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SHADOW GALLERY

Progressive Metal • United States


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Shadow Gallery biography
Shadow Gallery is a progressive metal band, which formed in Pennsylvania (USA) in the 1980's, originally under the name "Sorcerer". After changing their name to Shadow Gallery, the band recorded an 8-track demo, which helped them sign to Magna Carta Records in 1991. The band released their first proper EP of tracks a year later, with copies being sold in Europe and Japan aswell.

In late 1993, the band recruited a new musician to their course - Keyboardist and guitarist Gary Wehrkamp, and in 1994, added another virtuoso to their palette, drummer Kevin Soffera.
In 1995, the band released their second proper studio recording: CARVED IN STONE.
Shortly after, Shadow Gallery released another full length recording, titled TYRANNY (1998). This is a concept album, concerning itself deeply with politics. This album also features a guest appearance from vocalist James LaBrie (DREAM THEATER).

To follow up their latest hit, the band released LEGACY in 2001. Many fans consider this to be a marked change, displaying a more progressive, technical and focussed Shadow Gallery. This was the band's last recording under Magna Carta Records. This album also features many tracks with a more commercial taste, and although released between to concept records, stands as a collection of songs.

In 2005, the band returned with ROOM V, another concept record made to pick up where Tyranny's narrative left off. Many consider this album to be the band's ultimate success, only challenged by their 2009 release, DIGITAL GHOSTS. ROOM V also featured more guest work, mainly in the form of Arjen Lucassen (AYREON) on vocals for sections, and also contributing a guitar solo.

The band followed up their dark concept record with 2009's DIGITAL GHOSTS, another smash hit amongst metal fans. Many consider this to be their best album, and this also features a new member, vocalist Brian Ashland. This album blends symphonic rock, metal and progressive technical metal seemlessly.

Shadow Gallery can easily be enjoyed by any (prog) metal fan, and is one of the best prog acts of the decade.


Current Lineup:

Gary Wehrkamp - Piano, guitars, keyboards, vocals
Brendt Allman - Guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals
Carl Cadden-James - Bass, vocals, flute, fretless bass
Chris Ingles - Piano, keyboards
Joe Nevolo - Drums
Brian Ashland - Vocals

Former members:
Mike Baker - Vocals
Kevin Soffera - Drums


DISCOGRAP...
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CARVED IN STONECARVED IN STONE
MAGNA CARTA RECORDS 2014
Audio CD$11.14
$4.00 (used)
TYRANNYTYRANNY
MAGNA CARTA RECORDS 2014
Audio CD$8.97
$3.96 (used)
Shadow Gallery: Double FeatureShadow Gallery: Double Feature
MAGNA CARTA RECORDS 2015
Audio CD$8.97
$12.98 (used)
Room VRoom V
Import
Imports 2010
Audio CD$4.76
$9.01 (used)
LegacyLegacy
MAGNA CARTA RECORDS 2014
Audio CD$9.53
$3.80 (used)
Digital GhostsDigital Ghosts
Inside Out U.S. 2009
Audio CD$21.99 (used)
Prime CutsPrime Cuts
Import · Limited Edition
MAGNA CARTA RECORDS 2014
Audio CD$2.80
$3.96 (used)
Shadow GalleryShadow Gallery
Import · Remastered
King Japan 2011
Audio CD$51.00
$19.77 (used)
Shadow GalleryShadow Gallery
Import
2003
Audio CD$190.28
$10.87 (used)
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SHADOW GALLERY discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SHADOW GALLERY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.41 | 157 ratings
Shadow Gallery
1992
3.81 | 201 ratings
Carved In Stone
1995
4.06 | 276 ratings
Tyranny
1998
3.74 | 184 ratings
Legacy
2001
4.13 | 396 ratings
Room V
2005
3.90 | 228 ratings
Digital Ghosts
2009

SHADOW GALLERY Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SHADOW GALLERY Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SHADOW GALLERY Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.84 | 17 ratings
Prime Cuts
2007

SHADOW GALLERY Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

SHADOW GALLERY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Shadow Gallery by SHADOW GALLERY album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.41 | 157 ratings

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Shadow Gallery
Shadow Gallery Progressive Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars Although they merely started out as a cover band called Sorcerer in the 80s covering Yngwie Malmsteen and Rush songs, this Allentown, PA band found a little lovin' for their favorite graphic novel "V For Vendetta" and changed their name to SHADOW GALLERY. While the early days of progressive rock was a European phenomenon, progressive metal was wholeheartedly an American sensation and SHADOW GALLERY was one of the earliest bands to open those doors in the early 90s along with contemporaries like Dream Theater and Symphony X following in the footsteps of the proto-progressive metal bands of the 80s such as Queensryche and Crimson Glory. It didn't take long after writing their own tracks that they would be one of the earliest acts to sign on to the Magna Carta Records which displayed virtuoso and neoclassical oriented metal bands although SHADOW GALLERY never achieved the success that many of their contemporaries would.

At this stage on their eponymous debut SHADOW GALLERY was more of a mix of symphonic progressive rock that happened to include some 80s power metal that sometimes fused together but most often did not. Although the metal would become the dominating force on subsequent albums, on this debut there are large tracts of playing time that sound much more like symphonic prog than metal. In fact the leading track "The Dance Of Fools" sounds more like a neo-prog track that wouldn't sound out of place on an early Arena or IQ album. There also segments of interactive flute action which like Psychotic Waltz of the same era was quite rare in the metal universe. Add to that the often sugary sweet melodic developments and the Queen inspired harmonic singalong vocal style and it's easy to forget that this is indeed a metal band however when the metal aspects are taken off their leashes then there is no mistaken that this indeed is an 80s neoclassicallly inspired speed metal band that has more than mastered all the chops to earn that title. Even within the very first neo-proggy track Brendt Allman stuns us with his lightning blitzkrieg of neoclassical guitar runs as the track fades out.

"Darktown" takes over and introduces the more familiar sound of the majority of the album. That being melodic catchy tunes that alternate between sweet ballad parts then followed by more rarer hard rockin' segments that display quickened keyboard runs, high register vocals and lead guitar workouts. The tracks are also of considerable length where after the verses and choruses play out there are lengthy instrumental wankery sessions that are of the same type of extended play as heard on Dream Theater and Symphony X albums of the same era. The band play together quite well and the trading off of the different ideas flow together very well as the band never once misses a beat in keeping the tracks interesting. While the album is a great mix of prog rock and 80s metal, the true progressive behemoth comes toward the end as "The Queen Of The City Of Ice" starts off with light fluffy guitar arpeggios accompanied by sweet synths and a lulling flute with narrative harmonic vocals telling the tale of a fantasy land that soars on for 17 minutes and 11 seconds. Surprisingly the clean guitar arpeggios and symphonic accoutrements carry on close to the nine minute mark before they erupt into the more energetic side of the track and even thereafter never really erupts into really heavy territory save the guitar shredding under the symphonic scaffolding. There is also a lengthy spoken narration in the middle.

While SHADOW GALLERY certainly had their musician hats on and had more than developed their techniques to stun the listener, at this point there are a few things i find a little unsettling about this debut album. First of all, the opening track "The Dance Of Fools" sounds totally out of sync with the rest of the album. Although it's a decent track, its style makes a very bad first impression and as mentioned already, sounds more like it would be fitting on a neo-prog album with Allman doing a guest shredover. Secondly, "Mystified" sounds too much like "The Mission" on Queensryche's "Operation: Mindcrime." While a decent track it fails to sound original in any way and Mike Baker even sounds like a convincing Geoff Tate clone. The production is also lackluster as Magna Carta was founded by Mike Varney who was notorious on his Shrapnel Records label for hosting some of the best guitarists of the days but equally making them suffer some of the worst production heard in the music industry and SHADOW GALLERY likewise is diminished by the same tinny and muffled dynamics that could have added a lot to the final product. Given all these quirks that this debut dishes out, i'm still quite fond of it although they would improve greatly in every way on their second release "Carved In Stone." With better album arrangement, a nip and tuck in the editing department and a stellar production job, this could have been an outstanding album back in the day but for what it is, i still find the music satisfactory enough to bring me back for repeated listening pleasure.

3.5 rounded down

 Tyranny by SHADOW GALLERY album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.06 | 276 ratings

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Tyranny
Shadow Gallery Progressive Metal

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This is my first taste of Shadow Gallery's highly rated discography. Tyranny fits right in alongside the prog- metal stylings of the late '90's era; however, it does not strike me being anywhere near as close to the masterpiece it's currently scored at. It's not bad, in fact, the album's vibe, instrumental performances, and varied songs are artistically executed. The songwriting is highly competent and involved, but the result doesn't strike me as strongly as many other prog-metal groups out there. It's good, but not great or even that memorable.

Overall the band plays well. They're very tight and the production is crisp. Soloing is fair, regrettably not standing out among the various interweaving riffing and synthesizer textures. For a band that plays as fast and with as much complexity as Shadow Gallery, there aren't moments that make your hair stand up with excitement. This is probably my biggest issue with the album; the songs aren't memorable, and the instrumentalists rarely grab my attention, even though I can tell they're talented. Maybe this is a failing of the songwriting? Compare this to Metropolis II: Scenes From a Memory, which was released only a year later, and Tyranny's complexity and moments of frenzied riffing seem even more underwhelming. Again, they aren't bad, just sort of bland.

Let's talk for a minute about vocals. Baker gets credited as lead vocalist, and he's passable at best. His high-pitched vocals are typical of the era, in fact, they even have a strong '80's feel. His range is poor, phrasing tedious, but inflection strong and there's actually some emotion behind his singing. I don't care for his voice, but that's totally subjective; he's not for me. What's definitely not for me is this album's awful lyrics. Yes, I said awful. They're overly direct, unevocative, without rhyme, devoid of memorable choruses, trite, and pretentious. And there's so, so many of them. There's simply way too much singing on this album, and because all of the lead duties are handled by Baker... that's a problem. Some reviewers have commented about how Tyranny is thematically similar to Queensryche's Operation Mindcrime, which is totally understandable. The themes about technology and the internet feel very anachronistic and campy at this point, which is fine; what do not, are the songs about the second coming of Christ. Those lyrics just fall flat, but then again I'm bias in that regard. Again, not enough here to make me want to listen again.

One thing that Tyranny does have going for it is its variety. The first half is mostly fast-paced rocking that may appeal to more straight-ahead metal fans. Throughout we're given transitional songs that play like lush power ballads, pulling at the narrative's emotional heartstrings. The second half experiments more, with songs like "New World Order" and the exciting instrumental "Chased" standing out as highlights. In the end though I suffered from fatigue after the album's bloated 73 minute running time.

I didn't hate Tyranny, not by a long shot, I just didn't care about what it was accomplishing. To me, that says that it's one for prog-metal diehards or fans of the group (probably one and the same).

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 1 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

 Legacy by SHADOW GALLERY album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.74 | 184 ratings

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Legacy
Shadow Gallery Progressive Metal

Review by javajeff

4 stars This is an excellent album despite the last 10 minutes of air and junk. Bands have a right to be creative, but it just detracts from an amazing album. Fortunately, it is at the end so you can move on easily. I really think this release is very close to masterpiece status, and should be rated more like 4.5/5. Any fan of Shadow Gallery or Progressive Metal should pick it up. The title track Legacy is excellent along with the two stellar tracks that anchor the album: Cliffhanger 2 and First Light. There are no bad tracks. I am enjoying it along with the two successors and expect to get the early releases next. This album is solid and should not be missed.
 Shadow Gallery by SHADOW GALLERY album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.41 | 157 ratings

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Shadow Gallery
Shadow Gallery Progressive Metal

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars First release selftitled from 1992 of already legendary prog metal band Shadow Gallery is a very promising debut in prog metal realm. I really like a lot this one, being very close in consistency of what they will offer later on. Even the sound is not exactly a very solid one, the compositions really smoke from start to finish. Pieces like The dance of fools, Darktown and the lenghty The queen of the city of ice are strong prog metal pieces with nice changes in tempo and some killer keyboards. The keyboards arrangements here are really great, and the vocal parts and guitar aswell. Bombastic symphonic passages are very well melted with prog metal elements all in good measure and with fine musicinship. This is more then ok material, oftently unnoticed in prog metal circles, all the eyes were on Dream Theater second album Images and words back then who re invent the prog metal scene with that album and Shadow Gallery debut released same year were kinda left in the shadow. Definetly one of the best debut albums in prog metal scene for sure. From me easy 4 stars, in same league with their later releases. Carved in stone btw remaining to me at least, their most acomplished work and one of top 5 prog metal albums ever .

 Tyranny by SHADOW GALLERY album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.06 | 276 ratings

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Tyranny
Shadow Gallery Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Shadow Gallery's first concept album presents a near future techno-thriller plot and a musical style that is best described as a mingling of the complexity and virtuosity of Dream Theater with the ballsy grit of classic Queensryche. It's an entertaining listen which will please most fans of those giants of prog metal but doesn't really expand the bounds of the genre much; on top of that, it begins to lose steam towards the end, with songs such as Spoken Words and New World Order getting downright repetitive and in dire need of a bit of editing. Still, if you want a cheesy conspiracy thriller concept album I'm sure there are worse choices.
 Prime Cuts by SHADOW GALLERY album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2007
1.84 | 17 ratings

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Prime Cuts
Shadow Gallery Progressive Metal

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Excellent, but almost completely unnecessary

Two stars is the default rating for compilations that primarily contain only previously released material. The present compilation features only one previously unreleased track and this track is the sole reason why anyone should bother with this release at all. This previously unavailable track is a demo from the recording sessions of my favourite Shadow Gallery album, Carved In Stone. The rest of the tracks here were taken from Shadow Gallery's studio albums on the Magna Carta label. That is, their first four albums. All of these albums are excellent and the music found on Prime Cuts is thus of the very highest quality. But even if they work surprisingly well outside of their original settings, these songs are better heard on the original studio albums.

The self-titled debut is represented with two tracks: The Final Hour and Say Goodbye To The Morning. Carved In Stone, too, is represented with two tracks: Deeper Than Life and Don't Ever Cry, Just Remember. Four tracks from Tyranny are featured, one of which is mislabeled Mystery. In fact, it is not Mystery but Out Of Nowhere that opens this compilation. The other three tracks from Tyranny are Ghost Of A Chance, Hope For Us? and New World Order. Finally, Legacy is represented with three tracks, two of which are edited versions (The Crusher and Colors) of the original album tracks. The third inclusion from Legacy is the title track. The previously unreleased demo is called Rule The World and is good but not up to par with the cuts that actually made it onto the Carved In Stone album.

In my opinion, the albums from which these tracks were taken are Shadow Gallery's best albums and the selections are indeed excellent music. But I strongly recommend to get the original studio albums instead on this compilation. Only if you are a true fan would you need to get this in order to hear Rule The World.

 Shadow Gallery by SHADOW GALLERY album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.41 | 157 ratings

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Shadow Gallery
Shadow Gallery Progressive Metal

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Mystified

I have now reviewed all of Shadow Gallery's studio albums and for some reason I left this self-titled debut album for last. While there seems to be a consensus on that this album displays a somewhat less mature Shadow Gallery compared to subsequent albums (and I agree with this as well), I must add that this is a very promising debut indeed. On the first few listens it was inevitable to compare this album with the fantastic ones that came after it and as such this debut initially suffers somewhat. However, on further listens this albums holds up extremely well in its own right and constitutes another great album by this wonderful band. Indeed, I enjoy this more than the most recent couple of albums by the band.

Most of the elements that made later albums so great are already here including the influences from classic Symphonic Prog (Kansas comes to mind), Classic Rock (Queen-like harmony vocals) and Neo-Classical Metal (Yngwie Malmsteen), strong vocals (often reminding of Geoff Tate of Queensryche) and instrumental prowess. They would perfect this style on Carved In Stone, but already here it is very successful. If I must complain about something it would be about the quality of the recording which could be better. But the quality of the material and the performance of the band more than makes up for it.

Highly recommended in addition to subsequent albums. A great start for a great band!

 Digital Ghosts by SHADOW GALLERY album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.90 | 228 ratings

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Digital Ghosts
Shadow Gallery Progressive Metal

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars With honor

After the previous Room V album, Mike Baker sadly passed away and left Shadow Gallery without a lead vocalist. They bravely soldiered on however and recorded this album, their last to date. The album opens with the superb, 10 minute With Honor featuring delightful Yes-like harmony vocals and Steve Howe-like guitar. Venom is a more straightforward Metal tune and not particularly interesting. Pain shifts back and forth between piano-based balladry and a simple heavy riff. The vocal performance on this song is sublime (reminding of Mike Baker's best moments), but the simplicity of the main riff subtracts from the song's overall value. It comes across as something like an average latter-day Deep Purple track! Gold Dust has some very nice keyboard parts but again the song as a whole is merely good and not too special. Strong continues in a similar fashion with a rather conventional riff. Don't get me wrong, all of these songs are indeed enjoyable - but it almost constantly feels as if you've heard it all before.

Not until the title track are we again approaching the quality of the very good opening track. These tracks are longer and more progressive than the tracks in the middle. There is in these longer tracks a Symphonic Prog influence as well as a certain jazziness. Haunted is a nice piano based semi-ballad with strong vocals, but again not too special or original.

This album is as good as Room V, but far behind earlier greats like Carved In Stone, Tyranny and Legacy.

 Room V by SHADOW GALLERY album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.13 | 396 ratings

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Room V
Shadow Gallery Progressive Metal

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 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.

 Legacy by SHADOW GALLERY album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.74 | 184 ratings

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Legacy
Shadow Gallery Progressive Metal

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Don't cry, just remember

This album harks back (in some ways) to the band's second album Carved In Stone from six years earlier and even though it does not come close to being as great as the masterpiece that was Carved In Stone, Legacy is indeed a very worthy companion. In between these two albums there was Tyranny, which is by many considered to be the band's pinnacle and from the perspective of Tyranny, the present album is often seen as something of a step backwards for Shadow Gallery. This attitude is perhaps understandable to some degree, but for me Legacy is a very good album in its own right and even rivals Tyranny. Taking a step backward is not necessarily a bad thing, especially not if you have such a sublime album as Carved In Stone in your discography.

This album opens with Cliffhanger part 2 which includes some "quotes" from the original Cliffhanger that opened the Carved In Stone album. It is hard to match the original, but this second part is strong. Also like Carved In Stone, Legacy ends with an extended piece. In this case the 20 + minute First Light with some Pink Floyd-ish parts. The four tracks in between are considered weaker by some people, but for me these are some great Kansas-like Symphonic Prog songs with strong melodies and harmony vocals. The title track is ironically the least good track for me on this album.

Perhaps the reputation of this album suffers from the fact that it is less Metal and more Prog? Maybe Metal fans are disappointed in what they hear and Symphonic Prog fans never get to hear it because they are scared off by the 'Metal'-label?

Highly recommended in addition to Carved In Stone and Tyranny

Thanks to ProgLucky & Joel for the artist addition. and to E&O Team for the last updates

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