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Shadow Gallery

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Shadow Gallery Room V album cover
4.11 | 449 ratings | 51 reviews | 40% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Manhunt (2:07)
2. Comfort Me (6:49)
3. The Andromeda Strain (6:44)
4. Vow (8:25)
5. Birth of a Daughter (2:38)
6. Death of a Mother (2:13)
7. Lamentia (1:02)
- ACT IV -
8. Seven Years (3:35)
9. Dark (1:01)
10. Torn (8:21)
11. The Archer of Ben Salem (7:26)
12. Encrypted (7:59)
13. Room V (7:42)
14. Rain (8:59)

Total Time: 75:01

Bonus CD from 2005 IOM Special Edition:
1. Joe's Spotlight (3:06)
2. She Wants To Go Home (2:40)
3. Memories (Demo Version) (1:59)
4. Rain (Acoustic Version) (5:53)
5. Floydian Memories (24:36)
6. Enhanced Multimedia section: The Story Of Room V

Line-up / Musicians

- Mike Baker / lead vocals
- Brendt Allmann / acoustic & electric guitars, bass, vocals
- Gary Wehrkamp / guitar, keyboards, bass, vocals, producer
- Carl Cadden-James / bass, flute, vocals
- Joe Nevolo / drums, percussion

- Laura Jaeger / lead vocals (2,3)
- Libby Molnar / vocals-part of "Alaska" (9)
- Jim Roberti / vocals (bonus 5)
- Arjen Lucassen / guitar solo (8, bonus 5), vocals (bonus 5)
- Joe Stone / 1st guitar solo (11)
- Mark Zonder / drums (bonus 5)

Releases information

Artwork: Rainer Kalwitz

CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMCD 207 (2005, Germany)
2xCD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMSECD 207 (2005, Germany) Bonus disc w/ 5 bonus tracks plus video

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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SHADOW GALLERY Room V ratings distribution

(449 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(40%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by MikeEnRegalia
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is the Shadow Gallery masterpiece that the fans have been waiting for: A worthy successor of Tyranny, with elements from all their other albums - most prominently Carved In Stone - thrown in ... let me rephrase that: carefully interwoven. The songs are divided in the two acts III and IV, which shows that this is really meant to be the successor to Tyranny.

Listening to the first song the heritage becomes obvious anyway, as it's basically an Overture to the new songs as well as a summary of Tyranny, constructed in a manner similar to the Overture 1928 on Dream

Theater's concept album or the Neal Morse opuses. I don't want to go into too much detail on the music, because it really boils down to being "just" what they did on Tyranny and Carved In Stone, but with lots of fresh ideas and beautiful melodies.

The story picks up pieces of Tyranny, but although I didn't give it much thought (didn't listen and simultaneously read the booklet), it obviously isn't about a new world order, but more about the personal life of the protagonists.

Mr. Arjen Lucassen makes a guest appearance, and tracks 2 and 3 feature beautiful female vocals in the same unusual manner as on Tyranny (quite low registers, I wonder if it's the same singer).

One word about the BONUS DISC: Among some acoustic versions and demos of the Room V songs, there's an absolute highlight: The 25 minute medley Floydian Memories. While it's basically a medley, where typically passages from different songs are put together, this track goes one step further and merges different Pink Floyd tracks in a psychedelic way. Marvelous. Wonderful. Masterpiece.

What a pity that apparently they don't tour ... maybe that changes with them signing on to InsideOut, let's hope so!

Review by Marc Baum
5 stars Wow, what a stunning release! In my brave review of "Octavarium" I wrote that there probably won't be a better album this year, after listening to "Room V" I must correct this point of view. THIS ALBUM IS THE PROG METAL MASTERPIECE OF 2005! I don't want to make the 5 star rating of the new DT album from my side as false disicion, because I still enjoy it, but the new Shadow Gallery record with it's bonus cd (including an phenomenal Pink Floyd medley called "Floydian Memories") really blows all recent stuff away in prog metal that I've heard since the last couples of years. The production is a pure hammer, the instruments (inclusive bass guitar) are all perfectly in presence. When they play fast forward, they sometimes sound like Dream Theater, but in quiet parts they really shine as a original. The songs are all on the same high level, it would be unfair to the rest of the songs to mention some single moments as highlights. I bought the limited edition double cd for a price of 18 ?, which is really worth the investment! If you are someone who is disappointed with the new Dream Theater record, this should be the record of the year to discover.

9/10 points = 92 % on MPV scale = 5/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 stars / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music

Review by The Crow
3 stars A very good album, but not a masterpiece in my opinion...

Here you will find the typical progressive metal, with elements from Dream Theater and Symphony X, but without the personality of these bands. The singer Mike Baker is simply correct, with some very good vocal melodies by Cadden-James. The drums sound weak, like the bass guitar... The production isn't marvellous, but at least it fullfils it assignment. So this album has nothing really special in my opinion, having an average production and very predictable compositions.

The hightlights are not the harderst ones... I think the slow tempo tracks are the speciality of the band. Some chorus are very inspired in these tracks... The hardest ones have nothing really markable. I've heard a lot of bands making the same music... But better.

Best songs: Confort Me (beautiful beginning for this album...), Andromeda Strain (the best hard song of the album...), Torn (fine vocal melodies...) and Room V.

Conclusion: good songs, good composition, good interpretation, good collaborations, good production... But an absolute lack of originality!!! "Room V" is an album wich will give some funny moments for soft prog metal lovers... But if you're searching for a band with true personality or something new to offer, you're looking in the wrong direction.

My rating: ***

Review by Vanwarp
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.

Review by Menswear
4 stars The successor of the very impressive Tyranny is finally here, and I think we have a winner!

Despite the similar flaws of Tyranny, Room V is delivering strongs melodies, arpegoes of guitars and groovy textures of keyboards making this album a sure winner. Lots of melodies are tending on the 'Journey' side of Shadow Gallery. Lots of choruses could take you back in 1989 and the production seems to capture that era too. Waddaya want? Shadow Gallery seems to be stuck in a moment, where snake skin boots and lycra leotars were selling. Why not, grab a cherry coke, put on your Poison t-shirt and sing loud, sing proud because this cookie has more catchy melodies than Tyranny.

The double cd version has 2 main appeals: the making of the cd and the Pink Floyd medley. Basically the making of is just a guy telling you the (8 hours long) story about the Tyranny/ Room V plot. And frankly, it could be a blockbuster movie, despite the many Da Vinci Code references. The Floydian medley is fluid, accurate and not too much apart of what Pink Floyd did themselves. So it's good for a quick fix of your favorite tunes, not more.

It's basically hard to say anything else than 'go get this is you liked Tyranny.' They're pretty much the same record althought Room V has a lot of good tunes and seems to be a lot less heavy.

Hey Baker, Axl Rose called, he wants his hair back.

Review by thellama73
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I am not a fan of Prog metal at all. I picked this album up on a whim without knowing anything about it. After owning it for a while and giving it quite a few listens, I feel qualified to review it.

There is no doubt that this is a talented group of musicians, all technically excellent. Many of the songs are well written, with a balance between ballads and rockers, although a few too many of the former for my liking. The song writing is, on the whole, good. Some of the lyrics are pretty bad, but not so much that detracts overly from the music. The highlight of the album is The Archer of Ben Salam, which rocks harder than anything else on the record. My main complaint, as with many Neo-Prog and Prog metal bands is with the singer. While he can sing, his voice lacks character. Why should I care what this guy has to say? He sounds just like a million other singers out there. One of the hallmarks of Prog has always been distinctive singers like Geddy Lee, Jon Anderson, Peter Gabriel and Ian Anderson. Another problem that music of this sort often runs into is the lack of emotion. Despite (and partially because of) their technical prowess, they at times end up sounding like music machines, churning out Prog metal by rote. I used to really dislike this album, but now I am forced to concede that it is quite good, but certainly not essential.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars "We will rock with the thunder of a thousand mighty horses".This is a line from the song "Room V", and is an apt description of a lot of what your going to hear on this album.

As others have mentioned this is the same story line as was in "Tyranny", and so in "Room V" the story continues, beginning with "Manhunt" opening with violin, guitar and keys all played at a million miles an hour. Things get mellow though with light guitar and piano before this short instrumental is over. "Comfort Me" sounds absolutely incredible ! A duet with piano that features some great guitar before it ends. "The Andromeda Strain" opens with an absolutely ripping guitar solo, that comes back throughout the song. The guitar, keyboard interplay is fantastic. The vocal harmonies are wondrous as well. And check out the amazing guitar melody with the drums pounding away. "Vow" features acoustic guitar and vocals that are quite moving. More awesome guitar. "Birth Of A Daughter" is an instrumental with some heavy riffs. "Death Of A Mother" is another instrumental that features some high speed guitar and piano. I was amazed at how fast he played the piano.

"Lamentia" is like a reprise of "Comfort Me" so short and also so sad. "Seven Years" is another instrumental with violin and flute and a guitar solo that is inspiring from none other than Arjen Lucassen. Great song ! "Dark" is a minute long song of samplings."Torn" has a beautiful guitar intro. There is some piano melodies, and I love the guitar and vocals working together.This is a powerful song. "The Archer Of Ben Salem" features lots of tempo changes and powerful vocals. There is hammond organ as well as some wicked guitar and pounding drums. "Encrypted " opens with gentle vocals and toned down guitars.This may be slower paced but is it ever powerful (there's that word again). Some more amazing guitar towards the end of the song. "Room V" is a heavy duty rocker that ends calmly with the sound of rain and piano. The final song "Rain" opens with heavy riffs and a long scorching guitar solo followed by a fantastic guitar melody, then vocals. There is mind numbing guitar throughout this song.

I reviewed their first record not too long ago, and I swear you wouldn't know they were the same band, they've come so far. From a good debut to a masterpiece!

Review by semismart
4 stars Long time fans of Progressive Rock/Metal are most likely familiar with Shadow Gallery, a musical ensemble, known as a purveyor of high quality Progressive Rock music, though not in high quantities. Shadow Gallery was formed thirteen years ago, yet their latest album, Room V is only their fifth studio album. It is a concept album which picks up from a previous concept album, Tyranny, a story about a man and woman fighting against the diabolical government, who practices hegemony on third world countries. (Hmmp sounds like us.)

What's Hot Kudos for the instrumentals. That's where you can really hear what fantastic musicians these guys are. "Manhunt," "Birth of a Daughter" and "Death of a Mother" are all excellent fast paced numbers with great guitars, keyboards (fantastic on death of a Mother) and percussion.

Didn't like the ethereal sounding beginning but some super guitar work turned Seven Years into a winner. Another instrumental!

Despite Mike Baker's melancholy, sugar-coated vocal, "Torn" is a pretty good song. Still at eight minutes, it's a little overdone.

Hey, I like Baker's singing on "The Archer of Ben Salem." Like the song too, especially the organ/guitar playing!

The last three quarters of "Room V" is excellent. Fantastic musicianship!

What's Not The only thing that keeps "Comfort" from being two and a half stars is the excellent keyboards and the lady singer. Sugar coated vocals by Mike Baker. 3 1/2 stars.

The eight minute plus ballad, "Vow" is so boring it makes me want to throw something against the wall. Yes, it has a pleasant melody, but Mike Baker's vocal are sweet enough to make you nauseous . 2 stars. Give me the Mike Baker of Human Equation's "Loser?"

Another unnecessarily long song, "Encrypted" is average at best.

Nine minute "Rain," is a pretty good song but it could be better. A little less band harmonizing, a little less redundancy, a little shorter and you've got a five star song instead of four.


I like to think of Shadow Gallery's music as mellow progressive rock. There is nothing radical about their music but it's always very melodious and pleasant, with musicianship second to none. One of the problems I find with their music is, because I gravitate to a little heavier strain of music, I tend to tire of their music, quickly. Room V is like that. It has an impressive sound but with limited staying power. If you haven't heard it for awhile it sounds great. If I play it three or four times, I put it away for another two or three months because I'm ready for something a little more upbeat. Yes, there are some riotously upbeat songs or sections of songs on Room V and they are excellent but three overlong tedious songs trump the shorter faster songs. Still I won't deny Room V is a good album. I'll just skip the boring parts. Final rating 4.15 stars.

Review by sleeper
3 stars Room V is, obviously, the fifth album from prog metalers Shadow Gallery and is the second part in a concept trilogy, started way back in 98's Tyranny, that follows the struggles against a totalitarian government. For those that don't know, Shadow Gallery could be described as clones of Dream Theater, though this would be a little unfair as they are contemporaries of Dream Theater, both bands having started at about the same time. This means that you get bombastic metal with more than a passing nod to both Rush and Yes, though they do have their own distinctive sound, stylistically you can be pretty sure of what your getting.

I have to say I was expecting more from this album considering the praise they receive from many fans of prog metal. That's not to say that this is a bad album, but it at no point shouts out as being a fantastic work of art, just average, good enough to enjoy but not enthrall. Decent melodies and strong solo's abound in this album, as you would expect, simultaneously supporting and being supported by the concept here creating a good, even experience with no hint of one, or more, tracks being weak whilst not having anything that stands out. One thing I will say is that the occasional use of the flute really does work better on this type of music than I thought it would, definitely a nice surprise courtesy of Carl Cadden-James.

Of the music and musicianship, the heavier end of the music tends to be driven forward by the effect of the twin guitars from Brendt Allman and Gary Wehrkamp, with the softer side of the music being led by Chris Ingles keyboard work. One of the disappointments of the album is that Carl Cadden-James's bass work is very much lost in the mix here, its certainly there if you listen hard for it but when you do you wont be overly impressed. Though Carl Cadden-James is one of the main composers of the music, his talents with the instrument are not very strong, he supplies an adequate bass line but only offers the typical support to the rhythm that you would expect from a standard rock/metal band without much attempt to expand on his role. The drumming is quite good though, filling in the creative side of the rhythm section, but unfortunately Joe Novelo is not someone that I would call a superstar on the kit, but rather good all the same.

The vocals are a rather big problem here though. Mike Baker is technically a very good singer but his style is stereotypical metal, attempting to be dramatic but sadly only coming off as rather cheesy, in particularly on the title track. I must admit that almost every time I hear the chorus to Room V I laugh out loud its so bad, so thank god the song is mostly instrumental.

In the end this album is spectacular in its averageness. The band are quite clearly very close to Dream Theater stylistically without sharing their superb command of memorable, and very strong, melodies or powerful solos, and this goes for all the musicians. Which is a shame because technically they are about equal to Dream Theater but very much lacking in the imaginative side of things, an overly cheesy singer (though with OK lyrics) doesn't help things either. Fans of prog metal will probably get some enjoyment out of it but for the majority its not really worth bothering with. 3 stars.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars This is the Shadow Gallery masterpiece that the fans have been waiting for???

I don't think so, to me is a 4 star album, and not by far their best. I consider that Carved in stone (my fav) and Tyranny to be their best albums so far. Here, kind the same riffs, the same keys, like on that 2 albums that i mention. Of course is not bad, is well played, every instrument sounds where should belong, but something make me not to put 5 stars to this one. I don't know what, maybe sometime the slow pieces are to cheese like Confort me. Their is some super tracks that continue the tradition of what Shadow Gallery begin in 1995, Andromeda strain, The archer of Ben salem and Room V. So, a 4 star album to me, still recommended, is considered to their best, but not to me.

Review by progrules
5 stars Shadow Gallery is an American Progmetal band with great potential. I already discovered that through their four previous albums but with their fifth (the title can't be a coincidence) they moved up to the absolute top league of progrock. What an amazing album, great variation with a few ballads and some rougher songs in a fantastic mix, a true classic. In one of my earlier reviews I stated that to deserve 5 stars at least 3 songs of top class quality should be on the album or the overall quality had to be very high. This time it's a mix of those two: the top songs are Rain, Room V and especially Encrypted one of the few songs I know that gives me the shivers down the spine. This happens particularly during the guitarriff by Gary Wehrkamp towards the end of the song. Other great tracks are Andromeda Strain, Vow and Torn. They prove that the guys were in absolute top form when they wrote this album. What a masterpiece !!!
Review by Fight Club
4 stars Now here we have the latest studio album from American progressive metal act, Shadow Gallery. This is one of my favorites in the prog metal genre, right up there with Dream Theater's finest. However, this album focuses more on the emotional side of music for the most part and includes more symphonic elements. It's one rockin' album to get your blood pumping, but it's also got a lot of mellow moments. Basically almost anything I could ask for in an album.

Now the music isn't extremely complex so it's pretty easy to get into. However, it has it's fair share of progressive moments. The album moves from intense instrumental passages to beautiful piano ballads. There's all the catchy hooks anyone could ask for and enough heart wrenching guitar solos to make a guitarist's mouth water. It is also a continuing story that started with their album, Tyranny. Overall, it's one of the best prog metal releases in recent years.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Shadow Gallery´s Room V is the continuation of the story present in their most celebrated CD, Tyranny. I was skeptical if they could come with something as inspired and powerful, specially after keyboards man Chris Ingles has left the band (although he does get some writing credits). .Fortunatly they did not try to duplicate that sound and style but go forward. Thus comes this CD, in which their fine musicality comes intact. In fact, they sound evolve into more progressive than ever.

Shadow Gallery is one of those rare cases in prog metal that virtuosity is used sparingly, only when the song calls for it. This is a group efford where the music as a whole comes first. The musicanship is superb: Gary Wehrkamp has a very unique guitar style and also plays all the keyboards on this album (and does it like he was born with a piano by his hand!). the storyline may be a little cliche sometimes, but it is good anyway. Arrangements are varied and tasteful, the backing vocals are quite original and subtle. This album may not have the same impact as Turanny, but it grows on you with every listening. Most of the songs can be heard individually without problem, but it works better if you follw the story sequence.

All in all a great sequel to a classic. I´m looking forward to hear what those guys are going to do next. Highly recommended!

Review by LiquidEternity
3 stars One of the progressive metal acts living in the shadows of giants like Dream Theater and Symphony X, Shadow Gallery has put out a number of consistently good albums in that vein. Room V might be the culmination of these albums.

First, it must be noted, Room V is a sequel to the 1998 concept album Tyranny. Except here, the dystopian qualms of the main characters becomes a struggle with small pox and the abduction of a daughter. It makes much more sense when you read through the booklet as you listen. Suffice to say, there is a good bit of dwelling on romance and good bit of dwelling on insurrectionism and rebellion. Some of the lyrics dance the line of cheesiness, but that is the price you usually pay for one of these sorts of albums. Musically, however, it is fairly strong, if a mite repetitive. The performers take their cues from the other main progressive metal acts, shredding along on the guitars, noodling around on the keyboards, and taking pains to make the rhythm section work off a whole lot of carbohydrates for every song they play. Mike Baker, the vocalist, does not work for some people, but his voice fits the mood and the sound of the music pretty well here--it also is a nice touch to have a progressive metal band with a singer who isn't still stuck in the 80s hair metal mania.

The album kicks off with the short instrumental Manhunt. This bit is fast paced and exciting, if mostly aimless. It corresponds pretty definitely with two of the other instrumental tracks: Birth of a Daughter and Death of a Mother. The other two instrumental tracks on the album (Seven Years and Dark) are more melodic filler. Seven Years features Arjen Lucassen of Ayreon on a guest solo, and he adds quite nicely if a bit predictably to the track. As far as main tracks go, some are heavy and exciting, while others are much more mellow and soft. On the heavy side we have The Andromeda Strain, The Archer of Ben Salem, and the title track. These all feature some Dream Theater inspired metal riffs throughout, as well as some intense instrumental portions. For the mellower side (though in truth all the songs have some mix of mellow and heavy), we have the remaining songs. Comfort Me and Vow are both touching sorts of songs with wonderful vocal parts and romancy lyrics. Torn is a melancholic song with probably the best chorus that Shadow Gallery wrote--Mike Baker absolutely shines here. Encrypted and Rain are pretty standard tracks.

Why isn't it higher than three stars then? Because, while it's an entertaining and energetic album, it gets pretty predictable and mildly repetitive. Also, for the most part, the music features a lot of awkward bits that don't really add to the songs. Fans of progressive metal would probably enjoy listening to this album, but it does not cross over so well into the progressive rock side. Fans of Dream Theater and Symphony X and related bands would most likely find something of value here.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I purchased this album just around the time it started to receive highly positive reviews and no one seemed to question Shadow Gallery's authority. Personally I definitely consider myself a fan of Progressive Metal but this never stopped me from being cautious of U.S. bands since they tend to go a bit overboard into the Power Metal territory. Although there are bands, like Queensr˙che and Symphony X, that manage to fuse their Power Metal tendencies with high quality material Progressive moments others completely miss the mark for me. Having just been burnt from listening to the highly acclaimed band called Kamelot I approached Room V with caution.

It's questionable whether my skeptical approach had any significant effect at first since I really liked the first part of the album. It might not have featured that many Progressive Metal moments but Mike Baker definitely convinced me with his clear and passionate vocal delivery. The music might have had a bit to much drama in it but now I'm just getting picky. Unfortunately once the instrumental tracks started pilling up one after the other, starting with Birth Of A Daughter, I began loosing the original opinion of the music. Most of the so-called Progressive instrumental moments featured on Room V are in fact pure Power Metal material and, with an exception of Seven Years, instead of showing how good the band were it actually gave me a glimpse of their flaws.

While it might be considered debatable if Room V is just another Dream Theater-inspired offspring of the excellent Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory it's clear that Shadow Gallery aren't as versatile as their colleagues in the Progressive Metal genre. Still there are definite glimpses of potential showing though thanks to the excellent vocal sections and melodic delivery that, if evolved, might actually give other concept albums a run for their money. As it stands today this album is just a good, but non-essential release.

**** star songs: Manhunt (2:09) Comfort Me (6:51) The Andromeda Strain (6:46) Vow (8:27) Lamentia (1:04) Seven Years (3:37) Dark (1:03) Torn (8:23) Encrypted (8:01) Rain (8:59)

*** star songs: Birth Of A Daughter (2:40) Death Of A Mother (2:15) The Archer Of Ben Salem (7:28) Room V (7:44)

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Tyranny part 2 - a lesser sequel

While 2001's Legacy album continued on where 1995's brilliant Carved In Stone took off, the present album from 2005 continues on where 1999's Tyranny took off. Indeed, Room V constitutes part 2 of Tyranny and contains acts III and IV of the story that started on that earlier album. Tyranny was a great album and in my opinion, this sequel is less impressive. Room V is a decent album for sure with some good moments but it emphasizes the weaker aspects of Tyranny rather than building on its strengths. Whatever is good on this album was already done at least as good on Tyranny and what is less good is... well, less good.

It starts off well enough with Manhunt, a short fast paced instrumental introduction in the same style as that which opened Tyranny. The second track is already a letdown, though. The male-female duet Comfort Me is cheesy and immediately gives the listener the impression that he is hearing a Rock Opera or Musical. Some people like this, I suppose, but for me it becomes somewhat bombastic in the negative sense. This song sounds very much like something you would hear on the radio or TV. Not my cup of tea and disappointing coming from such a great band as Shadow Gallery.

The rest of the album is better but it never really reaches the high level of previous albums. One of the many things that I liked so much about Carved In Stone, for example, was the strong variation. There is a lot less of that here. Still, there are several good moments. One further problem is that the album is very long with a running time of 75 minutes. Towards the end the ears get somewhat tired of listening to more of the same.

Overall Room V is a bit of a disappointment for me after such a strong series of albums as Carved In Stone, Tyranny and Legacy. I therefore recommend this album only after you've heard those others. I'm sorry to give such a low final rating as this is after all a decent album, but it just fails to impress me the way the band's other albums do.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Progressive metal that's not overly heavy, not super technical, with fantastic smooth vocals from Mike Baker (may he rest in peace) and meaningful lyrics. Some of the songs feature some nice female vocals, and Arjen Lucassen appears briefly for a guitar solo. There aren't any major surprises ... (read more)

Report this review (#2919354) | Posted by Idaho | Sunday, April 23, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars We all love concept albums, right? If there was one clich' that firmly embodies the essence of progressive music it's concept albums. Records which use narratives to link all the songs together, they often encapsulate the peak of an artist's creativity and on most occasions, the peak of their co ... (read more)

Report this review (#1790998) | Posted by martindavey87 | Friday, October 6, 2017 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Room V ? 2005 3.4/5 11 ? Best Song: Torn or Floydian Memories (if you count the bonus material) Shadow Gallery, after another extended vacation, comes back to release a sequel of their minor hit album Tyranny. The plot is still as convoluted and facile as before, if not more than that, but ... (read more)

Report this review (#441813) | Posted by Alitare | Monday, May 2, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars GREAT! That's what I say about "Room V", my first experience with the Shadow Gallery.Last album with vocalist Mike Baker (who died tragically in 2008-rest in peace,Mike), this album is a great masterpiece. The whole band works in tune to the creation and production of this great album.The so ... (read more)

Report this review (#439044) | Posted by voliveira | Monday, April 25, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Don't get me wrong, "Room V" is a great album. Its just that following a duo of absolute masterpieces, it doesn't live up to the very high expectations that I had after "Tyranny" and "Legacy". It has some fantastic songs, the slow, mesmeric "Comfort Me", the excellent "Torn" and the lovely ... (read more)

Report this review (#372473) | Posted by sv_godspeed | Tuesday, January 4, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I've just come back to this after listening a lot to Dream Theater and The Flower Kings. This is an excellent CD, A concept album that has thus unusual credits in that they list books - (for inspiration and information) - The Holy Bible and - "River out of Eden" by the very famous atheist Rich ... (read more)

Report this review (#239234) | Posted by M27Barney | Monday, September 14, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars There are a lot of good things on this album. Strong guitar playing, mostly strong vocals. I pretty much like it a lot. I was even toying with the idea of moving up to a 4 star rating. But, then I hit a song that reminded me of Dragon Force. This is not a good thing for me. A few more pre ... (read more)

Report this review (#222708) | Posted by digdug | Tuesday, June 23, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Rock is without a doubt some one of works conceptual good elaborated of progressive metallic, from conception same which it marks the second part of the TYRANNY, that although for is considered one of best conceptual works of the progressive one in the general much has great dyes of being a fu ... (read more)

Report this review (#126546) | Posted by Shelket | Friday, June 22, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars well,waiting so long for this album,and when i had this album on my hands was a magic moment because the curse that shadow gallery have is the perfect way to make wait all the fans of this band...they make a great album,to the begining to the end is very amazing..with the history they finally ... (read more)

Report this review (#124927) | Posted by JgX 5 | Wednesday, June 6, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is THE definitive Shadow Gallery album. I was pleasantly surprised with this CD. I was a little disappointed in "The Legacy" to be honest with you. This CD encapsulates the Shadow Gallery sound and has quickly become one of my favorites of all time. These guys know how to mix in heavy stuff ... (read more)

Report this review (#114447) | Posted by Daydreamyng | Wednesday, March 7, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Simply exciting. Extremely complicated and still melodic, sweet and hard at the same time. Because I prefer some hard sounding tunes, the best in my opinion are Manhunt, Birth of a Daughter, Death of a Mother, The Archer of Ben Salem and especially Room V. Rain is best balanced album closer, r ... (read more)

Report this review (#107348) | Posted by yktoo | Saturday, January 13, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Shadow Gallery is a rare case. Without vast differences in their music, I find each album unique in its way. You can feel the development of their music without finding any weaknesses on their first albums. An all this led to Room V. It is an extraordinary album, probably their best so far. As ... (read more)

Report this review (#107207) | Posted by Sophocles | Friday, January 12, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Room V is yet another succesful album produced by Shadow Gallery. They truely know how to make great music. It's a great album with plenty of mixture emotions that I love to hear in these albums. I was captured with the album from "Manhunt" all to "Rain". It's a great listen and deffiniatly w ... (read more)

Report this review (#89204) | Posted by Xeroth | Thursday, September 7, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Room V. What can I say that hasn't already been said many times? This long-awaited sequel to Tyranny is the ultimate achievement for Shadow Gallery, both lyrically and musically. Toping everything they did before, coming out with an unusually well-crafted production, blending awesome songs a ... (read more)

Report this review (#88085) | Posted by ValhallFR | Wednesday, August 23, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Some years ago i heard of a band named Shadow Gallery.I was impressed by their name so i asked a friend of mine who had their cd,"Carved in stone" to write me some songs to see what they were playing.THAT was it.I couldn't beleive my ears!!!The next day a bought the cd and since then i wait 3 yea ... (read more)

Report this review (#82659) | Posted by kentavros | Tuesday, July 4, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I have to say that this is the first time i listen to Shadow Gallery, and guess what? I totally fell in love with the music, from the beginning to the end. I can't even imagine that there's such a beautiful and brilliant music that keeps me listening day after day without boring or interruptin ... (read more)

Report this review (#60981) | Posted by huynhthean | Tuesday, December 20, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The Band is very tallented! But the lyrics and the way he sing's, sound's very old. Like 70's. Anyway's that's just my point of view. But that's their best so far. And we can't compare that to Dream theater. Dream Theater are Dream theater and shadow gallery are shadow gallery. They do what they ... (read more)

Report this review (#58191) | Posted by | Sunday, November 27, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars At last! Shadow Gallery have kept us waiting quite a long time for the their next release. Its been 4 years since the great Legacy. But most prog metal fan know that its always worth waiting for a new album, because these people always take their time to create quality music. The most interest ... (read more)

Report this review (#54133) | Posted by Ed_The_Dead | Monday, October 31, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Room V is the sequel to Tyranny and much better. The recording quality is much better than it is on Tyranny. The songs are more varied and the instruments are tighter. From the opening track to the end this album is explosive. Sure they are not that original they have there own story which IMO is ... (read more)

Report this review (#46250) | Posted by | Saturday, September 10, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Wow. can I leave it at that? I am so impressed with this album. This album should be in discussion more! I can hear the influences of so many great Prog Rock bands of the past...great music- tasty, tasty stuff. I enjoy the positive lyrcs- it's a nice change after listening to bands like Opeth ... (read more)

Report this review (#45087) | Posted by | Wednesday, August 31, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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