“Elements Of Persuasion” by James LaBrie

Artist: James LaBrie
Title: “Elements Of Persuasion”
Label: InsideOut Music
Release Date: 3/29/2005
Genre: Progressive Metal
Rating: 7.5/10

Vocalist James LaBrie of the influential progressive metal titan “Dream Theater” recently completed recording his solo release entitled “Elements Of Persuasion”. It is indeed a nice addition to his recent work with both Dream Theater and Arjen Lucassen. The album stands along side the heavier material of Dream Theater very well, and LaBrie fans will also find the music a little different than his work with “Mullmuzzler”. The record is more akin to a release by Theater with the songs holding similar creativity and structure but all remaining at about 5 minutes in length. There are a significant amount of catchy hooks and riffs and I found overall the album was very easy to enjoy. The toughest audience is generally the Progressive one, and given most of them coming to Dream Theater shows to hear the amount of musical virtuosity the singer often is the last point of interest. However, James has put together a pretty solid group to record this piece and joining him is Matt Guillory (keyboards), Marco Sfogli (guitars), Bryan Beller (bass) and Mike Mangini (drums). Surely this band will impress even the most die-hard of progressives. I admit finding the guitar work of Sfogli super impressive with his shredding along the lines of John Petrucci. With this release LaBrie focused his writing to touch upon the consistent give and take in relationships between people.

I had a number of favorites on the CD after very quick listens. Among them most notably would be “Crucify” for that just kicks into gear at the onset of the CD after a deceiving slow intro. “Invisible” was another one of my favorites since it trudged along with this doom sort of Metallica groove. The group also slows down a little for tracks like “Lost” and “Smashed”. These showcase how soft LaBrie’s voice can be and how subtle the music he wants to deliver can be. Across the scope of the piece there are more highs than lows. The CD is acceptable for Dream Theater fans but they should not expect to find long and detailed progressive instrumentation on this release. Instead they will find a number of well-written and very well played tracks. This is LaBrie’s third solo outing, with his first two being released under Mullmuzzler. Anyone who likes his voice will enjoy this album. Give it a listen.

Track Listing:
1. Crucify
2. Alone
3. Freak
4. Invisible
5. Lost
6. Undecided
7. Smashed
8. Pretender
9. Slightly Out Of Reach
10. Oblivious
11. In Too Deep
12. Drained

Official Web site: www.jameslabrie.com

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