Author Topic: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread  (Read 1239 times)

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Online JayOctavarium

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James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« on: November 23, 2017, 09:59:13 PM »
There's been so much hate on James lately.

He's not in his 20's any more, he's not perfect, but he doesn't deserve all of the shit people are giving him.



I absolutely LOVE James's singing. Current and past.


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Offline Madman Shepherd

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2017, 10:03:47 PM »
I wouldn't say there's been so much hate considering it's come from the same 5 guys (one of whom may or may not be in a rival band of his).

But maybe this isn't the time to debate that.  It's time to praise an amazing vocalist and one who is easily in my top 5 (which includes the likes of Ronnie James Dio so you know what company he keeps). 

James is amazing.  When he sings those unbelievable high notes, when he sings quieter passages, or even his gritty tone which he doesn't get enough credit for, the guy is freaking awesome. 

Love his sense of humor too. 

Offline Lethean

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2017, 10:51:14 PM »
+1 to both of you. I like all of the different facets of his voice. When it comes to the high notes, I certainly do love the stuff on Images and Words, but I also love the high stuff on the most recent albums, and in some ways like them better, even if they aren't as high as the old stuff.

I was amazed at his performance on TA (live and studio), I think he sounds awesome on The Source, and look forward to whatever comes next.

Offline MirrorMask

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2017, 01:24:19 AM »
Well, this seems an occasion as good as any to show my absolute love and praise for James  :metal

Really, I may be the 1% or less of the fans in saying this, but James is THE reason I listen to Dream Theater. Guitarits focus on Petrucci, drummers focus on Portnoy, I'm not a singer but I've always loved singing and for 7 years I took singing lessons, so the voice will always be the first thing  I notice in music, and James' voice was the deciding factor in starting to love Dream Theater.

Sure, then I also learnt to appreciate the intricacies of the music, but James was and has always been the selling point for me. I'd consider him my favorite singer after Bruce Dickinson, for the many sides of his voice praised before... I was never annoyed by the "breathy" quiet sections, I actually think they're wonderful and when he sings them live it's just spellbinding and awesome.

His roaring voice back in the I&W and Awake days was godlike, and still his high register vocals today on the DT songs and other projects is gorgeous. He comes across as a humble and intelligent guy, and he was very kind with me when I met him at his solo show in 2005, he's the only one of DT I had the pleasure of meeting face to face.

Really, I'm a big fan of James as can be, I actually admire him and respect him. Same for the other DT guys, all hard working musicians dedicated to their craft who are not turned douche by fame or by wild parties and drugs, it's nice to be in the position to not love just the music, but also appreciate the actual persons that create said music.
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Offline wolfking

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2017, 04:44:18 AM »
THE voice of DT.

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2017, 05:12:45 AM »
THE voice of DT.

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Offline Ninjabait

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2017, 06:36:35 AM »
LaBrie is honestly one of my favorite vocalists. His voice has such a nice, solid tone and he doesn't throw in a lot of showy technical passages, which makes his music fairly easy for me to sing along to. He's also one of the best "singing actors" in prog and metal today, and I absolutely love his performances in The Astonishing, The Source, and The Human/Theater Equation. His lyrics are usually pretty solid, and his vocal melodies are usually super comfortable to sing (at least for me) and well-constructed.

And I've never met him in person, but he also seems like a super chill and funny dude from interviews and such.

Offline KevShmev

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2017, 03:47:16 PM »
One of my favorite rock/metal singers ever, when looking at just the studio work. He is always great in the studio.

He has always been a mixed bag live, so I cannot say he is one of my favorites in that regard, but since the studio work is what I listen to 99% of the time, I almost always hear the good James! :lol :biggrin:

Offline SeRoX

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2017, 05:45:47 AM »
This man put godly vocal performance in his prime. He's been always amazing on the studio.

Which I seek in rock/metal music (because I mostly listen rock and metal) is the uniqueness of the voice. Love it or hate it, James' voice is unique among metal/rock singers.
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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2017, 07:31:24 AM »
This man put godly vocal performance in his prime. He's been always amazing on the studio.

Which I seek in rock/metal music (because I mostly listen rock and metal) is the uniqueness of the voice. Love it or hate it, James' voice is unique among metal/rock singers.

Agreed.

He's had some great live moments as well.
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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2017, 07:42:32 AM »
The pirate is the GOAT of all time.

Loved the subtle changes in his voice on TA to account for the different characters.

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2017, 05:31:57 PM »
I'm one of the highly critical fans. He had an amazing voice back in the day but there are lots of subpar LaBrie performances online from the past 10 years or so. That being said, I saw them for the first time a couple weeks ago and enjoyed every minute of it. I wasn't a huge fan of LaBrie's voice but he seemed to nail all the notes and I'm really happy I finally got to hear him (and the rest of the band) in person. I'll definitely see DT again!

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Offline Architeuthis

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2017, 12:29:38 PM »
I think he's one of the greatest singers of our time, nobody could replace him in DT. One of the reasons they are tied for first place in my all-time favorite bands.. Seeing him perform The Astonishing live in Seattle was probably the best vocal performance I've ever heard. The whole band was on par with that too.
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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2017, 01:43:43 PM »
I was harsh on James during the DT12 tour but that's partially because the band insisted on revisiting material the man just can't sing or make sound good at his age. But the guy was and still is a monstrous vocalist and one of the very few musicians I'll waste time just watching on YouTube because there are so many great performances out there. I cannot say enough good things about his work across many of Dream Theater's albums, especially I&W and - mostly - Awake.

I admit to being an overly critical fan sometimes but he still kills it live, usually, and I think it'd be in DT's best interest to avoid much heavy metal from now on and really let James's softer side shine because that's what he's best at. Follow the Beneath The Surface approach, or Along For The Ride, or Breaking All Illusions even. I think it'll be best for him *and* the band to play to his strengths. A vocalist at his best can elevate the whole band; a vocalist straining or at his worst can bring down the whole band, imo.

Offline Adami

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2017, 01:53:48 PM »
One of my favorite studio singers and one of the few musicians I would actually like to hang out with.
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Offline Lethean

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2017, 03:10:44 PM »
I think one sign of just how great he is is that everyone has a different opinion on what he does best, as well as which tours he sounded great on and which he didn't. 

I think I've read every possible combination there could be. Someone who thought he was awesome on the Along for the Ride tour and bad on the Astonishing tour. Someone who thought the exact opposite. People who thought he was great on every single tour <insert tour here>, all the way up to the last tour. People who thought he was only good before the food poisoning. People thought he was bad for a while after that then good again. Etc etc etc.

Then you have those who think he can only do the more metal songs these days. People who think that's exactly what he shouldn't do. People who think the softer stuff is the best, or the high stuff is still the best, just not as high as he used to go.

With all that - I guess he should just do what he and the band wants. I'd prefer to continue to get all of the different facets of his voice. Soft, heavy, clear, high, etc. If he even wants to record something he knows he won't be able to do reliably live - fine by me; just modify it for the shows.

And live material - as long as they don't overload him with old stuff, I think all that material should still be in consideration.

Offline Lethean

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2017, 03:11:13 PM »
I think he's one of the greatest singers of our time, nobody could replace him in DT. One of the reasons they are tied for first place in my all-time favorite bands.. Seeing him perform The Astonishing live in Seattle was probably the best vocal performance I've ever heard. The whole band was on par with that too.

Also, this. :)

Offline Sycsa

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2017, 05:49:45 PM »
He's the reason I got into DT, his performance on I&W kicked my ass so hard I'll never fully recover from it. He's absolutely unique and incredible in the studio to this day. He belts out something amazing on every single album (think "Mothers for their children" section of Illumination Theory, or "My brother, Gabriel" on The Gift of Music). His singing constantly gives me goosebumps and moves me emotionally. Can't wait to hear what he'll have to offer on the next album.

Live, however, is a different story these days. It really makes me question sometimes whether or not his performance can even be deemed acceptable.

That said, I would never want him replaced. Appreciatin' the man massively! :metal


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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2017, 05:50:52 PM »
He's the reason I got into DT, his performance on I&W kicked my ass so hard I'll never fully recover from it. He's absolutely unique and incredible in the studio to this day. He belts out something amazing on every single album (think "Mothers for their children" section of Illumination Theory, or "My brother, Gabriel" on The Gift of Music). His singing constantly gives me goosebumps and moves me emotionally.

I agree!
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
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Offline Bertielee

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2017, 03:04:12 AM »
He's the reason I got into DT, his performance on I&W kicked my ass so hard I'll never fully recover from it. He's absolutely unique and incredible in the studio to this day. He belts out something amazing on every single album (think "Mothers for their children" section of Illumination Theory, or "My brother, Gabriel" on The Gift of Music). His singing constantly gives me goosebumps and moves me emotionally.

I agree!

Thirded. And I mostly care for the studio releases now (I haven't seen them in concert since the ToT tour in January 2004), so that's good for me.

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Offline RoeDent

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2017, 03:34:57 AM »
*appreciates*

As Kattelox said, a good vocalist can elevate the whole band. I'd even go so far as to say the lead singer *is* the band, in that a change of singer results in a vastly different sound for the band. It's far more noticeable a change than when an instrumentalist is replaced.
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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #22 on: November 29, 2017, 09:24:28 AM »
Never understood the hate.  Maybe he's too breathy when he sings.  Maybe his enunciation is poor when singing high notes.  Doesn't matter cause haters gonna hate.  JP's guitar playing is what got my attention first, but JLB was a close 2nd.  Iconic, high pitch metal vocals.  Gotta love it!   :tup
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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #23 on: November 29, 2017, 12:21:28 PM »
OK, first I'm gonna say that I really like James Labrie's voice & attitude.  He seems to be a very positive person.  On the live albums that I own, he sometimes sounds a little weird.  On the studio albums I think he sounds PERFECT and what I mean by that is that he sounds like a voice sent from Heaven (I don't find other words right now :).

I've also started to discover is solo/guest albums as well: Mullmuzzler 1 & 2, Tim Donahue's Madmen and Sinners album and Elements Of Persuasion.  All four of them featuring...................................Mike Mangini!!!

I almost consider those four albums as if they were part of Dream Theater discography.......................and the features Mike Mangini!

So I really like James Labrie as a singer of Dream Theater.

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Offline gabeh1018

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #24 on: November 29, 2017, 05:17:54 PM »
a little off topic, but I was listening to Crucify recently off of EoP... I always get confused when the solos start... Yes I know the first solo is Marco Sfogli
, but is the 2nd solo a keyboard?

Offline noxon

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #25 on: November 30, 2017, 05:58:38 AM »
I would assume that's a solo by the writer of the album - Matt Guillory, who is a keyboard player.
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Offline Peter Mc

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #26 on: November 30, 2017, 07:02:06 AM »
Don't want to derail the thread as I am a big fan of JLB, his utterly unique voice is part of what gives DT their distinctive sound.  I've been put off many progmetal/powermetal bands due to the singers being too annoying to listen to.  JLB classy voice is part of what got me into DT (after JP of course!)

My question is for people who criticise his live performances.  Do you actually go to see the band live or is this based upon poor quality mobile phone recordings on youtube?  I do understand that some of them do not show him in a good light but I can only speak for myself in that he's never let me down live in person.  Considering his age, I have recently seen him sing stuff from Awake on the AFTR tour to absolute perfection and pretty much the same on the recent I&W tour.  He did avoid a few higher notes earlier on in the show during the likes of Another Day and Take The Time but by the end of the album he absolutely went for everything in Metropolis, Under A Glass Moon, Learning to Live and A Change of Seasons at album quality.  Maybe those shows would not sound great on youtube but, in person, he has been incredible on recent tours singing those 20+year old songs. 

Bruce Dickinson can't hit the high notes in most of the old Maiden stuff anymore and strains all over the place in the likes of Run To The Hills but does not attract anything like the same criticism.  I also love Bruce by the way, this is not a dig at him, I saw Maiden this year and was blown away by how good they still are.

Offline MirrorMask

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #27 on: November 30, 2017, 07:05:19 AM »
Bruce is essentially the best heavy metal frontman so he doesn't even let you notice his occasional difficulties since he's so awesome at whatever he does on stage  ;D James is not in the same league of course but I wouldn't even want him running around the stage like a madman, the music does not call for it. Actually the last show I've seen by them, the Images and Words & Beyond show of course, was possibily his best performance as a frontman, without exagerating or doing weird stuff he really, really manned the stage very well.  :coolio
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Offline Sycsa

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #28 on: November 30, 2017, 07:31:19 AM »
Bruce Dickinson can't hit the high notes in most of the old Maiden stuff anymore and strains all over the place in the likes of Run To The Hills but does not attract anything like the same criticism.  I also love Bruce by the way, this is not a dig at him, I saw Maiden this year and was blown away by how good they still are.
Well, if you compare the two under similar circumstances (raw Wacken recording, audio not tempered with), Bruce comes out way better in every aspect, to put it mildly. Even when he's straining, his tone is more pleasant, and he enunciates.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qy4s3F9P6I
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2wcY4bVYjw

On a side note, how fucking amazing is Russell Allen live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bd3R30AM1E
« Last Edit: November 30, 2017, 07:41:59 AM by Sycsa »


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Offline pg1067

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #29 on: November 30, 2017, 11:49:49 AM »
Don't want to derail the thread as I am a big fan of JLB, his utterly unique voice is part of what gives DT their distinctive sound.  I've been put off many progmetal/powermetal bands due to the singers being too annoying to listen to.  JLB classy voice is part of what got me into DT (after JP of course!)

My question is for people who criticise his live performances.  Do you actually go to see the band live or is this based upon poor quality mobile phone recordings on youtube?  I do understand that some of them do not show him in a good light but I can only speak for myself in that he's never let me down live in person.  Considering his age, I have recently seen him sing stuff from Awake on the AFTR tour to absolute perfection and pretty much the same on the recent I&W tour.  He did avoid a few higher notes earlier on in the show during the likes of Another Day and Take The Time but by the end of the album he absolutely went for everything in Metropolis, Under A Glass Moon, Learning to Live and A Change of Seasons at album quality.  Maybe those shows would not sound great on youtube but, in person, he has been incredible on recent tours singing those 20+year old songs.

I agree with all of this.  There are many bands to whom I never gave a second listen because of their singers, but whom I might have loved with better singers.  I also feel like James's live performances have been stronger on the post-MP tours (not that I think MP leaving had any causal effect on James's live performances, but it's just an easy way to mark time).  He did seem to struggle a bit on some of the older material on the current tour, but that's not too surprising.  On the other hand, it seemed to me like he went for - and hit - the infamous F# on Learning to Live.

To me, his studio performances count WAY more than live stuff, and in that regard, JLB is one of my 3 or 4 favorite singers of all time.

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #30 on: November 30, 2017, 12:25:34 PM »
On the other hand, it seemed to me like he went for - and hit - the infamous F# on Learning to Live.


Keyword: Seemed like! He can't hit an F# in full voice anymore, he creates an illusion of it by screaming into his falsetto. And it actually sounds pretty great! I don't think anyone leaves disappointed :)
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Offline DT1138

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #31 on: November 30, 2017, 07:42:58 PM »
I've always enjoyed his singing. I've tried to get so many people into DT and they all tell me the same thing:  I like the music but I hate the singer.  No matter how I try to explain it to them, they all hate poor James.  To me, his voice is perfect for DT because it rises above all this hard metal chaos - they need a voice that stands out against that hard music, and he does fine every time.  Has his voiced aged?  Well, haven't we all aged in many ways?

But whatever, I like him and he was awesome in Chicago earlier this month.  I really wish I could have talked to him at the meet and greet but it all went so fast I never got a chance to tell him just how much I appreciate him.

Offline Herrick

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #32 on: November 30, 2017, 07:45:36 PM »
Bruce Dickinson can't hit the high notes in most of the old Maiden stuff anymore and strains all over the place in the likes of Run To The Hills but does not attract anything like the same criticism.  I also love Bruce by the way, this is not a dig at him, I saw Maiden this year and was blown away by how good they still are.
Well, if you compare the two under similar circumstances (raw Wacken recording, audio not tempered with), Bruce comes out way better in every aspect, to put it mildly. Even when he's straining, his tone is more pleasant, and he enunciates.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qy4s3F9P6I
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2wcY4bVYjw

On a side note, how fucking amazing is Russell Allen live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bd3R30AM1E

To be fair, that has to be one of the worst LaBrie performances on YouTube. He was seriously off in the beginning but I remember him sounding better later on. But I agree with the point you made about his overall live tone which I think is where most of the criticism is coming from. I don't think it's all that great but I realize the majority of fans like it or love it. No one in their right mind is going to say LaBrie is a bad singer because he can't hit crazy high notes like he used to back in the day.

I've always enjoyed his singing. I've tried to get so many people into DT and they all tell me the same thing:  I like the music but I hate the singer.  No matter how I try to explain it to them, they all hate poor James.  To me, his voice is perfect for DT because it rises above all this hard metal chaos - they need a voice that stands out against that hard music, and he does fine every time.  Has his voiced aged?  Well, haven't we all aged in many ways?

But whatever, I like him and he was awesome in Chicago earlier this month.  I really wish I could have talked to him at the meet and greet but it all went so fast I never got a chance to tell him just how much I appreciate him.

LoL if they don't like his studio work then there's no hope for them :D No matter how great a singer is if you don't like it you don't like it. Periphery is a band I would probably enjoy a lot if it weren't for the singer. I realize the dude is a talented vocalist but I simply don't care for that vocal style.
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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #33 on: November 30, 2017, 08:34:40 PM »
James' warm soft voice is excellent. Arjen Lucassen utilized it perfectly on The Human Equation and The Source, especially The Source. You can hear the desperation in his tone, great for his character.

I actually like his vocals In his other projects outside of Dream Theater more than in Dream Theater. Solo, Ayreon, Roswell Six - Terra Incognita.

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Offline Herrick

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Re: James LaBrie Appreciation Thread
« Reply #34 on: November 30, 2017, 08:38:30 PM »
James' warm soft voice is excellent. Arjen Lucassen utilized it perfectly on The Human Equation and The Source, especially The Source. You can hear the desperation in his tone, great for his character.

I actually like his vocals In his other projects outside of Dream Theater more than in Dream Theater. Solo, Ayreon, Roswell Six - Terra Incognita.

That's cool. I didn't know there was an Ayreon release this year. How much does LaBrie sing on it?
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