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Shadow Gallery - Digital Ghosts CD (album) cover

DIGITAL GHOSTS

Shadow Gallery

 

Progressive Metal

3.84 | 252 ratings

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jayzeb
5 stars My first review and I'm a bit biased being a huge Shadow Gallery fan but after about 20 listenings of this CD I feel compelled to offer my .02 worth. First I was devastated to hear of Mike Baker's untimely passing. Because of this I awaited the release of this CD with both hope and trepidation. Too many times in the past when a band continues after the loss of a key member the result is such a let down. I can assure you that if you were a Shadow Gallery fan previously, this CD will not disappoint! In my opinion what makes Shadow Gallery 'Shadow Gallery' is still intact on this CD. To me Shadow Gallery was as much Vocal arrangements, melodies & harmonies as it was musically and all of that is still present on this CD. Another worry I had was because of their previous CD "Room V". While Room V is a fantastic CD in it's own right, Room V always felt to me like a lot of rehashing of stuff they already did on their previous CDs. That didn't stop me from listening to it a billion times but that slight disappointment was always there. This worry was also for naught. This CD feels so new and fresh yet there are still moments that will remind you of their past work. The perfect mixture (in my opinion)

The addition of Brian Ashland is such a no brainer after listening to this CD. At times he almost sounds like Mike and at other times he reminds me a lot of Geoff Tate (of queensryche) and still at other times like neither. He has a very powerful, emotional voice and simply put it fits very well within the Shadow Gallery world. Overall Digital Ghosts seems a little bit harder edge then previous CD's. This could all be an illusion (as there are still plenty of melodic acoustic parts) but it seems Gary does a bit more shredding on this CD. However it never feels like he is doing it to show off his talent, it always feels like its the perfect fit for the point of the song they are in. Gary's keyboard work is also outstanding on this CD! From piano twinkling to organ filler, to keyboard shredding. All in perfect moderation for what is needed to make the song work. Joe's (and/or Gary's) drumming is another thing I love on this CD. They (with Carl) drive the music where it needs to go through key changes, tempo changes, what have you. I would love to see these guys do this CD live! (I don't know which 2 songs Joe drums on but it seems seemless to me with Gary's tracks.)

ok, enough gushing. song by song with a disclaimer. I'm not sure where the guest vocalists are used so I'm going to just assume (for thr benefit of this review) that it is all Brian. If you know whom is whom, just pretend I used the correct name ;-)

"With Honor" is a good "classic" Shadow Gallery Opener. it has all the points you've come to expect from previous CD's. Guitar & key shredding, great introduction to the fans of Brian's vocal abilities, all the guys vocal harmonizing (around the 5:30 mark). The song starts off loud, quiets down slowly builds back up, some temp changes. A 10 minute classic SG song.

"Venom" One of the harder songs on the CD. Hard driving and Brian's vocal's at points seem like he'd like to break into a death growl (but never does thank God!). A very enjoyable song and I love the way it ends with the keyboard repeat & fade.

"Pain" Starts off with piano and acoustic guitar.. very quiet, very melodic. When Brian begins to sing, here is one of the times he reminds me of Geoff Tate. Carl's flute add's just the right accents in just the right places. Vocal harmonies in the chorus are classic SG and will remind you of previous songs without duplicating any of them. The second half of the song never returns to the quiet beginnings but moves and develops nicely so it ends with nice build up and send off.

"Gold Dust" The vocal harmonies in this will again remind you of previous SG songs but the song itself is a nice hard driving song. Lots of tasteful guitar work, Brian again reminding me of Geoff, nice keyboard work towards the end.

"Strong" There is no real break between Gold Dust and Strong other then your CD changer changing track numbers but they are 2 different songs. You can look at them as a 13 minute long epic if you'd like. Brian's (or perhaps one of the guests vocalists) voice (for some odd reason I have yet to pin down) starts off reminding me a little bit of old Alice Cooper but that quickly changes as the song progresses. The song has a nice see-saw rhythm that just makes you want to tap your foot or bob your head or whatever. The song speeds up about half way through into another classic SG keyboard/guitar solo with Joe & Carl constantly moving you along with them. great stuff.

"Digital Ghosts" A 9 1/2 minute masterpiece and My favorite song on the CD. Song has everything I love about SG and Prog metal in general. it really is hard to put in words but listening to this one song is like listening to an entire concept album. Very melodic. The vocal arrangements, harmonies and melodies in this song are simply outstanding. when this songs ends you truly felt you just finished a journey of sorts. Gary and/or Brendt really shines on this song starting with keys around the 6:30 minute mark and continuing into guitar work past the 8 minute mark. At one point I even hear a little Frank Gambale. Anyway, best song the CD imo.

"Haunted" Starts out Quiet and then either Gary or Brendt channel Brian May for a spell before the song begins building up. A very good end to the CD with Joe closing it out with a repeating beat.

The 4 bonus songs add a lot to the CD too!

"Two Shadows" I believe this is the first of Mike's lasts songs. Very melodic. mostly acoustic & symphonic and a very beautiful song.

"Gold Dust (Demo)" A slightly different version of the main song but what this and the next song do is give you a sense that your listening to a concept CD due to the reoccurring melodies from the original songs.

"In Your Window" I am SOOOO glad they added this song to the CD. I believe they took the vocal tracks from Digital Ghosts and placed them here. You can really hear how much work and talent went into just laying down these vocal tracks for the bigger song 'Digital Ghosts' Again it gives you the feel of a concept CD hearing them again in this new light.

"World of Fantasy (Demo)" The second bonus song with Mike singing. Opening with simply Piano and Mike singing it really reminds me of some older Shadow Gallery songs. Mike really had a nice melodic voice. He will be missed. Anyway the song continues in a nice quiet melodic way, drums slowly entering around the 2:30 minute mark. I wonder how much of the song was complete and how much was added posthumously, regardless it is another quiet, lovely song.

if your a Shadow Gallery fan, I can't recommend this CD enough. if you a prog metal fan who likes a lot of melody and doesn't mind slowing down occasionally, you will like this CD. if you like your metal more towards the death metal genre, your probably not going to enjoy it as much.

The only disappointment I have with this CD is knowing I'll probably have to wait another 4 years for the next.... and already... I can hardly wait. Cheers!

jayzeb | 5/5 |

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