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James LaBrie Releases Fifth Solo Record

The Dream Theater vocalist and his songwriting partner Matt Guillory on their brand new release

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Bobin James Oct 16, 2013
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James LaBrie

James LaBrie

James LaBrie is very clear that his self-titled project is not just about him ”“ and he ensures that everyone else is as clear. “Aside from my name being used here ”“ and that’s where it begins and ends ”“ this is a band on its own,” says the vocalist bet­ter known for fronting progressive metal titans Dream Theater. “This [band] is much bigger. It’s not about James LaBrie.”

The third James LaBrie solo album, Impermanent Resonance, released in Au­gust, is certainly not a Dream Theater re­cord. “The way I look at it, both bands have their own musical identities,” says LaBrie. “The only reason it makes sense for me to be doing this in the first place, is that I’m able to work with somebody like Matt [Guillory] who writes from a differ­ent angle musically.”

LaBrie and Guillory’s part­nership goes back to 1999, when LaBrie released his first solo album outside of Dream Theater. Record label obliga­tions meant that he couldn’t use his name as the name of the project and MullMuzzler was the name he settled on. That first album, Keep It To Yourself, was followed up in 2001 by James LaBrie’s MullMuzzler 2. In 2005 came Elements of Persuasion under the name James LaB­rie, followed by Static Impulse in 2010. Guillory now wears the multiple hats of producer, songwriter and keyboardist in the band that is rounded off by Marco Sfo­gli on guitars, Peter Wildoer on drums and Ray Riendeau on bass.

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On the new album, the track “Des­tined to Burn” has shades of groove metal. “Back on the Ground” could have been a bouncy pop track, if it weren’t for those heavy guitar riffs. Elsewhere on the album, one can hear traces of djent, met­alcore and ballad-y rock. “What’s real­ly cool on this album ”“ and not that it hasn’t been present on the other albums ”“ is the soundscape of it,” says LaBrie. “It’s very atmospheric.” Matt Guillory, longtime LaBrie songwriting collabora­tor and producer on Impermanent Reso­nance agrees that this album is the most diverse stylistically.

The vocalist’s hectic recording and touring schedule with Dream Theater also means that Guillory starts work on the songwriting part first, before LaB­rie steps in. “My approach to songwriting these days is to start with a vocal melody and build the song around it,” says Guil­lory. “In this band, it’s really important to emphasize and highlight the vocals, be­cause James has such an amazing voice. So I spend quite a bit of time developing the vocal melodies and making sure they are as strong, as catchy, as memorable as possible.”

When it comes to writing lyrics, LaB­rie and Guillory bring two completely different writing styles to the songwrit­ing table. “Matt is much more personal and introspective. Mine are more obser­vational. So I think that really creates a great global perspective of how we are in­fluenced and affected as human beings,” says LaBrie.

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Explaining the title of the album, LaB­rie says that while the new record is not a concept album, the name “Impermanent Resonance” seemed appropriate. “We are constantly challenged in life and the only way you can really embrace happiness is if you’ve gone through difficulty,” he says. “And despite all the challenges, nothing really lasts forever,” Guillory chips in. “That’s what I get from the “Imperma­nent” in the title.”

While LaBrie and Guillory wish to take Impermanent Resonance out on tour, the duo will have to wait until Dream Theater wraps up their upcoming tour. The new self-titled Dream Theater album released on September 24th and the band will kick off a world tour early 2014 and LaBrie hopes India will be on the itinerary this time. “I would real­ly love to get in there with Dream The­ater which would also open the doors for Matt and I to bring our band over there when it comes time to tour the solo band,” he says.

Stream Impermanent Resonance by James LaBrie here 

This article appeared in the October 2013 issue of ROLLING STONE India.

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