Exposé Online banner

James LaBrie — Elements of Passion
(Inside Out Music IOMCD 204, 2005, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2006-05-01

Elements of Passion Cover art

James LaBrie should be well known to Exposé readers by now, either as the vocalist for prog-metal icons Dream Theatre or through his participation in various Magna Carta tributes and Trent Gardner projects. He’s gifted with remarkable talent, regularly displaying an uncommon ability to deliver both hushed and impassioned balladeering as well as full-throated metal wailing. The sheer number of imitators across the globe is testament to his influence on the genre. For his second solo album, LaBrie has again teamed up with keyboard player Matt Guillory (also a participant on the Mulmuzzler side projects) with whom he shares the bulk of the songwriting. The rhythm section of Bryan Beller and Mike Mangini hold down the bottom end with aplomb and newcomer Marco Sfogli has the metal guitar thing more than ably covered. Curiously for a solo album, Elements sounds very much like a band project, thanks to the carefully crafted and articulated arrangements. For the DT crowd there’s plenty of flashy metal fireworks occupying much of the disk’s 66 minutes, though LaBrie has wisely injected subtle techno elements into the arrangements and production that helps to raise the material above mere metal pabulum. Several songs shift into slower, more melodic terrain with Guillory’s keyboards coming to the fore and allowing LaBrie to present a friendlier, more expansive face. DT and prog-metal fans will no doubt want to pick this one up, though the quality shown throughout might also surprise anti-metal hardliners and bring a talented singer to an even wider audience.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 33, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): James LaBrie

Latest news

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Moby Trip - NKU – Moby Trip is a trio from New Zealand operating in the retro-psych realm. The band features guitars, bass, and drums, with the guitarist doubling on keyboard programming, and vocal duties shared by...  (1999) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues