Release DetailsLABEL Inside Out
RELEASED ON 6/7/2005
posted on 7/2005 By:
Thematically picking up immediately where 1998’s Tyranny half-concluded, Shadow Gallery’s fifth album, aptly dubbed Room V, follows the lives of two characters that are desperately trying to reclaim and relive their past, only to realize that the past has been the very thing they have been trying to escape all along. Divided into fourteen individual chapters within two acts, Room V is an outstanding piece of progressive music that boasts a somewhat soundtrack-esque atmosphere. With an assortment of brief instrumentals positioned in the midst of the lengthier and more involved arrangements, the album plays with a sort of science-fiction thriller sensibility. Capturing all the emotions of a well-produced film, Shadow Gallery are like award-winning actors who let their instruments paint the illustrious frames of each dramatic scene.
The safest and closest musical association that I am able to provide in relation to how Shadow Gallery sound would be a mix of Images & Words and Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence eras Dream Theater. Everything that has come to be expected of a high caliber progressive band that spares nothing can be found on Room V. Sweeping guitar leads, dazzling keyboard solos, unearthly drumming, and more over the top compositions than you can possibly digest in one sitting, are all present and accounted for. While vocalist Mike Baker has endured much unjust flaming for his singing style in the past, his performance on Room V will shove a muzzle in each of the lashers’ respective mouths. You can really hear the emotion is his voice when he belts out his vocal dialogue, and it’s not always about “look how high I can go” with him either. It’s in the huge chorus sections, however, that he truly shines with multilayered melodies that, as comical as this might sound, remind me of The Beach Boys on steroids.
A fact that I found very interesting about Shadow Gallery is that they have never played a single live show in their entire existence as a band. When you consider that they are just as tight a unit as any other band with years of touring under their belt, this is quite mind-boggling. Being that several members of the band are actually professional sound engineers, this could be a factor that weighs to their advantage; after all, they are musicians who KNOW musicians. Another benefit to not touring is that they have all the time they would ever need at their disposal to turn any screws or tweak any knobs that they find necessary, and it shows on Room V.
Shadow Gallery have once again made quite an impression on me, and with Room V they have really taken their sound to a whole new level. There are a handful of instances, however, where the music rings too familiar a bell in regards to the Dream Theater-isms and due to this, the album can not fairly maintain a perfect score in the songwriting category. Still, for fans of progressive music, Room V is a conceptual opus that must be experienced.
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