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Shadow Gallery - Legacy CD (album) cover


Shadow Gallery


Progressive Metal

3.72 | 205 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Legacy" was the Shadow Gallery album in charge of following up the epic masterpiece "Tyranny", a job that ultimately was well accomplished. For this one, the SG guys partially recreated the combination of clear melodic metal rock, eerie moods and epic overtones that had made the best of "Carved in Stone": they even restored the tracklist's scheme, with a sequel to 'Cliffhager', a closing multi-part suite and a symphonic instrumental stating the real closure after endless sounds of door bells. Ring a bell? All in all, this is not a "Carved in Stone" clone (just like "Room V" was not a "Tyranny" clone either), but the testimony of a band that decided to recapitulate the most prominent stylistic tendencies that had been dominant in their previous three albums. Business as usual regarding compositions and performances: the former are creative, catchy, ambitious but not overwhelmingly so; the latter are proficiently accomplished, Baker's confident singing, the virtuosic guitar and keyboards, the consistent rhythm section, the polished arrangements. All of them work beautifully, with a crystal clear sound production: on the other hand, you can also notice that the level of pyrotechnics is a tad lessened, which probably means that the band were aiming for a more freshening approach to their inherently complex style. Like I said earlier, 'Cliffhanger 2' kicks off the album with a recognizable piano ornament, quickly leading to a dynamic rocking section that alternates "Metropolis"-type Dream Theater and standard bombastic symphonic rock. The sung section 'Hang On' has a sustained rhythm pattern that obviously emulates that of 'Cliffhanger'. The instrumental section 'The Crusher', in turn, is more related to the band's more metal-focused side, and its vibe is different to that of the instrumental section of 'Cliffhanger', it is more controlled in its dexterity. 'Destination Unknown' kicks off from a very different place: introspective, controlled, yet undeniably passionate about the subject of reflection. The beautiful sung lines and choral arrangements successfully complete the main motif's meditative vibe, properly sustained by the piano and the guitars - all these aforesaid elements really are so moving, even stating a consistent build-up for the track's second part. The second part is an amazing symphonic-meets prog metal tour-de-force that states a powerful mixture of Queensr˙che, Kansas, Iron Maiden and "The Wall"-era Pink Floyd, eventually leading to an hypnotic piano motif augmented by soft, soaring orchestrations. This has to be one of the best Wehrkamp/Cadden-James compositions ever, and also, one of Mike Baker's best vocal deliveries ever. 'Colors' is a semi-ballad that may sound as if SG were leaning a bit closer to mainstream retro-rock; well, this is more like an acoustic rock ballad lightened up by a nice touch of good old "Heartbreak Station"-era Cinderella. Since the SG guys are keen on flaunting their sophisticated aura even in their less complex songs, you can picture the majestic magic provided by the orchestrated background and the added slide guitar leads. 'Society of the Mind' also bears that sense of catchiness somehow related to mainstream, but this time it is an up- tempo rocker with pleasant glam rock stints: the frantic metallic interlude, including flashing guitar and synth solos (the one by Ingles, amazing as usual), spice things up all the way through up to the final chorus and closure. Now, what we get from the title track is a major prog metal ride, whose straightforward cadence and creative melodic development anticipate the sort of mood that will be later prevalent in most rockers from the "Room V" album. 'First Light' is the album's final epic, very much dissimilar to 'Ghostship' (I told you, this is not a "CiS" clone). 'First Light' bears a compellingly meditative ambience that pretty related to that of 'Destination Unknown'. A combination of eerie keyboard layers and a mysterious orchestral background makes a nice prelude to the effective main sung section, slow and majestic, at times dominated by acoustic guitars, at times driven by sustained electric guitar riffs. A second sung section is undertaken through an almost pastoral setting. Before the 12 minute mark, a dramatic orchestral build-up sets the stage for the emergence of the bombastic prog- metal section that changes the initial introspective stance for a more assertive one. All in all, the melodic candor is still very present and working greatly. Somewhere around minute 17, the band makes a curious approach to the Savatage standard for a little while before going to more symphonic realms. This section fluidly segues into a reprise of the first acoustic guitar-based motif for the last few minutes. This is a lovely suite, indeed, an extended showcase for SG's ability to use the energy of prog metal as an ingredient for their symphonic prog ideas. After some minutes of silence and some door bell ringing, a Wehrkamp-penned orchestral piece arises as a colorful coda. A nice ending for a special album that might as well grace any good prog collection - "Legacy" is, over and above, an album of rock music made with beauty and intelligence.

[Thank you for the music, Mike, which brought so much joy to us who forever love Shadow Gallery's music.]

Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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