Agony starts of the disc with a very heavy guitar riff followed by death metal growls from drummer, Peter Wildoer of the band Darkane. When Labrie's soaring vocals come in, all the familiarity with his past work with Dream Theater comes to mind. Soaring, melodic, and captivating as always, Labrie finds a way to draw you into the song. The death metal growls or vocals, whichever you may call them, to some may be a detractor. Those who heard 2005's Static Impulse will be familiar with these vocals. To me they add another layer to the music, and are not used in every song.
A very cool keyboard melody hides behind the opening of Undertow and can be heard throughout the verses of the songs. More growls are found throughout this song, mostly before the chorus enters. My favorite part of this song is in around the two minute and 40 second mark, the change of pace by the band, with Labrie's vocals, followed by a ripping solo performed by guitarist Marco Sfogli.
Slight of Hand is next, it starts off with a very cool proggy-hard rock feel. The bass of Ray Riendeau, and Wildoer's drums are at the front of this song. The highlight of this song is the huge chorus, where Labrie reminds fans of his amazing range. This song is very melodic with technical flourishes from the band without. Some of the death vocals in this song, are a bit jarring, given the slower pace of this song, compared to the previous two songs. At the 3 minute mark, the song slows down to almost a standstill with Labrie singing over a piano melody by keyboardist Matt Guillory. When the song picks up, you are greeted to a very cool keyboard/guitar solo trade off, before the song returns to the chorus.
Next comes the beautiful Back On The Ground, while a very radio-friendly, it showcases everything fans love about Labrie's vocals. This is a song, that you need to listen too and not have it explained to you.
I Got You, and Holding On, are melodic numbers that will have you head banging along one moment, and enjoying the atmospheric keyboards the next. Especially in Holding on, where the song builds up during the chorus, while the verses remain slower. This song has an amazing solo, that is very melodic, technical, and fits the song beautifully. Speaking of the musicians on this disc, each one is given their proper chance to shine. Labrie's name may be on this disc, but each musician offers something special to the mix.
Lost in the Fire is familiar in style to I Got You, with its slower verses and bombastic and melodic choruses. Letting Go, brings back the death metal growls of Wildoer. This song has a very cool melodic beat, with a technical guitar riff behind it. The choruses are more straight-ahead melodic, and are very easy to sing along. Like most songs before it, at the three minute mark you are greeted with a time signature change, which leads into another technical yet melodic solo from Sfogli.
Destined to Burn is another melodic song that starts slow, with a very cool section that builds up after the two minute and fifteen mark, only to slow down once more before returning to the bombastic pace, of the chorus and finally ending on a heavy groove riff with Wildoer's growling vocals. Say Your Still Mine, is the a gorgeous ballad. Again beautifully sung verses, huge choruses, and a melodic solo that fits the music that came before it. Amnesia sounds very similar to Holding On, its heaviness and its overall song structure. The closing song on this disc is I Will Not Break, ends the disc very similar to the way Agony starts the disc. Very heavy guitar riffs, the growing Wildoer, and the soaring vocals LaBrie, end this disc on a bang.
This disc has a lot to offer fans, and should be what you expect from Labrie for the most part. Those who did not hear Static Impulse might be surprised by Wildoer's vocals, especially if those vocals are not your cup of tea. For Dream Theater fans who can't wait till the September release of their upcoming disc, for open-minded progressive hard rock/metal fans, and for people who value dynamics as much technicality when it comes to music. Easily recommended.
When Labrie's soaring vocals come in, all the familiarity with his past work with Dream Theater comes to mind. Soaring, melodic, and captivating as always, Labrie finds a way to draw you into the song.
Mat Sinner is both an icon and legend in the German, and the larger European, hard rock and heavy metal scene. Cranking out music since 1982, Sinner is an industrious and prolific musician and producer whether through his namesake band, the heavy metal heroes Primal ... [ Read More ]