Shadow Gallery - Shadow Gallery (1991)Release ID: 5029

Shadow Gallery - Shadow Gallery (1991) Cover
Rexorcist Rexorcist / July 01, 2024 / Comments 0 / 0

At the time of writing this, let it be known that I've spent weeks largely focusing on either genres as well as 2024 releases and the bands associated with them.  Since I like to explore at least parts of discographies when I check out as new artist, it takes a while for me to get through metal albums.  In terms of Metal Academy's list challenges, that takes me even longer.  But today I'm allowing myself some metal for all my hard work.  Today I'm getting through three SHadow Gallerey albums to make it to the one I need to help with the challenge: Tyranny.  But of course, I'm starting with their self-titled debut.

The Shadow Gallery debut is basically everything you'd expect from a symphonic prog metal band.  We've got many diversified elements that bring a sharp and poignant persona to the music, made up of the neoclassicalism present in many 70's prog rock bands adjusted for the metal genre, energetic and functional melodies up the wazoo, contemporary neo-prog bringing to mind the words of Marillion and IQ, and enough light but effective metallic energy to attract less experimental fans of prog metal such as Dream Theater fans.  Everything molds pretty well together to cement the Shadow Gallery identity instantly, and makes one curious about future releases.  Right from the getgo the heavy melodies are almost gorgeous, and the album diversifies itself while staying that way.

However, of all its strong points there are a couple of weak points.  First and foremost, while the delivery is exquisite, the compositions are nothing groundbreaking in the prog metal vein.  We've seen it all before, but the persona's strength gave me hope for future releases to remedy the flaw.  The second most important thing is that the production, while glittery, doesn't really fit the metal vibe.  The album's metal enough to go along, but it felt more appropriate for a symphonic prog ROCK album rather than a symphonic prog METAL album.  In fact, it reminded me of the difference between Twilight Force's impressive debut and the glittery behavior of their sophomore.

I'm glad I had the time for Shadow Gallery today, and you know something?  I really like the direction they took.  They seem to have practiced a lot with their sound and despite the major flaws, the strengths outweigh them, and I'd probably even return to this album later despite the flaws.

MartinDavey87 MartinDavey87 / February 08, 2021 / Comments 2 / 0

It's the early years of progressive metal, Fates Warning and Queensryche have been going from strength to strength over the years and Dream Theater have released their debut album, but are yet to unleash its follow-up 'Images and Words' upon the world, which would pretty much lay out the blueprint for every prog metal album to follow. So with that, Shadow Gallery's self-titled debut release came at a time when the genre was still establishing itself.

All the enduring qualities of the genre are here in their infancy, and they work well. Lengthy songs with complex structures and vast musical passages, Mike Baker's incredible vocals, which add so much depth and credibility to the band, their trademark vocal harmonies (which would be expanded upon and perfected on later releases) and some of the finest musicianship around. It's no wonder they would go on to become one of prog metals most beloved cult bands.

In fact, the biggest detriment is the "epic" of the album, 'The Queen of the City of Ice'. Perhaps the metal world just wasn't quite ready for these 20-minute odyssey's just yet, or perhaps it was a trait best left to the old-school Yes's and Genesis's of the music world, but either way, this song is BORING!!! It's slow, uninteresting, and features a spoken dialogue section which goes on for way too long. It's a massive blow to what would be an otherwise stellar debut, as 'Darktown', 'Mystified', 'Say Goodbye to the Morning', 'Questions at Hand' and 'The Dance of Fools', in fact, all the songs on this album are early classics that really makes this a solid release, but it's all hindered by that 17-minute track that completely brings everything to a standstill.

Still, don't be deterred by that, as otherwise this is a great album that helped lay the foundations for progressive metal by firmly distinguishing all the early traits the genre would adhere to.


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Shadow Gallery
The Infinite

Progressive Metal (conventional)

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