Released: 2008, Magna Carta
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Singer James LaBrie is in no need of any further introduction. He is the front man of Dream Theater and a busy guest voice on other people’s albums. If you look up the word progressive in a dictionary you will find LaBries name and picture beside the word.
The title PRIME CUTS hints what kind of album this is. It’s a compilation of LaBries solo songs that he has done for this label and high lights from his long career as a solo artist a singer. This CD is a smorgasbord for all fans of LaBrie and Dream Theatre. The list of fellow musicians that participates on the album is so long that I choose not to count them in the review. But if I mention Mike Portnoy, Billy Sheehan, Steve Morse and Marty Friedman you know that the talent reaches above the stars.
10 tracks are featured on PRIME CUTS and the songs are taken from seven of his solo albums and tribute CD’s from this label. Two of them are the extended version of “Afterlife” and a radio mix version of “Shores Of Avalon”. The disc is long, it spans over almost 60 minutes. It’s an excellent choice of songs and it’s for sure the absolute best from all his albums. The material is technical, complex and progressive. LaBrie shows time after time that he is one of the best progressive singers in the world. He has a voice that is out of this world and he can do amazing things with it.
Sometimes I have trouble with appreciating progressive music but after having listened to this album a while I’m convinced that it’s a masterpiece and a great way of presenting the best of James LaBrie. Not a fan out there will be disappointed. My personal favorite songs in this pot of gold are “Afterlife”, “Shores Of Avalon”, “A Time And A Place” and “This Time This Way”.
PRIME CUTS will take the listener for a ride that lasts for several hours and it will fill your CD-player with music that never goes out of style. I strongly recommend this album to fans of either James LaBrie or Dream Theater or fans of progressive music. It might be the best compilation disc that includes LaBries solo work, so far. I think that all of the music featured on this album is out of print so this may be the close as you can get to hearing this material today.