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Shadow Gallery - Legacy CD (album) cover

LEGACY

Shadow Gallery

 

Progressive Metal

3.68 | 154 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If you followed Shadow Gallery's career in a chronological order, chances are you heard Tyranny before listening to this one. So, as with me, your first reaction must've been something like "man!... this is not in the same level as Tyranny!"... Because, for sure, following in the footsteps of such a FLAWLESS album as that is no easy task, as with every band that has ever released their "ALBUM"... But after the initial shock, what you have here is a pretty good, at times equally masterful collection of (sadly only) 6 songs....

What striked me the most is the lack of anthemic, superhuman choruses that SG delivered in Tyranny.... As in the follow-up to this one, Room V, the choruses here are nowhere near the level of tracks like "I believe", "Roads of thunder" or "Mystery".... and believe me, one of the greatest assests of SG are their choruses, and honestly, I can't find a band that matches their ability.... But, as usual, the instrumental performance by each individual is amazing, especially from the guitars: SG is mainly a guitar band more than a keyboard band (a la Royal Hunt), and here we have excellent playing courtesy of Wehrkamp and Allman.... But another highlight in this band is Mike Baker: he's truly one of the BEST singers in all prog-metal and in all rock... his is a truly unique voice, a little mellow at times, but very effective and, most of all, GREAT with melody singing....

If we'd have to mention the biggest influence in SG's sound and Baker's singing, for sure we would have to talk about Queensryche, but a lot more "prog"....But never did Tate's band played songs with the beauty that SG's opuses have: even more than their choruses, it's their skills with MELODY that truly make them one of the greatest in all progressive metal (for me, only second to DT). But SG also have an "arena rock" vibe within their sound...

Cliffhanger (10/10), a marvelous song, almost an epic in length, great vocal melodies (as always), courtesy of Carl Cadden-James and Wehrkamp's masterful music skills. It's related to the track of the same name in "Carved in Stone", but this one is better.... a true prog-metal anthem.... the instrumental part asks no favors to Dream Theater's own in terms of quality...great. I just love the doubled guitar solo 3/4 down the song....The end is pure Dream Theater meets Shadow Gallery, this meaning that, while showing clear influences by the New York masters, SG's sound is mostly their own.. The final section is in neo-classic metal style, much ala Royal Hunt and Symphony X....

Destination Unknown (10/10), pure melody, a beautiful piano beginning and a PERFECT performance by Mike Baker... a very theatrical middle section, with lots of amazing choral harmonies... some accuse SG of being "too sacharine", too sweet.... I will say, so what?? We need some beauty in metal from time to time! Near the end a female vocal harmony plays over piano chords and acoustic guitars... A GEM Colors (8/10), the beginnijng of this sound reminds me of Wehrkamp's and Cadden- James'-written Mullmuzzler songs in "Keep it to Yourself".... a great melodic start gives way to a so-so chorus, not as good as SG had us used to... this one sounds a little bit "glam"...

Society Of The Mind (8/10), a short, powerful, driving track... it sweats energy... it bleeds energy... the chorus is a little bit too "arenaish" (as in ARENA-rock, not as in ARENA the band)... The choruses in Tyranny were anthemic yet never cheesy... This one is not cheesy, but lies in the border.

Legacy (10/10) , just amazing. If the latter track was energetic, this one is A TORNADO... it has the force of thousand bikes at night... yeah, listening to this while driving an open car in the midst of the city's blaring, flash-like lights.... this chorus, again, not perfect but ALMOST there... great, great song... really a 9.5/10, but it's so damn frenetic, adrenalin-pumping that we add half a point for that....

First Light (6/10), sadly, the weakest track in the album happens to be the longest, and as it takes more than half the size of the cd, it causes the record to lose a point in the ratings....SG's specialty is not the moustrous epics... leave that to the symphonic-rock masters of old or to today's masters like The Flower Kings... or to other Prog-metal bands for that matter.... SG is at their best in the 7-13 minute ratio.... this one is just TOO long, not coherent at times, and in the midst of the confusion we just lose track of the good vocal melodies that just pass us by without being noticed... and to make things worst, man, THE PAUSE.... more than 10 minutes silence!!! And this is not a "secret" track, for the song's length is LISTED in the booklet as 34 minutes... so when the music stops at 22 minutes, you just wonder "what the hell"... then you wait, you wait... when you are snoozing, beginning to lose conciousness and enter into Freud's Kingdom, the music starts again.... and not good music but mediocre music at that! This song could've been good with a good edition-job.... but even trimmed down to 8 minutes, it just doesn't have enough going for it to say "flawed masterpiece"... just flawed piece, period....

So, a very good album, worthy of its predecessor but almost slipping into 3 stars territory, and only because of the completely botched attempt at a giant epic by Shadow Gallery... but don't let this discourage you from buying this otherwise amazing album! The first 5 tracks are almost Tyranny-level songs.... so get it....

... just have your finger in the FORWARD button when the last song approaches minute 22... or have a book at hand... you'll need it for the pause, it is THAT LONG....

The T | 4/5 |

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