Shadow Gallery
Tyranny


4.0
excellent

Review

by Thomas Michael Morris USER (36 Reviews)
June 28th, 2007 | 24 replies


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An excellent piece of progressive metal with an epic story, and virtuoso musicianship.

Shadow Gallery is an obscure progressive metal band from Pennsylvania who despite their fifteen years as aa band, have never performed live. In those fifteen years, they have released five studio albums. Here we have Tyranny, their third album, and first concept album. Released in 1998, Tyranny is a strongly political album, which tells the story of a weapons designer realizing the true nature of the military complex. This concept is continued in their fifth studio release, entitled Room V.

Throughout the album’s 75 minute running time, a good deal of musical styles and atmospheres are explored. The cd opens with a blistering two minute instrumental entitled Stiletto in the Sand, which despite it’s short running time, is a very effective opening to the album. Sure it’s mainly guitar and keyboard wankery, but it works well, and transitions to the album’s first real track, War For Sale quite well. As the album progresses, it becomes much darker, most visibly with the second of the album’s two epics, New World Order. The closing track, Christmas Day works well as a somber and emotional ballad, with some keyboard effects sounding similar to a pan flute in some parts.

I’ve already stated that the albums starts more upbeat and ends darker, so what’s in between? For the most part, it’s a blend of mid tempo tracks and ballads, along with a few epic sounding pieces in between. The track Mystery is a very good example of a mid tempo, upbeat rack. It opens to an organic riff with very atmospheric keyboards backing the sound up. The chorus is pretty simple, but is a very successful one, and the instrumental section in the middle features a barrage of keyboard and guitar solos. I Believe is the albums longest track at 8:40, and is one of the best featured. It’s got an almost operatic feel to it, and some strong lyrics. James Labrie provides backing vocals to this track, and briefly sings the main character’s father’s last lines from 2:22 to 2:37. (the song includes the father of the protagonist passing away)

Vocalist Mike Baker overall is an average, maybe a little above average vocalist, though may take time to grow on one. His voice can most be described as James Labrie’s, though lower pitched. When he sticks to this range, he sounds fine, and is able to pull off the emotion in some of the songs very well. However, when he attempts to sing higher, his voice becomes much more annoying, and it sounds almost angsty. Lucky for us, this only happens in a a few choice moments and for the most part, he is an enjoyable vocalist.

As do most guitarists of the genre, Brendt Allman and Gary Wehrkamp definitely write some very catchy, and at some times quite chilling guitar lines. The fore mentioned Stiletto in the Sand and the albums second instrumental, Chased feature some stunning guitar work. And one of the album,s most emotional tracks, Hope For Us? features an incredibly beautiful solo, one of those one’s that has that emotional effect that may provoke one to tears. The acoustic guitar is handled very nicely as well, as shown in the acoustic guitar oriented track Ghost of a Chance.

As the bassist, Carl Cadden-James is often over shadowed by the guitars, much like many metal bands. He can plainly be heard in the opening to Victims as well as New World Order. It’s a bit of a shame that he doesn’t have a chance to shine much, like John Myung has, but he provides a solid backbone to the majestic guitar duo of Allman and Wehrkamp.

Joe Nevolo is just what any progressive metal band needs. As the band’s drummer, he provides powerful beats and adds in fills where they need to be. He’s no Mike Portnoy, but for the laid back sound of some of the songs, he fits the job as the drummer well.

The final band member is Chris Ingles, and he is the pianist/keyboardist. He is definitely immensely talented, and reminds me much of old Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin Moore. He doesn’t show off or solo too much, (save the two instrumental tracks and the instrumental sections of some of the longer songs) instead, he works on providing a ton of atmosphere to the tracks. Whether they give a hopeful and uplifting feeling, or add a haunting and chilling touch to the songs, the band would definitely lack much without him. He also proves to be a very strong writer. The two minute ballad Broken, as well as the track Spoken Words are centered around beautiful piano melodies, and each work perfectly and fit the style of the music.

I would strongly recommend this to lovers of Dream Theater or just lovers of prog metal in general. I will warn you that this album is a lot to take in, and will take any listens to fully appreciate. If you give it the time however, it will become a quick favorite.

Top Five Tracks

War For Sale- The albums first real track, and the fastest. Everything about this track is phenomenal, from the opening assault of all the instruments, to the solo that leads to the first verse, to the instrumental section. The chorus here is an easy winner, consisting of the first line being sung by backing vocals, the next by Mike Baker, and so on. The lyrics are strong and catchy as well, especially during the verses.

I Believe- The aforementioned longest track on the album. It’s almost like a mini suite, and is one of the darker tracks on the album. There’s some beautiful instrumental work here, and the piano holds it together.

New World Order- The albums other epic, and is perhaps the darkest track on the album. It features Royal Hunt vocalist D.C. Cooper in the beginning. His voice is extremely brooding and sinister sounding, perfect for opening up the rest of the song. The instrumental section in the middle once again is pulled off wonderfully.

Mystery- One of the more upbeat tracks on the album. A pretty basic sounding song that has catchy sing a long chorus. And not to sound repetitive, but the instrumental bit here is organic and well pulled off as well.

Roads of Thunder- This may be the catchiest song featured. The keyboards in the beginning reminds me a lot of the song “Octavarium” by Dream Theater. The verses are relatively soft, and it builds up the chorus, which almost has a bit of a country vibe to it, which surprisingly is breathtaking. Each member of the band shines and comes together on this track, the bass is even audible around the 4:30 minute mark.

My first not track by track review in a while. I don’t think it’s too great, but please send feedback.

Final rating: 4/5



Recent reviews by this author
Progenie Terrestre Pura U.M.A.Amon Amarth Deceiver of the Gods
Polkadot Cadaver Last Call in JonestownEnsemble Pearl Ensemble Pearl
Dr. Quandary WayfarersThank You Scientist Maps of Non-Existent Places
user ratings (85)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Fort23
June 28th 2007


2479 Comments


Your song descriptions were short but great. You described a lot in a sentence. Very well written, might check it out, though its crazy (not realy in the bad way)they've never preformed live.

jrowa001
June 28th 2007


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

excellent review. im working on getting a hold of this album. im going to check a local record store tomorrow. after this album im sure to get Room V. ive been wanting to get this for a long time cuz i love the vocal work that Mike Baker did on Ayreon's "Human Equation" specifically on the song Loser. again, great review

Yazz_Flute
June 28th 2007


18847 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thaks for the comments/votes! I didnt think this was too great of a review, but its good to know that it seems to be better received than my t-b-ts :D I'll probably stick to this type of reviewing now.

And if you can;t find it in the record store, you can always download it off itunes, it has this album, "Room V," and their debut. Im not sure if my f.y.e. has SG or not, i should check cuz ive heard "Carved in Stone" is a really good album (the one preceding this one)

Digging: Kenn Nardi - Dancing With the Past

SynGates
June 29th 2007


2467 Comments


I like this format; it gives you the overall review and then if anyone wants it the tbt is there. You may want to fix up the first sentence in the guitarists paragraph, but other than that, good review. Sounds good.

jrowa001
June 29th 2007


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

im going to check out this one independent record store by my house that has a lot of music (i found mirrorthrone and ulver there), but if they dont ill go to the fye that just opened after i get back from ridin the jet skis

Yazz_Flute
June 29th 2007


18847 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ill edit that sentence now, ididnt realize that 0_o

Lucky, the fye i live near doesnt have a lot of scandinavian bands; no ulver, no mirrorthrone, no norther, no kalmah, they dont seem to have the less known ones. They do have Opeth, In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, and a bunch of others though.

jrowa001
July 9th 2007


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i got my hands on Room V and its pretty good, so im going to look harder for this one. if all else fails ill just get it on itunes

Yazz_Flute
July 16th 2007


18847 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I dont own room v, but ive heard that its much softer than this album for the most part (and this ones really not all that heavy really) Most of the songs on that album are supposed to be ballad types, with aonly a few heavier tracks.

Yazz_Flute
August 7th 2007


18847 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well i just got AJFA and downloaded the song "room v" off itunes. Goddamn thats an amazing song, beter than anything on this album i'd say. I dont expect the rest of "Room V" to be as good (from reviews and the previes on itunes, tyranny seems to be better all around) but that song is plain awesomeness.

jrowa001
August 7th 2007


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah thats a killer track. i still need this flippin album haha

Yazz_Flute
August 25th 2007


18847 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I just realized it says on one of your lists that you got this album, jrowa, and that was in
july 0_o then why dont you have it? lol...

btw, i'm working on a review for "Room V" now. This Message Edited On 08.26.07

jrowa001
December 23rd 2007


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i think i might have put the wrong album lol. didnt realize that. or it was a list of albums i want. i dont know. but this album is growing on me

Yazz_Flute
January 31st 2009


18847 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

More people need to here this album. Excellent prog right here, forgot how much i loved it.

sba4life
February 21st 2009


363 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Just gotthis. One of the best Prog Bands out there. RIP Mike

Yazz_Flute
February 21st 2009


18847 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Mike Baker died? are you serious?

shit...that makes me sad...RIP too young to die love his vocals on this album especially.

Even though it was a few months ago i am compelled to give this a listen now.This Message Edited On 02.21.09

sba4life
February 24th 2009


363 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah Heart Attack.
From what I know they are still working without him. Idk if they are searching for a vocalist though.

gaslightanthem
February 24th 2009


5209 Comments


i might have been interested in this if it wasn't for the completely homo cover and the fact they sound really really bad

Yazz_Flute
February 25th 2009


18847 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i dont get whats wrong with the cover

and this album rules fuck you

gaslightanthem
February 25th 2009


5209 Comments


cover & music is kinda bad idk

sba4life
March 1st 2009


363 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This music is bad?
More like some of the best progressive metal of the late 90's.
Great Album.
COncept is great as well.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy