Leonardo - The Absolute Man


Not blessed, or merciful
Apr 11, 2001
Sarf Lundin, Innit
Leonardo - The Absolute Man
Magna Carta - 2001
By Rodrigo


The Absolute Man is a concept album about the life of Leonardo da Vinci and it was originally conceived by Magna Carta label chief Peter Morticelli before passing out the ideas to Trent Gardner of Magellan. This is an album that has been worked on for years and everything, music and lyrics, was written by Trent. To have his vision fulfilled Trent recruited some of the most talented musicians and vocalists from the progressive music world. The musicians include 3 guys from Dali’s Dilemma who represent the rhythmic section, Jeremy Colson and Patrick and Steve Reyes as well as Wayne Gardner on guitars and Trent plays all keyboards. James LaBrie, Dream Theater, takes the main role of Leonardo and other vocalists include Josh Pincus, Ice Age and Mike Baker, Shadow Gallery, just to name a few. Just like albums like Ayreon’s Into the Electric Castle, The Dream Sequencer and Flight of the Migrator and Avantasia’s The Metal Opera, The Absolute Man is an impressive collaboration of many people.

The music in this album is an excellent mix of progressive rock, progressive metal and symphonic and classical passages. There are songs like "Apprentice" which feature very heavy guitars and beautiful symphonic instrumental passages like "Inundation", "Apparition" and "Sacrament" and despite such differences the album flows extremely well. James LaBrie as Leonardo does a wonderful job and I just can’t understand why many say he is the "weakest link" of Dream Theater. He has an incredible voice that really carries the many emotions that Leonardo portrays. In "Shaping the Invincible", James is the only singer (this is the only song to do that) and he carries the song very well. The first couple of minutes only feature a piano and James singing and it is a very moving part of the song. Two distinct features drive "Mona Lisa", the up-tempo pace when other characters are singing and the slower and introspective flow when James sings. "This Time, This Way" features a very cool rock groove and it is a duet between James and Lisa Bouchelle as Mona Lisa. These two songs reveal plenty of Leonardo’s motivation and passion and I think that Trent has done a great job in revealing how important that painting was for Leonardo. Another great duet is "First Commission" and it features Steve Walsh and Michele Young. It is a very beautiful song that at first starts with acoustic guitars and later feature symphonic sounds.

There are a couple other songs, "Reins of Tuscan" and "Inventions" where the tempo is more groovy and even jazzy. They are both great songs but I prefer "Reins of Tuscan" because of the great singing by Josh Pincus of Ice Age and the jazzy pianos. The album ends in a resounding fashion with "End of a World". This is a short piece that is piano driven and up-tempo and the whole cast sings. It is a really bombastic piece that is the perfect ending to a great album

The Absolute Man is a great album perfect for any fan of progressive music. My only complaint would be the fact that there are too many instrumental interludes in the album and some of them aren’t very different from each other. Never the less, if you are a fan of any of the guest vocalists and musicians, The Absolute Man is an album not to be missed.