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James LaBrie's MullMuzzler began to take shape in the summer of 1998, after the last leg of Dream Theater's extensive Touring Into Infinity World Tour. James started the project by collaborating with some of the most talented songwriters in the progressive rock genre: Trent Gardner (Magellan, Explorer's Club), Matt Guillory (Dali's Dilemma), Gary Sloyer, and Carl Cadden-James, Brendt Allman, and Gary Wehrkamp (all from Shadow Gallery). Working together, the musicians began to craft the songs for MullMuzzler's first CD. The term, LaBrie's creation, refers to gagging or silencing an individual's thought before it can be expressed in any manner, as he described it. He created the word from the combination of the words "mull" (meaning to ponder thought) and "muzzle" (meaning to gag)
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MULLMUZZLER Keep It to Yourself album cover 3.31 | 10 ratings
Keep It to Yourself
Progressive Metal 1999
MULLMUZZLER MullMuzzler 2 album cover 3.59 | 9 ratings
MullMuzzler 2
Progressive Metal 2001


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Album · 2001 · Progressive Metal
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Two years after the release of the first album, and Dream Theater vocalist James LaBrie is back with his Mullmuzzler project for round two! And much like their first outing, this is really nothing more than a watered down version of LaBrie's main band. There's a few memorable songs, but there really isn't a lot here to get overly excited about.

The musicianship is pretty good, although as before, there isn't enough evidence that makes this band feel like a cohesive unit. There's some nice guitar riffing and some interesting keyboard lines, but it's hard to really envision these guys getting together in a room and rocking out to these tracks with nothing more than slightly perturbed looks on their faces.

It's not all gloom and doom though, as some of the songs are actually really good, such as 'Confronting the Devil', 'Stranger', 'Save Me' and 'Tell Me'. Sadly, there's a lot of rather forgettable stuff here too! Ideally, they should have just taken the best material from both 'Keep It To Yourself' and 'Mullmuzzler 2' and released it on one disc, and you'd have a pretty solid prog metal album right there!

Overall, it's a good record, worth getting if you're a big Dream Theater fan, but there's definitely better side projects and solo albums out there.

MULLMUZZLER Keep It to Yourself

Album · 1999 · Progressive Metal
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It's 1999 and James LaBrie has released his first "solo album", a term used lightly as this is still a group collaboration, despite being mostly considered a James LaBrie "project". It sounds similar to Dream Theater (no way?!?!), but that's not a criticism. In fact, something interesting to note about this album is that it was supposedly written and recorded by all the musicians separately, exchanging ideas through post and emails. That's a common thing these days, but back in 1999 it was still quite an ambitious undertaking.

Still, I'm not going to use that as an excuse for the relatively average quality of the songs. They're not terrible, but they all sound pretty disjointed, lacking the soul of a song that was created through spontaneous jam sessions of people sat in the same room together.

Besides LaBrie on vocals, you have some heavy hitters like Mike Mangini on drums, Matt Guillory on keyboards and Mike Keneally on guitars. It's a shame there just doesn't seem to be any chemistry going on between them all. But hey, criticisms aside, some of the songs are pretty good. 'His Voice', 'Guardian Angel' and 'Shores of Avalon' are all redeeming qualities of 'Keep It To Yourself'. Sadly, then there's also songs like 'Beelzebubba'. It has an almost Faith No More vibe to it. It sounds experimental and I appreciate what the group were attempting here. But come on... there's only so many times I can tolerate hearing James LaBrie singing "Slick Willy"...

It's certainly not going to be on anyone's "best albums of 1999" list, but it's not a bad addition to the collection if you stumble across it cheap. Ultimately, it's Jame LaBrie, so there's bound to be plenty of Dream Theater fanatics out there (like me) who need to own everything the band and its members put out, anyway.

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