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SHADOW GALLERY

Progressive Metal • United States


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Shadow Gallery picture
Shadow Gallery biography
Founded in Lehigh Valley, USA in 1985 (originally as "Sorcerer") - Still active as of 2018

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.

(Biography by Joel G, Australia)

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SHADOW GALLERY discography


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

3.41 | 192 ratings
Shadow Gallery
1992
3.82 | 243 ratings
Carved In Stone
1995
4.05 | 335 ratings
Tyranny
1998
3.71 | 217 ratings
Legacy
2001
4.10 | 455 ratings
Room V
2005
3.84 | 267 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)

1.95 | 21 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
 Tyranny by SHADOW GALLERY album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.05 | 335 ratings

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Tyranny
Shadow Gallery Progressive Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Tyranny" is the third full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Shadow Gallery. The album was released through Magna Carta Records in September 1998. It┤s the successor to "Carved In Stone" from 1995 and features one lineup change since the precessor as drummer Kevin Soffera has been replaced by Joe Nevolo.

"Tyranny" is a concept album release in two acts, which are subdivided into shorter tracks. Each act features 7 sub tracks. The plot of the concept is a conspiracy story involving a love story and covered up government weapons sales. Several times throughout the album I┤m reminded of Queensr che┤s "Operation: Mindcrime" (May 1988) album. Not only the conspiracy concept story, but many of the musical elements also point towards mid- to late 80s Queensr che. Hell...although not completely alike, lead vocalist Mike Baker even has a voice and a singing style which sometimes almost mimick Geoff Tate. Dream Theater is an influence too, but that influence is mostly heard when Shadow Gallery let go and play some technical instrumental parts, which they actually don┤t do very often. They predominantly have a more vers/chorus oriented songwriting approach. Savatage is the last influence I┤ll mention, and that┤s because Shadow Gallery often take their music in a Broadway/theatrial direction, and sometimes "Tyranny" can almost be labelled a rock/metal opera.

With the influences out of the way, which should give you a good idea of what Shadow Gallery sound like on "Tyranny", let┤s talk about the quality of the material featured on the fourteen tracks, 73:53 minutes long album. Shadow Gallery may wear their influences on their sleeves, but they are a brilliant band. You┤ll hear many high level musical performances on this album. Blistering lead guitar work, the strong and well performed vocals by Baker, a tight playing rhythm section, and keyboards/piano which suit the music. Personally I would have chosen some more tasteful and less plastique sounding keyboards, but that comes down to personal taste.

The songwriting is strong and memorable and if you can look past (or maybe even enjoy) the saccarine ballad "Broken" and the awful honey dripping male/female duo ballad "Spoken Words", "Tyranny" is quite the brilliant release. They┤ve taken the great elements of "Carved In Stone" and have built on them, ultimately creating a more complete release. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives).

 Room V by SHADOW GALLERY album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.10 | 455 ratings

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Room V
Shadow Gallery Progressive Metal

Review by Idaho

4 stars Progressive metal that's not overly heavy, not super technical, with fantastic smooth vocals from Mike Baker (may he rest in peace) and meaningful lyrics. Some of the songs feature some nice female vocals, and Arjen Lucassen appears briefly for a guitar solo.

There aren't any major surprises here for Shadow Gallery fans. Lots of melody and a good amount of keyboard. It's certainly a better album than their self-titled release and it's better than Legacy--but it's not as good as Tyranny. It's perhaps a touch heavier than their earlier albums--and still lighter than 90% of progressive metal in general. And it's extremely long, especially for a single-CD album. There are rather frequent glimpses of prior albums here, a sequence of notes from earlier times. The best track is "Rain," in part due to some intense vocals.

The first four Shadow Gallery albums were some of the first progressive metal albums I owned. I took a long break from listening to new music about the time that Room V first came out--and it's been delightful to revisit them now on this new-for-me album. Essential for Shadow Gallery fans, highly recommended for progressive metal fans in general. 4.5 stars.

 Tyranny by SHADOW GALLERY album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.05 | 335 ratings

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Tyranny
Shadow Gallery Progressive Metal

Review by Absolute777

5 stars If you enjoy concept albums this is real special. Shadow Gallery has a knack for catchy hooks, offbeat choruses, and extremely melodic and original ideas that fill a space in Prog that you just don't hear that often. The piano and keyboards play an important role in the Transitions between songs and draw you in to the locations and ambiance surrounding the world you are entering.

You are investigating, meet an Ally, get chased, attacked, spied on and by the time you travel through the protagonists journey and arrive at relief you hear this Amazing "Ghost of a Chance" that is just what the doctor ordered. Great beats, catchy guitars and melodic leads and fantastic powerful harmonies.

Now the bad. The Mix is very inexpensive. Reminds me of some of the early Symphony X mixes. It's very flat, lacking width, and clarity. Unfortunately it it similar to a demo in that respect but the music is so good you can deal with it. I just wish someone could get a hold of the original tracks and give this the sound it deserves.

 Carved In Stone by SHADOW GALLERY album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.82 | 243 ratings

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Carved In Stone
Shadow Gallery Progressive Metal

Review by alainPP

5 stars An album that finally hit the music headlines not long ago!

1. CliffHanger classy and spacious intro with piano, acoustic guitar, the air rising, the plane passing and...Mike tumbling in with his recognizable voice, the enthusiasm is in order, the prog metal is there; Brent's tortured guitar with voice-over behind, the riff and rhythm calm, tenacious; the break brings us to Chris and Gary for a surge of notes; the notes flow, squirt, clash frantically, no rest; we head to the Orient with this bewitching solo; ending a little long but you have to recover from such a slap 2. Interlude #1 on the return and the piano finale for digestion before 3. Crystalline Dream which sets the air, oh no, it's bursting with a cheerful title where the most is found in the orchestral evolution; guitar solo then keyboards which turn and set fire and the riff is still there; 4. Interlude #2 as end of title or interlude to keep you glued I think 5. Don't Ever Cry, Just Remember classic piano and synth, ballad I guess, Mike uses his voice in a grand way, some backing vocals; the rhythmic bordering on symphonic rather than melodic, on SHADOW GALLERY, inimitable, airy, grandiloquent; yes a ballad with a struck drum, it's difficult to describe just grandiose 6. Interlude #3 on a SUPERTRAMP tune, yes the piano is still there, creamy, intimate, evoking the first real ending. 7. Warcry with a minute of piano before having the voice, 2 to have the chorus in a heavy tone, ah classic orchestration, I think about ELO for a while; the hard riff reminds us that their territory is above all metal with a fluid and rhythmic guitar solo; so beautiful that I struggle to find words to explain the joy of listening! 8. Celtic Princess acoustic duo piano and guitar more Andalusian than Celtic but hey an interlude howien hey 9. Deeper Than Life frank attack, melodic metal here they let go; oh, there's a great riff... again, the voice, the voices join in chorus; it's energetic; a concept album as imagined which leaves no time for rest 10. Interlude #4 as fast as a breath 11. Alaska for a more airy, crystalline ballad, more guitar arpeggio and flute; a title which denotes the power of others with a rustic air, on a ballad by Hodgson; it's sweet and it brings 12. Interlude #5 abysmal, take a whiff before diving into

- Ghostship and its 21 finally 28 minutes with the hidden room 13.The Gathering The Night Before for the second layer of this major album; magnificent for the rhythm, for the intonation, for the creative madness, for the choirs, for this enthusiasm that they secrete and especially for the solos used as catalysts; Travel as inter-galactic gear change and one of those famous bewitching soli which swells and seems to never end, a machine gun with interchangeable barrel; good spatial sound, we are well beyond that; Dead Calm shows us what it's like to be in space-time; noises, sounds from elsewhere, hold a guitar arpeggio, it's not that different; we hear Fripp's repetitive guitar; Approaching Storm shows us the approaching stellar storm, phew a bit of explanation with Mike who explains everything (in English in the text, finally in American!); the synth suddenly, or a bass like that of E5-150; Storm yes that's it we're in, the neo keyboard between a MARILLION and a HELLOWEEN, yes it goes far but it now merges with Chris and Gary who launch into an intergalactic keyboard battle, it doesn't stop, it lasts, it lasts increases, a torrent of musical lava I tell you! Well Brent gets into it, it's more heavy than prog but hey we're not complaining; the end of the tunnel arrives and Enchantment for the piano arpeggio... no way, we are in a sonata, the time has darkened, the prog and classical metal fusion has just taken place in front of you! Legend for the finale and try to bring you back to earth with the grandiose chorus exercise to guide you a little more; the outro which leads right back to the end, classic at the time.... and that's the end! - 20. Ending (TG94 or Thanks Giving 1994) - Hidden track ...yes a minute of blank and there is a knock on the door, on the window, well finally a door opens, what a memory of this knock... coming out of my speakers; the mysterious air, cinematic before its time, yes now we would say that, this crystalline, airy, ethereal sound, coming from Outro or AldÚbaran, this moment to settle down, to breathe, to realize what 70 minutes can lead to our brain; a rural air, Olympian yes with these solemn trumpets, a little OLDFIELD in the background, even if it's fleeting, just dreamlike pleasure. An OMNI!

 Legacy by SHADOW GALLERY album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.71 | 217 ratings

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Legacy
Shadow Gallery Progressive Metal

Review by lukretio

3 stars Crushed between two giants like Tyranny and Room V, Legacy is the oft-overlooked fourth album by US prog metallers Shadow Gallery. It is a shame, because it is a very solid release, containing a couple of killer tracks ("Cliffhanger 2", "Colors") and tons of very good progressive rock/metal music.

On Legacy, Shadow Gallery come across as a band in full control of their sound and who, having earned their stripes in the prog metal arena, are willing to stretch towards more audience-friendly and accessible solutions than what one can usually find on a progressive metal album. The six songs of Legacy may therefore not be the most structurally or technically complex prog metal tracks out there, but they should nevertheless be greatly enjoyable for anyone with an interest in progressive rock or metal. A remarkable aspect of the band's sound is in fact that it sits almost perfectly in the middle between the prog rock of the 1970s and the metal of the 1980s, with strong hints of bands like Pink Floyd, Genesis, US prog rockers Kansas, and Queensr che. This mixture reminds me of a considerably heavier and, at places, darker a version of another iconic US prog rock/metal band, Spock's Beard.

Whether you are on the heavier or softer side of prog, you will surely find a lot to like in this album. The playing is simply sublime, but not in a show-offy way, which is probably one of the most remarkable characteristics of the band. Shadow Gallery can play as no other (listen to the astonishing instrumental interlude in the middle of "Cliffhanger 2", which just leaves me amazed every time I play the album), but they keep their instrumental prowess strictly to the service of the songs ? a rare quality in progressive circles. The arrangements are layered and rich, but not overly complex, giving the music a classy, sophisticated feel as in the best prog rock tradition. There is a lot of colour in the music as well, with electric and acoustic guitars, flutes, violins, violas and a great deal of piano and keyboard interjections sprinkled all over the album. Structurally, with the exception of the mammothian "First Light" - a multi-part beast that clocks at 34+ minutes, the songs are not too intricate and are instead tightly focused around catchy, melodic choruses that are perfectly designed to grab the listener's attention from the very first listen. However, despite the strong focus on melody and accessibility, Legacy can also rock and features some great, powerful riffs that one can easily headbang to ("Cliffhanger 2", "Legacy", "First Light").

The whole album is very pleasant to listen to and never slips into boredom, also thanks to a wise alternation between softer, mellower songs (the ballad "Colors", the 70s-infused "Society of the Mind") and more robust and uptempo numbers like "Cliffhanger 2" and "Legacy". The quality of the tracks is generally high, but "Cliffhanger 2" and "Colors" are perhaps the most inspired episodes of the album, containing respectively some of the best playing and best vocal melodies of the record. On the other hand, the 34-minute long "First Light" is probably the weakest track. This is the obligatory "prog epic", which any ambitious progressive rock/metal band attempts to write (typically once per album) in their career. However, relative to the best "prog epics" out there, "First Light" lacks flow and consistency. Some parts are great, some are average and some are even mediocre. Most importantly, the various sections do not really work well together and the overall effect is that of a fragmented, slightly unwieldy long track that just does not compare with the quality of the rest of the material on the album. To make things worse, there are several nonsensical minutes of silence and background noise thrown in towards the end of the song before the track picks up again and concludes. It is really difficult to understand how anyone could have thought that splitting the song this way could possibly be a good idea.

Featuring a generally strong production and mix by Neil Kernon, "Legacy" is a very good album by a band that if often overlooked in the progressive metal arena. It may not be Shadow Gallery's best release, as one gets the sense that the band could do so much more with their technical and arrangement skills (for instance: write a truly memorable prog epic), but it is certainly a very accessible and enjoyable record. This was the first album I ever heard by Shadow Gallery and it really got me excited about this band, so if you are new to Shadow Gallery this may actually be a suitable point of entry.

 Shadow Gallery by SHADOW GALLERY album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.41 | 192 ratings

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Shadow Gallery
Shadow Gallery Progressive Metal

Review by Menswear
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Magna Carta Madness!

Man, I just love this art cover. Is it Icarus? A young Da Vinci? Anyhoo, it sparked my interest as a teenager and I discovered a band with a lot to offer and even more: it's not a Dream Theater clone! I'm frankly happy to hear something more original than another (*big sigh*) attempt at Iron Maiden.

Yep, that album had that Magna Carta distinct intention of being a new generation, a musical renouveau. Yes, prog-metallic attempts were already on the way (Queensr├┐che and Fates Warning were doing it very well) but Shadow Gallery were more on the romantic side, with softer, mellower moments and elaborated vocals. I really dig the keyboard's work with lots of arppe arpeggios! But is it even metal? If so, it's a colorful but toothless form (and maybe an influence to a later Nightwish?). Shadow Gallery had no claws, no fangs (rubber ones maybe) but wore an ox blood velvet cloak with breeches and a tabbard.

Although they had changes in musical style through the years, all in all this first brew is a pleasant one, energetic at times and dre dreamy at another; not too far of a younger version of Arena. Hurray! Huzzah! and such cheers, it's not a Dream Theater or Iron Maiden clone.

I can say I'm pleasantly surprised and yet, it's another winner by the Magna Carta Label.

 Room V by SHADOW GALLERY album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.10 | 455 ratings

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Room V
Shadow Gallery Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

4 stars We all love concept albums, right? If there was one clich' that firmly embodies the essence of progressive music it's concept albums. Records which use narratives to link all the songs together, they often encapsulate the peak of an artist's creativity and on most occasions, the peak of their commercial and critical success. However, if rock operas can be seen as "prog 101", then we all know what to expect somewhere down the line... the sequel!

And that brings us to 'Room V' (that's "Room Five"), Shadow Gallery's sequel to the excellent 'Tyranny' album. I'm not going to deny, the story is a bit challenging to follow, and certainly not something I can summarize in a way that makes sense. It involves government conspiracies, biological weapons, and umm... lots of amazing music!

Anyone familiar with Shadow Gallery will know what to expect from this band, and for those of you who aren't... well, they're a progressive metal band... come on! Full of incredibly mind-blowing musicianship, heartfelt and sincere vocals, and plenty of catchy chorus's that'll have you humming along to every word, there's plenty of twists and turns in the plot that keep the music engaging throughout. There's also an abundance of interludes and rather unnecessary musical passages that make the album feel slightly cluttered at times, and extends the duration to a staggering 75 minutes.

However, the band compensate for the duration of the album with arguably some of their strongest work, with highlights including 'The Archer of Ben Salem', 'Vow', 'The Andromeda Strain', 'Comfort Me' and the title track, 'Room V'. Each one makes all the segues and interludes tolerable.

Proving why Shadow Gallery are one of the most underrated bands the genre has to offer, 'Room V' is an incredible album, and a worthy sequel to 'Tyranny'.

 Legacy by SHADOW GALLERY album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.71 | 217 ratings

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Legacy
Shadow Gallery Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

4 stars Having really hit their stride with the 'Tyranny' album, Shadow Gallery are back with 'Legacy', an album that is similar stylistically, though does away with the concept album format and features only six songs, and some rather ambitious ones at that.

Shadow Gallery's brand of progressive metal has always taken a more melodic approach than other bands of the genre, and while their guitar riffs can elicit plenty of headbanging, it's in the vocals and melodies that the groups strengths lie, with 'Legacy' being chock-full of catchy chorus's and interesting harmonies. Expertly produced to give the music the punch it needs, yet straying away from being too heavy or brutal. The Pennsylvania-based band have the right blend to appeal to fans of metal and softer rock alike.

The true centerpiece of the album is 'First Light', a 34-minute epic that serves as a smorgasbord of every possible element that gives Shadow Gallery their defining sound. The track can lull from time to time, but the highlights more than compensate for that. The middle section of the song features some of the bands finest musical virtuosity and vocal harmonies, making it a challenging yet rewarding listen.

Songs like 'Colors', 'Society of the Mind' and the title track 'Legacy' are all shorter songs that can be considered some of the bands best work. As per usual, the musicianship is incredible, finding a perfect balance between heavy and melodic, and Mike Baker's beautiful vocals are an absolute joy to listen to.

The duration of the songs can make for some demanding listens, which will ensure that while 'Legacy' contains some of Shadow Gallery's best compositions, it's probably not their best album overall. But hey, it's still a damn good one, and that's what matters!

 Tyranny by SHADOW GALLERY album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.05 | 335 ratings

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Tyranny
Shadow Gallery Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

4 stars Concept albums.

The very words can send shivers down your spine. The most hardened of prog fanatics will shudder at the thought of another rock opera and the potential pretentious self-indulgence that awaits them.

Fear not, however, for this is Shadow Gallery, one of the finest progressive metal bands out there, and you can rest assured that this will be an engaging, story-driven affair full of excellent performances by all involved. It might seem a bit cheesy at times, but then, what concept album doesn't?

At 73 minutes in length, 'Tyranny' can feel a little long-winded at times, but the music is so damn good that sometimes it's worth the sacrifice. Telling the story of a man who discovers a plot involving his government selling weapons to the middle east, it's an interesting narrative that doesn't get too boring despite the albums duration. The playing is superb and incredibly tight, and Mike Baker's vocals are full of emotion and sincerity, easily one of the most versatile and talented singers I've ever heard.

There's one or two brief instances where the album does tend to lull momentarily, but otherwise this is a solid release with some exceptional tracks. 'War for Sale', 'Roads of Thunder', 'Hope for Us?' and 'Spoken Words' are all amazingly well-written pieces, and then there's 'Mystery', which, in my opinion, isn't just one of Shadow Gallery's best songs, but one of the genres, too.

Well-received by fans and critics alike, Shadow Gallery's 'Tyranny' is a true gem that belongs in the collection of every prog metal fan.

 Carved In Stone by SHADOW GALLERY album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.82 | 243 ratings

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Carved In Stone
Shadow Gallery Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

3 stars 'Carved in Stone' is Shadow Gallery's second album, in which the performances as a whole seem a lot tighter and polished, but the quality of the compositions don't quite surpass that of their debut. However, fans will instantly notice the improvement in production, which sounds a lot richer and "cleaner", giving the music the punch it needs, and which would go on to become the bands somewhat "signature" sound.

However, despite the improvements in production, the album is still fairly average at best. While it may contain one of Shadow Gallery's best songs ('Crystalline Dreams' is just so damn catchy!), the rest of the music can seem fairly lackluster at times. The biggest letdown has to be 'Ghost Ship', which, similar to the group's debut, is the "epic" of the album (clocking in at a total of just over 20 minutes). Broken into seven smaller parts, most of the highlights last no longer than a minute or two before going into the next section, making the whole piece feel mostly disjointed.

As for the other tracks, we have 'Cliffhanger', 'Don't Ever Cry, Just Remember', 'Warcry' and the previously mentioned 'Crystalline Dream', as well as a couple of highlights from the 'Ghost Ship' piece. These are all good songs that definitely make this album worth getting, but honestly, most of them just pale in comparison to some of the bands later material.

As per usual with Shadow Gallery, the musicianship is spectacular and Mike Baker's vocals are truly a thing of beauty. Overall though, it's just a "good" album. Nothing to write home about, but a worthy addition to the collection if it can purchased cheap enough.

Thanks to ProgLucky & Joel for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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