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The Shadow Theory - Behind The Black Veil CD (album) cover


The Shadow Theory


Progressive Metal

3.60 | 53 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars A Symphony of Shadows

When talking about progressive metal supergroups, it's hard to imagine a better lineup than that of The Shadow Theory. Consisting of the legendary vocalist Devon Graves (Psychotic Waltz, Deadsoul Tribe), Arne Schuppner (Complex 7) on guitar, Kristoffer Gildenl÷w (ex-Pain of Salvation) on bass, Demi Scott on keyboards, and Johanne James (Threshold) on drums, it's obvious that there's no shortage of talent here. For the most part, everything about Behind the Black Veil lives up to the expectations I would set for this cast of musicians. This concept album is filled with intriguing compositions, plenty of variation, and a distinct sound to top it all off. If you're a fan of Psychotic Waltz, I would definitely give Behind the Black Veil a shot. More often than not, supergroups in this genre tend to be more focused on showcasing their technical capabilities than creating high-quality compositions, but that is fortunately not the case with The Shadow Theory. This is a dark, heavy, and melodic prog metal album that should satisfy most fans of the genre. There's a surprising level of originality here that gives The Shadow Theory an ambitious sound - something sparsely found among prog metal supergroups. All in all, Behind the Veil is an impressive and promising debut from The Shadow Theory that's sure to make waves throughout prog metal fans in 2010 and beyond.

The music here, although not revolutionary, is still much more original than your average run-of-the-mill vanilla prog metal band. Aside from the obvious Psychotic Waltz influence from Devon's distinct vocals, a lot of the album sounds like a more progressive and symphonic King Diamond. This dark metal concept piece just reeks of influences from The King, which is always a good thing. There's also a bit of a Pain of Salvation tinge during the more melodic sections with multiple vocal harmonies. A song like "Sleepwalking" sounds like something that could have come off an early Pain of Salvation album (which isn't surprising, considering that Kristoffer Gildenl÷w is here). One thing that I found interesting when listening to Behind the Black Veil are the Jethro Tull influences - something that is very rare among progressive metal bands. "Selebrate" sounds very Tull-esque, not to mention the bonus cover of Jethro Tull's "Sweet Dream" (a bonus track on 1969's Stand Up). All in all, this is a pretty eclectic album, and is a nice break from the seas of clone bands that seem to populate progressive metal nowadays. Of course, another major asset to The Shadow Theory is the group of musicians here. The drumming from Johanne James is heavy, yet very intricate and precise - surely a highlight on the album. The vocals from Devon Graves (a.k.a. Buddy Lackey) are also great; he's just one of the best vocalists in the history of prog metal.

The production sounds really great - it has a clean sound and packs a powerful punch. The symphonic keyboards sound perfect in the mix, and are never too loud (which is a frequent complaint of mine in melodic prog metal productions). The dark atmospheres are conveyed well, so I have no knocks in terms of production.


Behind the Black Veil is a great debut from The Shadow Theory. It satisfied all of my expectations and provided a unique and highly-enjoyable prog metal experience. This isn't quite worthy of a masterpiece status, but it'd be hard for me to give anything less than a confident 4 stars. Hopefully this doesn't turn out to be a one-off project that will be forgotten about over time - I could see a second album from The Shadow Theory that even surpasses this one. Recommended to fans of melodic progressive metal!

J-Man | 4/5 |


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