Album Reviews

James Labrie – Static Impulse

Released by Inside/Out Music

Release Date : September 27th, 2010

Genre: Metal/Progressive Metal



Line Up:

James LaBrie – Lead Vocals

Matt Guillory – Keyboards, Background

Marco Sfogli – Guitars

Ray Riendeau – Bass

Peter Wildoer – Drums, Screams


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

What is there to say about James Labrie that hasn’t been said yet? The guy boasts an impressive list of achievements not only as the main man for the masters of progressive metal Dream Theater, but as a solo artist and contributor to numerous projects appearing on records for Fates Warning and Shadow Gallery, Trent Gardner’s Explorer’s Club and Leonardo the Absolute Man, the first Frameshift album “Unweaving The Rainbow”, Ayreon’s “The Human Equation”, as well as tribute albums to Rush, Emerson Lake & Palmer, and Queen. It was a good five year wait for the next solo project under the James Labrie moniker titled “Static Impulse” but as usual the wait was worth it. Not sure how many had the chance to check out the last effort from Labrie’s solo partnership with songwriter partner Matt Guillory titled “Elements of Persuasion”, but the sound there was evidently more heavier and modern then some of DT’s more progressive elements.

With that I opened my ears to the new record here and was not surprised at all to hear some death/metalcore growls featured on the opening track “One More Time” from drummer Peter Wildoer. I know some fans probably won’t like this and yes I have read early reviews on the matter which can turn some people off, but the truth is that James Labrie’s voice sounds great and I always found his solo stuff a bit of an avenue for him to unleash his talent on a broader level. James was mentioning this time around the sound is described as ““Gothenburg Metal with some progressive elements.” Well I do have to agree but is more modern, you have to be careful about that term especially when it involved bands like In Flames, or Soilwork, but yes the music does reminiscent some heavier rhythm bass section combined with the clean vocals by James as opposed to the death growls.  I really liked the keyboard lead in “Mislead” with a super raspy guitar solo to shred the void right out the open.

The slow buildup intro in “Euphoric” is a nice change of pace as the song trickles the quickly climbing rhythm then it picks up again, here it reminds me of some of Dream Theater’s latter work circa “Train of Thought”. I found myself digging the harder edge heavy bottom plow of “I Need You” which again features the death growls in the background. While “I Tried” and “Watch Me” sound wise fair to the rest of the album, the last song a soft ballad titled “Coming Home” feels rather out of place in comparison, just off spot for this type of song.

If you’re begging for a revelation of a record then you’ll have to find it elsewhere because most of the song structures follow the same formula in the chorus and the rhythm, not enough to bore you but perhaps towards the end of the album the record kinda drags a bit. If I had to critique it that would be my biggest beef. Thank god James decided to drop the rapping stuff on this one because I despised some of the tracks on the last solo effort in which he thought he was the next Zack de la Rocha. Keeping it metal with an edgier more modern and progressive sound is all fine with me, the metal core death growls did not bother me because the musicianship is terrific, especially from guitarist Marco Sfogli. This is perhaps the strongest solo work from Labrie and you get to see more complete side of him as an artist and songwriter which he doesn’t get to showcase too often in Dream Theater.

Written by Denys

Ratings Denys   8/10

Tell Us How You Feel