James LaBrie - Elements Of Persuasion
14 March 2005

01. Crucify
02. Alone
03. Freak
04. Invisible
05. Lost
06. Undecided
07. Smashed
08. Pretender
09. Slightly Out Of Reach
10. Oblivious
11. In Too Deep
12. Drained

The musicians from Dream Theater are all talented. That much you know by now. Some of them almost make a second career out of side-projects and guest appearances on other projects. So when James LaBrie comes up with a solo album, you might expect some second-hand Dream Theater - mostly centered on ballads. After all, the song titles could all be ballads as far as I am concerned. There, you have it all wrong. Elements Of Persuasion is everything but that.

From the first track onward, the songs are powerful, featuring strong progressive drums and groundbreaking guitar solos by Italian prodigy Marco Sfoglio [Remember that name folks]. The use of keyboards is tuned down considerably compared to recent Dream Theater works. As a result, this album is closer to the sound of Evergrey than to James' leading band ("Undecided" stands out as a perfect ersatz). Sure, you'll hear the occasional ballad. But somehow, they don't seem out of place at all.

Fanatics of early Dream Theater albums will savor every minute of this gem. It is not a return to the roots, but the overall sound is closer to the Awake era of the band, with a updated 21st century coating. "Alone" is the perfect example, with strong "in-your-face" riffing coupled with hip-hop scratches here and there and a monster chorus. It is not without evoking recent Katatonia tunes.

To make a long story short, Elements Of Persuasion is blowing stereotypes away. James LaBrie makes a strong statement with this album. We already knew he was a great singer as well as an inspired composer, of which this album is a blatant proof. Maybe the other guys from Dream Theater ought to give James more writing liberty within the band in order to renew with fans of olden times. As for me, it's the surprise album of the year.

Favorite songs: "Alone", "Freak", "Undecided", "Oblivious", and "Drained"

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9

Band profile: James LaBrie
Album: Elements Of Persuasion


Written on 14.03.2006 by
Demonic Tutor
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Dane Train - 09.10.2007 at 03:10  
This is one of my all time favorite albums. Not just because I got to interview James LaBrie (my favorite metal vocalist), but because this is an ass kicking album.

Great review, you nailed it.
Dane Train - 19.10.2009 at 00:06  
I just went back a listened to the whole album again today. Still a personal favorite of the past few years.
Zhao - 15.04.2010 at 14:56  
Indeed a good album, and a accurate review. Marco Sfogli, the guitarrist, needs more bands.
JohnDoe - 11.07.2010 at 17:02  
I listened to this album yesterday, after a really long time, and i enjoyed it immensely; he tried something different from DT, thank God for that. The guitarist is indeed amazing!

I like this album more than Mullmuzzler.
Dangerboner - 13.07.2010 at 08:29  
This album is surprsingly good. Great review!

Dane, do you know if James wrote the album, or was it more of a collaborative effort?
JohnDoe - 13.07.2010 at 16:58  
Written by Dangerboner on 13.07.2010 at 08:29

This album is surprsingly good. Great review!

Dane, do you know if James wrote the album, or was it more of a collaborative effort?

He did not write the album alone, it's a collaboration between Labrie and Matt Guillory.

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