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James Labrie - Elements Of Persuasion CD (album) cover


James Labrie


Progressive Metal

3.52 | 140 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars We're not talking about cheese here now! Anyone who is even a minor fan of Progressive Metal knows who Dream Theater is and by extension, who James LaBrie is as well. Dream Theater is the numero uno Progressive Metal band in the Universe and James Labrie is their singer.

Elements of Persuasion is a solo album by the prodigious, signature voice of Dream Theater. LaBrie had occasionally ventured out from the confines of his band, such as his side projects like Mullmuzzler and recently as the most prominent guest vocalist on Ayreon's blockbuster new rock opera The Human Equation but this is his first solo album in his name.

The obvious question is, does Elements of Persuasion sound like Dream Theater? The even more obvious answer is in fact another question. Do you want it to sound like Dream Theater? If the answer is yes, then you will find enough Dream Theater to make it a worth while purchase. If the answer is no, then my next question is, what are you doing reading a James LaBrie review?

“Crucify” has a strong DT feel starting out with the acoustic guitar riff from “Change of Seasons”, ultimately deferring to the heavy guitar and bass sound reminiscent of many of the songs from “Train of Thought” though with a bouncier beat.

“Alone” introduces a little electronica and a herky jerky beat. It may appeal to some but not moi.

“Freaks” Is a decent song with a strong rhythm of double bass drums and bass guitar. Again we have a touch of electronica.

“Invisible” is my highest rated song on the album. LaBrie uses his querulous voice, sometimes double tracked and some heavy musical sections to weave through a slightly ominous sounding number.

“Lost” is just a little milder then most of the previous songs. The La Brie vocal is quite mellow and atmospheric, as is the song itself.

“Undecided” starts out pretty cool with a nifty guitar and keyboard sound but it seems to get boring shortly after the beginning.

“Smashed” Is the first and lesser of two ballads. It has a nice piano intro and a pleasant melody that reminds me of Bruce Hornsby. (I’m serious) Overall this is a pretty good ballad but I think “Slightly out of Reach” is better.

“Pretender” is another song that starts out interesting enough but isn’t able to maintain the momentum. It is a medium paced number that I found boring.

“Slightly out of Reach” is my second favorite song. A very nice slightly upbeat ballad. As with the sister ballad there is a strong presence of the accompanying piano.

“Oblivious” This song takes the heaviness of the early songs and mixes in the milder aspects of the latter songs in the choruses.

“In Too Deep” ia a medium paced song with another nifty heavy/atmospheric beginning.

“Drained” Strong song. Heavy instrumentation with La Brie slowly singing the verses which are in turn answered by the keyboard, a nice touch that I haven’t heard before. CONCLUSION

I guess you could say that Elements of Persuasion is truly a solo album since none of the accompanying musicians are from Dream Theater and yet there is that unmistakable DT flavor permeating most of the album.

In my opinion Elements of Persuasion is not a great album, in fact it’s barely a very good album but it does have it’s moments. Except for a couple pretty nice ballads, many of the songs, such as “Invisible“, feature heavy bass playing, reminiscent of DT’s latest release Train of Thought. some of the songs start well but seem to lose their way. While there are a few of pretty good to great songs here, I must admit there isn’t any that I couldn’t live without but I’m afraid that it’s close enough that you shouldn’t take my word for it. You need to make your own decision.

My final rating - Four Stars

semismart | 4/5 |


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