ROUND-UP: PROG By Nick Shilton JAMES LABRIE Elements Of Persuasion Inside Out
From page 62 of Classic Rock Magazine May 2005
Every self-respecting successful prog rocker has to occupy his downtime with numerous side and solo projects, and Dream Theater vocalist James LaBrie is no exception. Having already issued two Mullmuzzler albums, he’s instead chosen to release Elements Of Persuasion under his own name.
With this comes a different approach that frequently recalls early DT albums Images & Words and Awake. While the execution is competent, the likes of Crucify, Freak and Alone are as predictable as their titles suggest. By contrast it’s the album’s three lighter moments – Lost, Smashed and Slightly Out Of Reach – that show LaBrie breaking new ground and are all the more rewarding.
More inspired material will be necessary if he is to have a successful solo career that co-exists alongside the day job.
WOLVERINE The Window Purpose Elitist
Crediting drummer Marcus Losbjer with ‘growls’ to supplement Stefan Zell’s already powerful vocals gives an insight into Wolverine’s heavy prog with an occasional death metal twist.
Originally released in 2001, The Window Purpose was an intriguing debut from a band worthy of a higher profile, but they’re not for the fainthearted.
MAESTOSO Fiddling Meanly
After a lengthy spell in the wilderness, Barclay James Harvest keyboardist Woolly Wolstenholme not only reunited with BJH guitarist John Lees but also revived his solo career last year.
This live set recorded at London’s Mean Fiddler (cue punsome title) is pleasant enough; it won’t attract many new fans but 70s BJH diehards will savour it.
PRODUCT The Fire Cyclops
The life of Roman emperor Nero is the unlikely subject of this understated two-part concept album. Musically reminiscent of labelmates Salem Hill, the album’s only shortcoming is the rather nondescript vocals of Arman Christoff Boyles. Otherwise this is a welcome addition to the increasingly selective roster of the Cyclops label.
PAIN OF SALVATION
Be – Live
This DVD captures the full theatrical performance of prog metallers POS’s concept album Be. Even by the high standards of concept befuddlement, Be is bewildering at first sight and sound, but the sheer range of the music – from ambient to thrash and back again – is extraordinary. Not a release for those lacking perseverance.