James LaBrie
Elements Of Persuasion


4.5
superb

Review

by DTisdabestest USER (5 Reviews)
February 23rd, 2006 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist


Elements of Persuasion is James Labrie's third solo effort. It builds upon his first two solo albums released under the Mullmuzzler . His new band is awesome made up of some of the finest musicians he could muster. If you like LaBrie's work with Dream Theater especially on Train of Thought, this is definitely a sure bet.

LaBrie is an operatic rock vocalist but not on this album, the powerful opener "Crucify" and "Freak" shows his passion for metal, thrash and progressive. He turns in a stylish performance on the slightly softer rocker "Slightly Out Of Reach." He rocks on all the tracks, just in different amounts. He goes from head banging growling maniac to a more laid-back approach quickly at times, dependent on the tempo of the song. Being such a versatile vocalist with terrific range allows LaBrie to shift his tone and style many times during a song.

Though this is a solo album from the Dream Theater frontman we cannot forget the fantastic work of the other musicians. Marco Sfogli who hails from Italy is relatively unknown, but in the realm of heavy metal riffs he stands tall. He also commands a fair array of virtuosic talents similar to Petrucci's, he plays fluid guitar lines that are occasionally replaced by intricate heavy rhythms, as on "Crucify" the riff in the intro is totally thrash metal and is excellent. His playing lends itself to various styles ranging from rock to thrash to funk to blues. The guitar work on "Lost" recalls fusion, whilst Sfogli shreds his heart out on songs like "Undecided" or "Slightly Out of Reach". There is a great musicality to his playing, which works perfectly within the context of the songs.

Bryan Beller on bass and the amazing drummer Mike Mangini, as on the previous releases, are nothing short of fantastic. Mangini's drum fills on "Crucify" are some of the most mind-blowing I've heard. I've always been a huge fan of Mangini's drumming, I've even seen him live when he came into my local music store for a tutorial session, but this one really must be heard - it seems like there are five different rhythms being played at the same time. He works his drums with blistering speed, powerful accuracy and tops it with a perfect drum sound with ambience and bass resonating at the same time.

Matt Guillory does a nice job keeping the pace with the ever-changing tempos, he is very similar to Roddy Bottum (formerly of Faith No More) smoothing out the edges for the tracks. Matt Guillory co-wrote almost the whole album with James Labrie, but this time his influence is much stronger than before. Besides pulling impossibly cool sounds from his musical palette, he also experiments with new ideas. The electronic keyboard sequencing on the start of "Freak" and the piano in the breakdown of "In Too Deep" are awesome.

James Labrie's vocals are crystal clear as always, but he does belt out some scary aggressive screams (think "Honour Thy Father" - '...don't cross the crooked step', he sings his heaviest solo songs on this record as well. Besides the already mentioned "Freak", other standout tracks are "Oblivious", "Invisible" and especially "Drained" which is very experimental . "Smashed" has a timely piano accompanied by acoustic guitars as Labrie lays down his emotional vocals. As usual, his lyrics are provocative, questioning the role of religion, failed relationships, and one song I think even tells the story of a secret agent who gets done in and murdered by his own government.

This is a very heavy album with every beat knocking you off your feet, while his previous projects were good they don't quite compare to what he's accomplished here. Whether it's the musicians just clicking or his song writing ability improving, this is a combination that could produce very good results in the future.


user ratings (87)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
DTisdabestest
February 24th 2006


22 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks guys, and in regards to getting knocked off my feet I actually had the volume up too loud and it did!

pjrule45
February 24th 2006


23 Comments


shot bro great second review. I like the way you did the review musician by musician, I havnt read one based on that format before. This sh*t is heavy and I gotta listen to it more and possibly get hold of his earlier stuff. Petruccis "Suspended Animation" is next on my list tho...

Dead_Trench
February 24th 2006


159 Comments


I like Labrie in Dream Theater, but I heard this album really sucks. i guess I'll have to hear for myself.

Bfhurricane
February 24th 2006


6197 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Im a Dream Theater fan and Ive never gotten into Labries solo stuff, maybe I should. I just dont see how James would want to do a solo album with him already in Dream Theater (same with Bruce Dickinson and Iron Maiden...). I havent heard this album, but I dont see how you can find a group of musicians more talented than the ones of Dream Theater, theyre all amazing every one of them. If this album is as good as this review is claiming it Ill definitely check it out!

great review by the way :-)

CoF
March 8th 2006


25 Comments


This is a great album. Even though when i downloaded it i thought it was Octavarium. Good stuff.

Bfhurricane
March 13th 2006


6197 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I just bought this, i like it a lot

Confessed2005
March 14th 2006


3314 Comments


I downloaded what I thought was 'The Root Of All Evil' by Dream Theater - turned out to be 'Crucify' from this album here. It is a pretty impressive track - the acoustic intro owns.

TheStarclassicTreatment
January 13th 2007


2910 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is better than Octavarium, ten-fold. However, when I first got it I only ever listened to 'Slightly Out Of Reach' properly cos I was into weird hundred reasons/ incubus stuff at the time but I came back to it recently and Drained RULES! Really cool Enter Shikari-like keys and breaks and Mangini's drumming is so fun to play.
I think DT should venture out and do a rave-influenced album. I hate rave with the rapping, but when used in metal it is so cool!

ThePrimer
June 8th 2007


345 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I downloaded Panic Attack from Octavarium, and I was fooled, turns out it was Undecided from this album xD
Sounds really good, I'll be checking this out soon

Bfhurricane
April 8th 2008


6197 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Relistened to this, I actually found it to bore me. Keeping an average rating for now until it grows on me again.

Willie
Moderator
March 17th 2009


16051 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Boring? I enjoy this more than quite a few Dream Theater albums...

Whispered4tw
June 6th 2010


621 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Only songs I really like of this album is Lost, Slightly Out of Reach and Oblivious. Still pretty good overall. I keep stressing how Labrie should do mellow rock, not metal.

But whatevahr.

6Dark6Cell6
January 11th 2011


255 Comments


I found a couple of these songs online and they were quite intreguing. Alone and Undecided. They were enough for me to want to look in to these albums deeper. Props, labrie.

KjSwantko
December 2nd 2011


9443 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love the rawness of this album. Much better than Static Impulse, IMO.

Titan
April 9th 2013


5071 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

agreed

slightly out of reach is such an awesome track

amemento
April 9th 2013


1425 Comments


how hideously unfortunate



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