecessary to most of these songs.
PITRIFF RATING - 82/100 - James Labrie solo is far greater than Dream Theater in my humble opinion. IMPERMANENT RESONANCE is a solid effort from Labrie; one that does nothing to deter his fans in any way. It's definitely not his best solo release, but it's on par with the others that he's released to date. In short, IMPERMANENT RESONANCE is worth the time invested to hear it.