Shadow Gallery - Room V

Year of Release: 2005
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD 207
Format: CD
Total Time: 75:36:00

After four albums with one of the world's leading prog metal labels, Magna Carta, US based Shadow Gallery delivers its first studio album in four years for a new label. As we have been accustomed to since their start in 1992, the band's compositions are once again of a very high calibre, merging very intricate parts with easy listening acoustic passages, combining hard and edgy guitars with almost classical piano. The flute in opener "Manhunt" even lets in some folky elements, whilst the addition of the female voice of Laura Jaeger gives the song a musical atmosphere as well, with Laura's voice sometimes getting in the region of Karen Carpenter. Don't let the name Karen Carpenter scare you, as I regard this lady as one of the best vocalists of the last fifty years so this is truly meant as a compliment here!

Contrary to other bands in this genre, Shadow Gallery has never over-produced their work. The same happens here, as the arrangements are open, the solos are well-balanced, although there's plenty to admire and gaze upon! I'm convinced the production of Jeff Glixman (who worked with Kansas, Gary Moore, Black Sabbath and even Cinderella) has been a clever choice as Jeff is a lover of intelligent rock music, but fully compromises into getting a product that is fully acceptable by a wide range of music lovers. With the use of a full orchestra, "Vow" could've sounded way too bombastic, yet instead the proportion between band and orchestra is absolutely spot on. Don't think that Glixman has the biggest finger in the pie here, otherwise he might never have included the technical prowess of "Birth Of A Daughter."

Listening to a song like "Seven Years," the band illustrates they most certainly can come up with all kinds of atmospheres. Surely the intro here can be used for films. In fact Shadow Gallery really is the perfect example of a band that truly delivers "symphonic rock" in the literal sense of the word! The musical structures, the finesse of the solos, the wonderful lush melodies for the vocals, the sparse inclusion of flute and acoustic guitar all end up towards a really impressive fifth album. I really love those energetic songs with tons of breaks and tempo changes such as "The Archer Of Ben Salem," also delivering a decent amount of organ. The final track "Rain" might be one of my favourites on this album as it once again contains all the elements one is looking for in a good rock song. It's solid, there's plenty of adventurous hooks, the vocals are great, the ideas are original. "Rain" even holds some eastern influences, whilst once again it amazes me how great those vocal harmonies sound. A perfect ending to a perfect record.

Believe it or not but Room V is a concept album. In fact, it's the sequel to the 1998 release Tyranny, which dealt with a story of two human beings in search of a new identity. Acts I and II which can be found on Tyranny are now followed by acts III and IV, which are divided into fourteen separate chapters (songs to you!) on the new album. The characters are still the same, planning to finish with their respective pasts, but then they realise that with everything they want to leave behind, there's the beginning of something new. In a nutshell that's quite what Shadow Gallery delivers, as each time they leave behind a certain idea, they are already at the helm with another approach. About time this band is treated the way they should be: with respect!

ACT III : Manhunt (2:07) / Comfort Me (6:49) / The Andromeda Strain (6:44) / Vow (8:25) / Birth Of A Daughter (2:38) / Death Of A Mother (2:13) / Lamentia (1:02) / ACT IV : Seven Years (3:35) / Dark (1:01) / Torn (8:21) / The Archer Of Ben Salem (7:26) / Encrypted (7:59) / Room V (7:42) / Rain (8:59)

Brendt Allman - guitar, vocals
Mike Baker - lead vocals
Carl Cadden-James - bass, vocals, flute
Joe Nevolo - drums
Gary Wehrkamp - guitars, keyboards, piano, vocals

Shadow Gallery (1992)
Carved In Stone (1995)
Tyranny (1998)
Room V (2005)
Prime Cuts (2007)
Digital Ghosts (2009)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: June 14th 2005
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 934
Language: english


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