If you're a fan of progressive metal, no doubt you'll be gearing up for the release of the new self titled Dream Theater album, which, short of a new Rush album is about as big as it gets in the world of progressive rock or prog metal. What might have gone unnoticed by quite a few people is that Dream Theater's front man James Labrie slipped out a new solo album a couple of months ago, entitled Impermanent Resonance, and it is equally worthy of attention as what is to come from Dream Theater.
For the uninitiated, Impermanent Resonance feels is quite a departure from Labrie's sound with Dream Theater. The songs are much shorter than one might expect, and the album experiments with multiple flavours of metal. There are djent style guitar tones in places, and some of the songs carry an almost pop-metal like tempo. There is also a melodic death metal style to some tracks, topped off with some excellent, sparing use of growled Opeth like vocals, provided by Labrie's drummer Darkane's Peter Wildoer. This is most evident on the fantastic album opener Agony which sets a high standard for the following eleven tracks. Wildoer's vocals and fearsome drumming both also come to the fore on second track Undertow.
Labrie's vocals, which are sometimes singled out as the weakest link in the rediculously talented Dream Theater machine, are fully enjoyable throughout this album. Being primary song writer for his solo project, the song structures are more vocal centric than some of the Dream Theater work and this allows James to play to his strengths. He is still a more than formidable metal vocalist, and proves it on tracks such as Back On The Ground and Holding On. I Got You must also be singled out as a particularly enjoyable track its chorus cry of "I Don't Need Stars I Can Wish Upon".
This is not an album for progressive metal purists, but will tick the boxes for a lot of people, including those who aren't necessarily normally keen listeners of the genre. A thoroughly enjoyable listen throughout, and if as a listener you have never heard Labrie's solo work before, it is refreshing to him take on a different style outside of the usual technical brilliance of Dream Theater.
Impermanent Resonance is out now through InsideOut Music.