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Review: James Labrie - Elements of Persuasion
James Labrie
Elements of Persuasion

Label: Inside Out Music
Year released: 2005
Duration: 68:45
Tracks: 12
Genre: Progressive Metal

Rating: 3.5/5

Review online: October 18, 2007
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Readers Rating
Elements of Persuasion

Rated 3.22/5 (64.44%) (9 Votes)

"Elements of Persuasion" is one of those albums that somehow becomes extremely addictive, but not due to the content, but rather its sound and feel. The first proper solo outing from the Dream Theater frontman sees LaBrie moving into a heavier, more contemporary direction that coupled with another voice, would sound abysmal, but the way he utilizes the darker tones in his monstrous talent enables tracks like "Invisible" and "Undecided" to sound harsh and mechanical, but also suave and organic.

This is not the most engaging or in fact progressive album you'll ever hear from a member of the esteemed genre-usurpers, but it is entirely pleasing and serves as more than just an excuse to showcase his talents. The band itself, particularly guitarist Marco Sfogli and drummer Mike Mangini give concrete, if not stoic performances, which compliment LaBrie's soaring - and I mean soaring - vocals with a strong backdrop of fierce, riffing chucks of prog metal mayhem. It has its fair share of problems though; apart from the fast, pelting opening gambit ("Crucify") the album is fairly one paced and relies on the vocal melodies to carry the songs. This being the case, some tracks tend to sound a little drab considering Dream Theater released the fabulous "Octavarium" the same year, but this does work to great effect on certain songs; "Alone" being the biggest beneficiary, because without the splendid chorus and introverted lyrics, this would just be glorified nu-metal with a touch of pretension. The softer moments delivered in "Lost" and "Slightly out of Reach" deserve special mention for adding an extra layer of emotional assimilation, and ironically the lyrics provided by keyboardist/producer Matt Guillory are actually better written than those of LaBrie himself, posing the question of just who is calling the shots here?

All gripes aside, this is a strong, heavy, modern metal album that fans of the aforementioned prog legends will enjoy for LaBrie's effortless performance. Everything points in the right direction, but no one but LaBrie knows where this is heading...

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