Album Reviews

James Labrie – Beautiful Shade of Grey Review

Label: Inside Out Music

Genre: Rock

Release Date EU: May 20th, 2022


Line Up:

James LaBrie – Lead & Backing Vocals
Paul Logue – Acoustic Guitars & Bass
Chance LaBrie – Drums & Percussion
Christian “Chrism” Pulkkinen – Keyboards
Marco Sfogli – Lead Acoustic & Electric Guitars



Devil In Drag
SuperNova Girl
Give And Take
Sunset Ruin
Hit Me Like A Brick
Conscience Calling
What I Missed
Am I Right
Ramble On
Devil In Drag (Electric version)



That Dream Theater frontman James LaBrie has a great voice is undoubted. The Canadian singer enriched many Dream Theater classics with his excellent singing and not only is he always in control of his voice but he also can transport emotions. There is some storytelling part in the way he approaches vocals and that is also a key element of his newest solo offering.

‘Beautiful Shades of Grey’ is the title of LaBrie’s new album, an album that has its roots back in 2011. LaBrie was contributing with some vocals to Eden’s Curse’s ‘No Holy Man’ which was the moment that met bassist Paul Logue. The idea of a collaboration started back then but things never really got off the ground.

When Dream Theater played in Glasgow in 2020, the two musicians met at the airport again and the 2011-idea was present again. Agendas were busy and everybody had a plan, at least before the pandemic pushed the world into a lockdown. Suddenly time wasn’t the issue anymore.

‘Beautiful Shades of Grey’ starts with ‘Devil in Drag’ and ends the album with the same song. While the start of the album is very much acoustic-based and hereby indicates the musical approach. Logue handled the acoustic guitars as well as bass on the album. ‘Devil in Drag’ hereby frames the songs on this longplayer.

Lyrically, the duo focuses on life in a wider sense. ‘Beautiful Shades of Grey’ isn’t a concept album but follows a kind of common theme. There is the beautiful aspect of human beings and there are the grey zones, moments when no one knows if those are good or bad. And there are the moments of sadness, reflects in ‘Sunset Rain’. The song pays remembrance to LaBrie’s late brother who passed away in 2016.

James LaBrie added a very emotion-laden album to his offer. ‘Beautiful Shades of Grey’ is in wider parts calmer and acoustic-driven. It’s more about creating emotions through soundscapes instead of hailing the roaring riff. A louder song though would have helped the flow of the album a bit since the basic pattern of this album is a bit too present. There are not the up and downs, although each of the songs is qualitatively on a very solid level. However, ‘Beautiful Shades of Grey’ has enough to offer to create a positive impression.


Written by: Markus Wiedenmann

Ratings:  (7/10)


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