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Shadow Gallery - Shadow Gallery  CD (album) cover

SHADOW GALLERY

Shadow Gallery

 

Progressive Metal

3.42 | 129 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This was one of the first bands I stumbled across when I was first delving into the modern progressive rock scene, and this was the first album by Shadow Gallery that I picked up. Since then, I've gotten Tyranny and Digital Ghosts as well, but this one remains my favorite.

This is classified here as progressive metal, but there's quite a bit of symphonic influence here as well. "The Dance of Fools" shows this quite well, with a lot of the instrumentals seeming to my ears at least to channel Kansas. "Darktown," the second longest track on the album, starts off with a fairly standard prog-metal sounding intro which briefly features some very interestin Tull-esque flute work. From there, the track slows down for a vocal section before building back up in intensity again. The track alternates between these themes for the remainder of its duration, culminating in a very satisfying nine minute track. Following that is "Mystified," which, after a brief introductory section, reveals itself to be one of the more commercial sounding tracks lyrically, though, at seven minutes, it's still a very dynamic track. "Questions at Hand" ups the tempo, starting off with a guitar intro very reminiscent of Iron Maiden, and continues much in the same vein to be probably the most straight up metal track. "The Final Hour," is fairly forgettable, in my opinion, with a bit too much shredding, but it was written and composed by clearly talented people and it works where it is in the album. Not anything special but nothing bad either. "Say Goodbye to the Morning" is another one where I can hear shades of Kansas, but some of the keyboards definitely have a Genesis feel to them as well. The chorus is a bit more traditionally prog metal. One of the highlights of the album for sure. Finally, we get to the 17 minute finale, "The Queen of the City of Ice," an excellent closer to the album. This is pretty much a straight symphonic track, there's almost no metal here but that's perfectly fine. Sections are, again, highly reminiscent of Genesis, although in a few parts it also sounds a bit like Dream Theater's epic track "A Change of Seasons," which is interesting since this album was released three years before that DT disk. A fantastic closer which is undiminished by a spoken word section in the middle, something that is usually not a good idea but works here.

I have to mention briefly how highly I regard Mike Baker's vocals, especially on this album. I had initially heard him on Ayreon's "The Human Equation," (actually how I found out about this band) on which he sings in an intentionally grating way, so I was a bit concerned about how he would sound on this album. Needless to say, my fears were unfounded. Sometimes sounding a bit like Queensr˙che's Geoff Tate but also capable of a delicateness Tate could never match, the vocals are stellar here and progressive rock truly lost a great talent when Baker died of a heart attack at 45. Just listen to the beginning of "The Dance of Fools" and you'll understand what I mean.

A really, really, good album from the early 90s and if everything was on par with "The Dance of Fools," "Say Goodbye to the Morning," and "The Queen of the City of Ice," this would be a five star record. Highly reccomended, but falls just short of a masterpiece.

4/5

VanVanVan | 4/5 |

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