LaBrie's Mullmuzzler, James - James LaBrie's Mullmuzzler 2

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Magna Carta
Catalog Number: MA 9056-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 52:34:00

Originally known simply as Mullmuzzler (instead of James LaBrie's Mullmuzzler), Keep It To Yourself was a step in the right direction for James LaBrie (vocalist for Dream Theater). It delivered a slice of light progressive rock and it took chances that weren't guaranteed to pay off. It worked. And it paid off. Muzzmuzzler II reprises James' singer/song-writing ambitions to produce a CD with a number of well known and respected progressive musicians including the likes of: Trent Gardner (k - Magellan), Carl Cadden James and Gary Wehrkamp (Shadow Gallery), Mike Mangini (ex-Extreme), and Matt Guillory (k - Dali's Dilemma - who co-wrote most of the album).

Mullmuzzler II is an extremely rhythmic CD with a slight jazz feel that never quite reaches jazz. It remains light yet has a heavy buzz to it that makes sound different from straight progressive rock. James vocals come across as clean, creating dynamic melodies that really hit deep. It's like he uses a different voice between Mullmuzzler and Dream Theater. Even though many people had a hand in putting this together (song & musical compositions, producing, everything really) there still seems to be one vision, which makes this stand above most other artists who attempt this sort of project. There is a wealth of depth and sincerity on this record with a genuine, natural production.

Two of the strongest tracks are the ballad "Falling" and the amazing progressiveness of "Tell Me." Also check out "Venice Burning" with James on full power vocally. The progressiveness of "Stranger" is in a class all of its own! Most of the tracks appear to be based on relationships although they are not "simple" love songs. These songs are understanding, intelligent, introverted, and inspirational. With such a creative bunch of people, James has put together one of the most intimate and expressive discs available.

I love this disc. I love James' singing, I love the emotion and the passion of the music. I love reading the honest and intelligent lyrics. Mullmuzzler II has exceeded all of my expectations by a long shot. It is a creative, moody, loving, and vibrant experience that covers a lot of territory.

[This review originally appeared November 2002 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

Afterlife (4:54) / Venice Burning (6:26) / Confronting the Devil (6:20) / Falling (3:52) / Stranger (6:32) / A Simple Man (5:20) / Save Me (4:11) / Believe (5:00) / Listening (4:14) / Tell Me (5:14)

James LaBrie - lead and background vocals
Matt Guillory - keyboards
Trent Gardner - keyboards
Mike Mangini - drums
Mike Keneally- guitars
Mike Borkosky - guitars
Bryan Beller - bass

Mullmuzzler (1999)
James LaBrie's Mullmuzzler 2 (2001)
Elements Of Persuasion (2005)
Prime Cuts (2008)
Static Impulse (2010)
Impermanent Resonance (2013)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: January 17th 2005
Reviewer: Gary Carson
Artist website:
Hits: 1084
Language: english


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