Review: James LaBrie – Static Impulse [2010]

When it came down to previewing the most recent solo release from Dream Theater frontman James LaBrie, my expectations were fairly low, not in the pits but they were definitely below average.  However, upon first listen it is instantly apparent that LaBrie has done something very special here.  Static Impulse is comprised of 12 blistering gems, each of them an absolute killer.

Here’s the refreshing kicker: this album is not at all taxing on the listener.  In fact, it is a refreshing departure from the progressive style of 8-minute plus cuts.  I have always been a huge fan of Dream Theater but sometimes it takes an incredible amount of patience to get through their material.  And sometimes you are just not in the right frame of mind, nor have the time for that style.

Static Impulse is different. Most of the tracks here last between 4 and 5 minutes.  Furthermore, they are thrashy, heavy, and extremely catchy.  There is a fantastic contrast orchestrated by the split vocal style featuring LaBrie’s melodic perfection and drummer Peter Wildoers’ massive screams.

From the hard-charging thrashfest, “One More Time,” this album never lets down its guard.  The riffs really will blow your head off.  Even the ballads aren’t ashamed to finish extra hard (“Just Watch Me”).  LaBrie’s vocal performance is topnotch, while his lyrics are solid, interesting, and fluid.

Guitarist Marco Sfogli is an amazing talent offering some nasty chops.  His style is similar to Petrucci but much heavier.  If you don’t already know him from 2005’s Elements of Persuasion then you better be on the lookout for this one.  He is a demon.

Wildoer is a total madman behind the drumkit while longtime LaBrie collaborator Matt Guillory tackles the keys diligently.

You will not find a better LaBrie album than Static Impulse.  He assembled one hell of an army and he sounds better than ever.  This record destroys.

James LaBrie is James Labrie (Vocals), Marco Sfogli (Guitars), Ray Riendeau (Bass), Matt Guillory (Keyboards), & Peter Wildoer (Drums/Vocals).

Track Listing:

  1. “One More Time”
  2. “Jeckyll 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”

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