James LaBrie - I Will Not Break - (8/10)
Published on January 17, 2014
So, here we have the new EP I Will Not Break from love-him-or-hate-him Dream Theater front man, James LaBrie. Why do we love or hate him? Because of his voice, most frankly. I’ve heard many people say that his voice is the one thing that puts them off listening Dream Theater, but I’ve always been able to live with it and in many cases, such as the whole Metropolis Pt.2 album, his contribution is album-defining. And whether you love or hate him, there’s no denying he’s an outstanding vocalist and still one of the best around.
How about his solo stuff then? Well, he’s released a few solo albums, but I’ve never been able to get into any of them, often finding that the music doesn’t do enough for me to sit through a whole album of LaBrie.
According to the press release this album is a digital-only EP, so don’t expect to find this in a music store – the few that still exist. Further from the press release, “I Will Not Break” was taken from LaBrie’s latest solo album, Impermanent Resonance and “Unraveling” and “Why” were available on the Digipack version of said album. The rest of the EP is made up of remixes, alternative mixes and demos previously found only on other versions of other LaBrie albums.
This EP certainly is a nice filler for anyone already a fan of LaBrie’s solo stuff, but who doesn’t already have these tracks in some form. It’s certainly also been a bit of an eye-opener for me, because the none-remixed tracks are, well, rather good and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve certainly enjoyed it more than the last few Dream Theater albums! (Wtf?) The music is nowhere near as technical and there is overall much more melodic and rock vibes to the album. Understandable and expectedly, the focus is more on his vocal skills and goes from the soft, slow, ballady-type songs to a much faster pace and even with some aggression you rarely hear when he’s with Dream Theater. LaBrie also takes a step back on some songs and shares some of the vocal duties with fellow band members Matt Guillory and Peter Wildoer.
As I alluded to earlier, I really enjoyed the album up to track six, after which the remixes start and I struggled to listen through these tracks more than twice. EPs are a great place to throw in the weird and curious and I’m sure there are people out there who would enjoy it and might even know and care what “dub-step” is. Other than these three tracks, this has been a fun listen and if you’re not familiar with LaBrie’s solo work, depending on the price of course, this EP could be the sweetener that turns you on to his other albums.