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Shadow Gallery - Digital Ghosts CD (album) cover


Shadow Gallery


Progressive Metal

3.84 | 252 ratings

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5 stars The very first note of this album will capture you completely & won't let go--from the lofty harmonies through the driving beats & furious guitar solos to the exquisite finish, "Digital Ghosts, the new album from Shadow Gallery, is a revelation.

I'm a huge fan of music. I have a decent & ever-growing collection of music...listening to shuffle on my playlist can make you feel a little crazy. However, there's a paucity of progressive rock in that collection of classical, rock, pop, blues & even a zydeco CD. I've listened to some Rush & know a couple songs but not many. I've heard of Yes & Dream Theater but couldn't tell you anything about them. So how do I come to be reviewing "Digital Ghosts" a week before the North American debut? Hold on before you go get your pitchforks & torches (yes, I can hear the SG faithful rustling & murmuring). The truth is I'm a major fan! In fact, after really giving a listen I talked to the friend who had turned me on to Shadow Gallery & asked, "How did I go this long without listening to this"?

I first picked up on the buzz on Twitter (follow Shadow Gallery @shadowgallerymu) & decided I needed to find out what all the chatter was about. So being the curious girl I am I fired up my Google & off I went. Long story short I hit up their website & read some of the background etc. (ok I read the whole site) and I went to Youtube & searched out anything they had (you can subscribe to Shadow Gallery's channel at Finally, I went to Grooveshark & created a playlist of every SG song available...and put it on repeat. After two days of non- stop SG at work I was hooked. Since then I've kept up with every announcement, video teaser & mp3 clip.

So on to the album!

"Digital Ghosts" is nothing short of perfection. The vocals are rich & layered with harmony throughout. Brian Ashland's voice lends itself effortlessly to the soaring heights of the music. He's an excellent choice to provide the lead vocals going forward. The music is everything you'd expect from these guys. There's not one false moment throughout the entire album. Not only have Gary Werhkamp, Carl Cadden-James, Brendt Allman & Brian Ashland lived up to the expectations & hype; they have surpassed it. These guys have taken progressive/symphonic rock/metal & flown to the stratosphere.

"With Honor" kicks off this powerful, emotional ride with anthemic music & lush harmony. Setting the tone "...foreign lands of sinking sands so strange & unfamiliar...holding to the code of honor we vowed to defend....with honor we will not walk away...." this song reaches out & shakes you awake. It is a non-stop ride into "Venom", a classic guitar-fueled metal song with the gritty vocals of Clay Barton (Suspyre) & Carl Cadden-James. It growls "I am the bringer of the rain and the foreteller of the pain, the end of days is near at hand/when God returns your just reward gets paid in metal". Then proving that any expectations are there to be shattered, SG starts "Pain" with a quiet, ballad-style guitar & stripped down vocals before adding in thudding drums & a truly excellent melt-your-face guitar solo. Here Shadow Gallery digs deep into the sense of loss & pain to which we can all relate. "Clinging on so tight/I bled my hands/I draw the shades & hang my's the air I need to breathe...on the battlefield you were never there beside me..." From there "Gold Dust" swells with synthesized keyboards and hope. It's filled with the promise of reuniting across time & space with a loved one--"You & I lie awake for hours separated by the world/well I can't see you ~ you can't see me but somehow I can feel you stand inside my soul". Creating a feeling of flight in spirit "moonbeams on my ways & always in my float/you're a dream/you take my hand and we roam/we run, we rock 'cuz you are the one" Shadow Gallery takes us on a cosmic trip.

The second half of the album opens "Strong"-- which is a good old-fashioned rock song. Exploding with all of Shadow Gallery's musical strength "young & proud/hard & loud/ on the wing/everything/what gives you strength/what gives you courage for tomorrow...concrete running through our the dark/from the heart". When the chorus of "One for all, All for One" starts up it's impossible not to raise a fist & make the vow. In the title track, "Digital Ghost", the band evokes hope in the face of grief. The opening cadence creates the feeling of a drum line...Shadow Gallery is marching forward & we are privileged to be invited along. The band expresses vividly the idea that there is more out there than what we can see. "I believe in the afterlife...through Heaven's hallowed hall...charismatic countenance upon a distant fading sky". "Ashes to ashes they say, then dust to dust...the circle remains here my friend, guarded with trust...we will suffer no last goodbye" reaffirms the sense that those we have lost (like Mike Baker) are still with us in mighty spirit. Closing out this powerhouse album is "Haunted". Another song that starts slowly with a lone piano & simple vocals "who waits for me/who waits so long/and shall I wait for dawn...or shall I sink into myself..." Looking for answers among all the questions that haunt the quiet dark nights yet "Maybe in time I'll fly away & trade these wings in for a life/a life where I am stronger and a place where there's no sleepless nights...". The lyrics are filled with longing that is compounded as the song fades out.

Each song is a testament to the true genius of these guys--a showcase for their mighty talents and yet you are never left with a sense that any of them are "showing off". The lyrics are powerful & stirring. My favorite tracks are "Pain", "Digital Ghosts" & "Haunted" but there isn't a track I don't like. Although the overall tone of the album is somewhat dark & deals with "loss" as a general theme it is also a steadfast statement for moving forward in the face of loss. I defy you to listen, truly listen & not walk away feeling stronger & better for it. The music & lyrics combine to form a sublime experience that will live inside listeners long after they turn the CD off. In the words of Shadow Gallery it is indeed filled with "enduring anthems crossing time & crossing minds".

*Author's Note* all lyrics are used with permission of Shadow Gallery 2009

Nil17 | 5/5 |


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