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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
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.

LiquidEternity | 3/5 |


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