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Shadow Gallery - Room V CD (album) cover


Shadow Gallery


Progressive Metal

4.13 | 415 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Yes. YES. This is it. After 4 listens I can safely say that, up to this point in their career, Shadow Gallery has created their crowning glory. After the hiccup that was Legacy, it's good to see the band continuing on the concept from Tyranny, though yet again, it ends on a cliffhanger (pun intended to SG fans!)

Anways, on to the music....While Tyranny was a solid album on all accounts, I felt that there was a samness to much of the music...too much similiar tempos, structures, and melodies. Legacy, in my opinion, was a bit of a borefest (minus the grand opener Cliffhanger II). On Room V, Shadow Gallery are finally able to find a perfect mix of blazing guitar solos, emotional, melodic choruses, and grand instrumental sections. The CD opens with "Manhunt," very similiar in style to Stiletto in the Sand from Tyranny, and segues into "Comfort Me." While being one of the weaker tracks on the CD, the melodies remain longer than most of Shadow Gallery's previous work, and the inclusion of the female singer adds depth.

Next up, "The Andromeda Strain" is pure Shadow Gallery from the start. Reminiscent of the best up-tempo numbers from Tyranny, "Strain" takes a wicked opening guitar riff and expands on it with a very emotional and melodic chorus and cool bridges. At this point, it is also clearly noticeable that the concept of Room V is much more personal and on a slightly smaller scale than that of Tyranny, as this time it follows the exact emotions of the narrator and his woman friend and their troubles.

"Vow" is up next, and, though it goes on for perhaps a minute to long, proves to be a very grand ballad, never too pompous or pretentious but always emotional and melodic (you'll notice I use these words alot in describing the band). The next three songs, "Birth of a Daughter/Death of a Mother/Lamentia" speakj for themselves in their titles. The first two are chugging instrumentals, showcasing Gary Wehrkamp's outstanding guitar skills. The last part is simply a short piano piece with Mike reuing the theme from "Comfort Me." Very nice indeed.

Act IV opens with the fantasticlly atmospheric "Seven Years," starting with an amazingly epic and catchy opening guitar line which could no doubt be used in movies. A cool guitar solo, courtesy of Arjen Lucassen, is another highlight. The following song, "Dark," is just a minute long exercise in building tension, with the use of dark noises and smashing bottles.

Now it has been a good 5 songs since anything has really happened music and story-wise, but somehow, it works. The songs are shorter, concise, and help bridge the gap to what is the best part of the CD, the last few songs.

After "Dark" comes "Torn," another grand ballad in the vein of "Vow," but this one is done slightly better, with more melody and less bombast at the end, although a minute could have been shaved off near the end. No matter; the next four songs represent the pinnacle thus far of Shadow Gallery's recording career.

"The Archer of Ben Salem" rocks, and hard. With the use of Carl Cadden-James as The Archer, his vocals mesh perfectly with Mike's limited lines; this song is Carl's vocal shining point. The verses are catchy, the melodies are hard-hitting as a lot of the story up to this point is explained through the Archer's shouts. Halfway through, SG continue intrsumentally for another 4 minutes of hard-hitting prog-metal

"Encrypted" is another joy, and could be my favorite song on the CD, along with the next track. Starting with a mellow guitar line, another grand ballad gives way to one of the best choruses on the CD, and after the singing is done, the guitars come in, with Gary and Brendt showing their love for David Gilmour while trading off equally emotional solos. A true joy to hear.

The great dramatic build leads up to "Room V," the high point of the CD, where right out of the gate, the band rocks hard, and in no time, the greatest, most epic chorus on the CD comes through, and boy is it awesome! Every prog-metal lover's dream, a big, back-of-the-arena epic chorus that leads into one the best instrumental passages on the CD (of which I'm still trying to figure out the time signature for!). Following this high, "Rain" comes in and is everything a great rock song should be. While only mid-temp (it resembles "Encrypted" and "Torn" in this way), it is a very emotional and powerful ending to the album.

Maybe I am too quick to call it a prog-metal masterpiece just yet, and further listens may detract one star if I find flaws. But not in a long while have I heard such a suberbly crafted porg-metal CD. If you were put off by Octavarium or have played it so many times you need some more prog-metal fix, Shadow Gallery's brand of metal is distinctly differen't from Dream Theater's, so it should provide a welcome change. "Room V" is easily the best CD thus far from Shadow Gallery, and could go down as the pinnacle of their career. It'll be tough to beat!

Deadwing12 | 5/5 |


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