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Shadow Gallery - Room V

I remember a few years back when I first discovered Shadow Gallery.  How I had missed them in the past is beyond me.  I listened to clip after clip on their website from all of their albums and I just couldn't stop.  I quickly gathered the cash to buy their Legacy album which had just been released.  It was a long time before that CD made it out of my CD player.  I had listened to it what seemed like hundreds of times.  I had all the lyrics memorized, and knew every nook and cranny of every song.  I also soon after bought Tyranny and the journey had begun.  Shadow Gallery was a band that seemed to stand head and shoulders above everyone else in their related genres of progressive metal and progressive rock.  They seemed to be able to take you to another world and make you forget everything around you as you listened to their breathtaking brand of music.  And as a side note....for all the people out there that I've heard complain that Shadow Gallery would be better if they would only get rid of Mike Baker...just shove it!  How in the world someone can say he can't sing is absolutely ridiculous.  He's one of the best singers in the genre and FAR better than a few other "more popular" acts that have singers that make me want to pull my hair out in disgust.

Well now, we FINALLY have the follow up to Legacy.  Technically, this is part 2 of the Tyranny concept as the storyline here picks up 8 hours after Tyranny left off.  The lyrics are understandable, but not included with this promo and if I didn't have 15 other albums waiting to be reviewed, I'd take a bunch of time and piece together the rest of the story, but alas, you'll just have to wait until darklyrics.com posts the new lyrics or just buy the album yourself.  But as for the music, I'd be more than happy to describe what you'll find here.

Upon my first listen, I was absolutely floored.  No taking time to grow for this album.  This is definitely Shadow Gallery and this is definitely one heck of a great release.  Comparing it to their previous albums is tough cause they each hold a special place in the fan's hearts...and in my own.  This seems to be a more mature album than their previous releases, and may well be their best release...but I'll leave that to the fans to decide.  One thing I will say, former Shadow Gallery fans will go gaga over Room V.  This disc is insanely good and an incredible epic of a release.  Once again, like with previous albums, Shadow Gallery places no emphasis on having "X" number of heavy, metal-influenced songs or having "X" number of mellower progressive rock styled songs.  This album ebbs and flows perfectly at all the right times in a manner that is simply majestic.  Whether it's simply their harmonic vocals alongside an acoustic guitar, flute, and softly played drums, or whether it's an aggressive, yet melodic, headbanging feast with a instrumental section with guitar solos that will make your jaw break the floor beneath you as it drops, Shadow Gallery impresses once again in amazing fashion.  This album is addictive and beautiful and one that will make all the air guitarists and sing-along wanna-be vocalists whip out their imaginary guitars and microphones and put on a grand show for those in the car or truck beside them.  This is everything Shadow Gallery was and yet everything they have become.  The band has matured, but they have not forgotten what got them where they are.  The moving ballads are here, the energetic rocking numbers are here, the killer instrumentals are here, and there are even some familiar sounds from the Tyranny album that show up here and there to tie the two albums together in more ways then just the lyrics.  But this is also an album that lets the band breath and evolve into something better....if that was even possible.

Production as always is top notch and if you can find enough pennies under the sofa cushions, you may want to check out the limited edition version of this disc which has a second disc with 5 extra songs including a 24 minute marathon song and some multimedia goodies.

One of the most overlooked bands of all time has once again released a masterpiece that whips the competition.  Will the rest of the world ever catch on?  It's quite the mystery and a ghost of a chance.

Rating: 98/100

Review By: Matt Morrow

Label: Inside Out Music

Total Songs: 14

Total Time: 75:27

Tracklisting: 1. Manhunt, 2. Comfort Me, 3. The Andromeda Strain, 4. Vow, 5. Birth of a Daughter, 6. Death of a Mother, 7. Lamentia, 8. Seven Years, 9. Dark, 10. Torn, 11. The Archer of Ben Salem, 12. Encrypted, 13. Room V, 14. Rain.

Best Songs: Tracks 3, 4, 6, 10, 11, and 13.

Band Lineup: Mike Baker - Lead Vocals, Brendt Allman - Guitar/Acoustic Guitar/Vocals, Carl Cadden-James - Bass/Vocals/Flute/Fretless Bass, Joe Nevolo - Drums, Gary Wehrkamp - Piano/Guitars/Vocals/Keyboards.

Band Website: http://www.shadowgallery.com