James LaBrie has left his Mullmuzzler project behind and moved into a new direction. His new band is killer on an awesome new solo album titled Elements of Persuasion. If you have enjoyed LaBrie's work with Dream Theater, this is a sure bet.
LaBrie is the consummate rock vocalist on the gritty driving opener "Crucify" and the powerful "Freak." He turns in a tasteful performance on the slightly softer rocker "Slightly Out Of Reach." He rocks on all the tracks, just in varying degrees. 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 and powerful vocalist allows LaBrie to shift his tone and style many times during a song. I have derived great pleasure listening to all of the projects he has been involved with over the years. It is a no brainer why everyone wants him on their albums, his voice is incredible.
James knows how to find the right talent for his music. Marco Sfogli is a real stud on the six-string, in the realm of heavy metal riffs he stands tall. I am sure Sfogli would be as diverse a player as anyone would if the right opportunity presented itself. He does his job-he rocks down the house with authority. Matt Guillory does a nice job keeping the pace and smoothing out the nice edges for the tracks with the ever-changing tempos, he is very talented. Byran Beller (bass) and Mike Mangini (drums) kick the snot out the rhythm section, what a potent force they are. I may be pushing the envelope here, but after listening to this album five or six times, it is probably the next best thing to Dream Theater, well, close any way. Oh yes, DT is currently in the studio so LaBrie will back for another round with his full time mates soon.
Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck is a veteran syndicated music critic, his reviews appear in over 35 publications world-wide. To read more of Keiths work visit muzikreviews.com