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Shadow Gallery - Room V CD (album) cover


Shadow Gallery


Progressive Metal

4.13 | 416 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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.

sleeper | 3/5 |


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