James LaBrie - Elements of Persuasion

James LaBrie Elements of Persuasion cover
James LaBrie
Elements of Persuasion
InsideOut Music
Dream Theater’s voice has been very busy lately. He keeps participating in a bunch of projects (something that happens with all the members of Dream Theater actually). Well, James offers us here his third personal album (if we count in the previous releases by Mulmuzzler), which to be honest to my ears seems to begin exactly were “Train of Thought” stopped. I actually feel that some ideas from this album could have found a place within the previous DT album.
Consequently you might understand that the approach here is hard and heavy, something that becomes evident even by the opening thunderous “Crucify”. Besides James here we find Matt Guillory (Dali’s Dilemma), Mike Mangini (Extreme, Annihilator, Steve Vai), Bryan Beller and Marco Sfogli, who despite being unknown so far has done a very nice job on the guitars of the album.
LaBrie avoids the long and complicated songs here, adopting a rather direct way to express himself. I wouldn’t necessarily call the outcome progressive with the traditional meaning of the term, but I cannot either put under a single tab. I wouldn’t even call it just heavy metal, as the band experiments a lot with various samples and effects, while the whole approach is very dark and deep. It’s definitely not the album that you would easily digest (how could it?). Imagine a more down to earth approach than OSI and a lot of heavy guitars under a Dream Theater prism and you might be close to the sound of the CD. I think that LaBrie here presents the best solo/project album he has ever done (inferior only to that amazing Frameshift).