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Shadow Gallery - Room V CD (album) cover


Shadow Gallery


Progressive Metal

4.11 | 446 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars American progressive rock band Shadow Gallery saw the light of day in 1992 and have since only released one album every 3 or 4 years. Not the most prolific band in the genre, but certainly one of the most patient bands I know. These guys are all perfectionists and Room V is absolute proof of the bands total dedication to progressive rock music.

In addition, Room V is also the continuation to 1998's Tyranny, and just as this latter concept album contained Act I and II, Room V contains Act III and IV.


1. "Manhunt" - 2m10s - (10/10)

The album opens with a most fierce instrumental intro. It all starts off rather heavy and frenzied, a very technical opening. From a Progressive Rock standpoint, you'd think they were preparing you for something quite intense...

2. "Comfort Me" - 6m52s - (8.5/10)

Beautiful piano opening. This is a ballad and a beautiful duet performed by none other than Mike Baker and Laura Jaeger who also worked on 1998's Tyranny. There are some nice background vocals here as well. Musically not very progressive at all but it's nice and polished. Both piano and flute are added for a little more musical variety. There is a gorgeous emotional guitar solo...and a soft, yet pretty piano fading outro...I must admit that this was not what I was expecting after such a blistering opening introduction.

3. "The Andromeda Strain" - 6m46s - (9/10)

Starts off rather decently with some nice guitar riffs, which gives it more of a progressive metal edge. The other thing you'll find with this track is that the music is so catchy, you could easily find a track like this one on FM radio stations. At the 3 minute mark the music goes pretty wild as if to satisfy progressive metal enthusiasts who will probably find some of this album too soft! There's also a most interesting musical improvisation moment that is worth pointing out here...

4. "Vow" - 8m27s - (9.5/10)

Another beautiful soft ballad! Begins with clean electric guitar strumming a lovely soft lick, Mike Baker sings along with the rhythm guitar. Beautiful harmonies, sweet melody in the chorus. Nice orchestrations and very sweet soloing throughout.

5. "Birth of a Daughter" - 2m40s - (first minute rating only 5/10; next minute and a half - 10/10)

Instrumental that starts off atmospheric, it slowly builds and at the one minute mark they add guitars, organ and then drums which turns into another very intense and fast progressive rock moment. It ends with a very fast arpeggio...and it's all so very exciting, just like the actual "Birth of a Daughter."

6. "Death of a Mother" - 2m15s - (9/10)

Another instrumental that builds to a most intense musical moment again. Faint hospital beeps can be heard at the beginning and then a flat line tone slowly fades away just as the music quickly turns frantic for about a minute before the track ends slowly and smoothly with guitar solo and piano fading outro...this one ends sadly just as the "Death of a Mother" would make one feel, it leads right into "Lamentia."

7. "Lamentia" - 1m04s - (8.5/10)

A very short musical moment that appears to be the closing part to "Vow" and to ACT III...Everything is neatly tied in together, actually the listener is starting to make sense of it all.


8. "Seven Seas" - 3m37s - (8.5/10)

Act IV opens with slowly fading in orchestrations, piano, guitar and flute...another instrumental moment which comes complete with guitar solo.

9. "Dark" - 1m03s - (7.5/10)

Special effects open this short track. At first you hear a crashing window followed by a very sharp scream. Atmospheric sound effects abound here...serves as an intro to the next track.

10. "Torn" - 8m23s - (9.5/10)

Sweet guitar lick opens what is perhaps the catchiest ballad on the album. I really like this track, but I believe the song suffers because of its overall length and apparent "mainstream" feel. After listening to this one, I think most will agree that it is an awesome song, not really a progressive track and not really a pop song either. It sorta sits awkwardly between both worlds. It's like this, "Torn" has the potential to be a "hit" single, but unfortunately, it would need to be edited down to 5 minutes for radio play. That's unlikely to, you'll just have to enjoy it as it is. Gorgeous track, period!

11. "The Archer of Ben Salem" - 7m28s - (9.5/10)

It's a rocker! A variety of drum patterns and guitar riffs. I guess the band deserves to stamp a progressive rock sticker on this album. The band appears to favor a "fading out" approach as we witness here again...

12. "Encrypted" - 8m01s - (8.5/10)

Soft and clean guitar picking intro. Beautiful vocals, beautiful melodies and harmonies. Ballad, ballads and more ballads...what can I say, they're good at it.

13. "Room" - 7m44s - (10/10)

Wow! Finally, we get some truly interesting electric and lead guitar work. I must admit I'm a sucker for good guitar driven rock tracks. This one fits the bill perfectly! It has everything one wants to hear when listening to prog rock. Some truly awesome musical moments! My absolute FAV song on the album.

14. "Rain" - 8m59s - (9.5/10)

More progressive rock for the soul. There is an obvious theme to the album, that re- appears now and then, a common musical melody that is integrated into the songs inconspicuously. But it's there, and it ties everything together perfectly.

Concluding Remarks:

At 75m29s, the band could not have jammed another 3 minutes onto the album without going overboard. As it stands, it is an excellent journey in progressive rock. I didn't want to compare Shadow Gallery to anybody, but, when I listen to this album, I'm reminded of the rock group: Yes, and I'm not going to elaborate on that.

This album has a nostalgic feel to it, perhaps a good mix of old and new progressive influences that fit together wonderfully. It is different, yet very familiar to the music one associates with progressive rock. Song composition, lyrics, musicianship all first- rate in my book.

It's hard to find fault with the album, but one could argue that this prog album contains too many soft moments, and I'm not just talking about a couple songs here. There is well over 30 minutes of soft/soothing music (maybe closer to 40 minutes), and many will think this album is not progressive enough for them?

In my view, Room V works for me and deserves it's progressive rock tag. I say this not only because of its' overall length. I can say this because if you are one of those individuals that is put off by this albums' overall mellow tendencies, you can always try programming a few ballads out of your play-list. For instance, simply removing "Encrypted" will bring the overall length of the album down to 67 minutes and you've effectively eliminated 8 minutes of soft music. OK, you've ruined the bands musical vision but you may also find the album works better for you this way, giving it a harder and heavier progressive rock edge! I introduced my buddy to the music on this album in exactly that way and he was blown away by it. I know, its blasphemous to even suggest it, I mean, who would actually program tracks out of a concept album? Perhaps only those with short attention spans? But, if you love the softer side of progressive music, then this progressive album is absolutely essential to your collection.

Vanwarp | 5/5 |


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