without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Shadow Gallery. Only prog maniacs know this band. I've known this band for a lot of time, but never tried to get into. Come on, better than Dream Theater? I laughed at their faces. Now they do on mine. This is, my friends, the best Progressive Metal album I've ever heard. But also remember, than I'm still a young metalhead, and I don't know enough bands nor albums. Even though, I don't think I can hear any Progressive Metal album that manages to beat this one.
Shadow Gallery plays Progressive Metal, but not wankery metal like Dream Theater. They are more like Queensrÿche, a bit more simpler and accessible. They also could be described as Art Rock, being a concept album that, uses more than the traditional instruments, like a flute, having 3 guest singers, and emanating such quality, from the music and the lyrics, it can't be described by mere words.
First, vocalist Mike Baker it's amazing. He's, behind Maynard James Keenan and Daniel Heiman, my favorite vocalist. Just hear "War For Sale" or "Mystery". Well, not only him, but the vocals are amazing on all the album. Even a so hated singer as James Labrie sings on "I Believe", and he never sounded so good!
As every good concept album, coherence it's the first think that jumps into my mind when I listen to this album. Each song flows perfectly into the other. There are no highlights, even I have some preference for the opener and the ballad "Spoken Words". Everything it's amazing on the album. Vocals, as I've said, are the true highlight. They couldn't be better, really. Every instrument it's perfect, every solo fits on the music. Really, this isn't music, it's art.
Now, take care. This is a metal page. This is, indeed, Progressive Metal. But it's nearer of Progressive Rock than Progressive Metal. You won't find much heaviness here, nor something to headbang. In that way, this is not a metal album. The ballads are also not very metal, and there are four. "Spoken Words", for example, it's just a piano, a male singer and a female one. The lyrics are about love. And I love them. Of they tell a story of a couple that fall in love chatting and that. So beautiful!
So, metalheads, if you can't stand anything that isn't metal, don't even think of getting this album. But everyone that loves Progressive Metal, and/or GOOD music in general, don't think about it: this album it's a must have.
Shadow Gallery, a band that is quite unknown to progressive metal fans, a lot of people will defiantly say that Dream Theater is the best progressive metal band ever, Nope, guess most of you are wrong, actually Shadow Gallery is much better than Dream Theater, they proved it with their debut back at 1992, which is simply more enjoyable than ?images and words? by Dream Theater.
Okay, enough comparing, now on to the music, this album has a storyline that lasts through the entire 73 minutes, I am not 100% sure of the story itself but I know its between a man and a woman behind the computer, they have been chatting for a long time and this man is curious on who and what she looks like, so he told her to give him a phone call, then after the song ?New World Order? I am beginning to feel a bit confused about the storyline, but some songs like ?War For Sale? seems to have nothing to do with the story.
The song list begins with ?Stiletto in the sand?, this is the intro of the album, lasting about 1:56, nothing much to say about this short intro, but the riffs really suite the next song, after the ending of this intro, the second song quickly tunes in, so as you can see, this entire album is continuous.
War For Sale - The second song of the album, as I said before, this song has nothing to do with the storyline (I think), this song has very fresh riffs and yes, a continuation from the first song, now I would like to state out the vocal performance of mike baker, he does the vocals very well, an example is when he sings ?Their business plan calls for war for sale,,,? at the first chorus, changing his voice from normal to a rather calm tuning, and also the same for the second and third chorus, with different vocal performances, singing high this time, and the solo in this song at about 3:40 is excellent.
Out Of Nowhere - The third song goes on as another gem in this album, well, actually every song is great, but just to state the best songs of the album, again, the vocals and guitar work over here is a masterpiece, and there are some interesting moments somewhere in 3:30, after Mike sings ??my eyes, wohhh? his voice trails off and another good solo, but that?s not it, the music is suddenly replaced my flutes with guitar riffs supporting it and that final moment of this song is truly remarkable, so passionate.
Mystery - Ah! I love this song, this is a catchy song, not to mention a sing-along verse and chorus, again the riff starts off and immediately you are addicted just like any other song in the album, it has a very catchy chorus that makes you want to listen to this song more and more, I love every single riff in this song, Mike?s vocals again delivers not only his normal astonishing voice but also uses his calmer vocals as well.
Hope For Us? - This is a ballad, maybe by the look of the title you can already tell it?s a ballad, very calm music that will soften your heart, that?s what so good about this album, the songs are good even if its delivered in ballads, this song symphonies the sorrow for mankind.
Victims - Great song, yet another song captured me through the catchy chorus, as you can see, all of the songs have very good riffs and sing-along verses and choruses, and that?s what makes this album so great, every single thing about the music you can tell they are not copied from other bands.
Broken - Short song and another ballad, you really can sit through this one without dissapointment.
I Believe - Here is one of the long songs in the album, ranging to 8 minutes long, got lots of parts, at the start of the song, Mike is already singing, the starting riff ends about 1:28 and the song goes silent, well not completely, there are some piano over here, after this short moment comes the true essence of the song, as Mike sings ?My father?s final moments? and this part is also one of the best parts of this album because its just so damn catchy and feels your ears easily, this type of music is really easy to be listened, then sooner or later you can listen to the chorus and find that although 8:40 minutes long but still another great song.
Roads Of Thunder - Now this song is heavier and faster than all of the songs above (I think), it tastes like heavy metal growing with some progressive moments on it, yes, and I like the vocals so much here, the chorus is fast, probably you won?t be able to catch what Mike is singing, this is yet another memorable song in the album and listening to this song also tells you about the phone call in the storyline I mentioned ago.
Spoken Words - As said, the song starts after you hear a phone been picked up, answering the call, then a heavy piano key starts this song, and throughout this song (Another ballad) I think only keyboards and piano are used here, this is sure soft enough, there is even female vocals here, the chorus tastes like a love song, but with a sorrow and depressive feeling.
New World Order - Another long song, I won't go further to this song, its good and it sounded just like anything you have heard from ?I Believe? or other songs, it just fits the album well.
Chased - This song is instrumental, you can hear people knocking on the doors and suddenly takes you back to the war era, where these soldiers are looking for the criminals hiding behind their houses (My way of opinion), then the music breaks in, now this music is really great, makes a good movie soundtrack to screen a man being chased and his life is on the line, because really, they know how to let you feel and suddenly changes your emotions throughout the album.
Ghost Of A Chance - A bit similar to ?Hope for Us??, looks really like a ballad but at least there?s metal in this song.
Christmas day - They always come up with ideas like these to make the album more special, this is yet another ballad and a great way to end this album, the song again blends in well, and at the end every single element on this album is placed and played right.
So, there is no flaws in this album, this is the progressive metal which is simple but really good, and does not bores with using the same riff, even though they are catchy songs, i would suggest progressive fans give it a try, because this is truly some album like no other, everything seem to in place for perfection, i always knew there were bands so much better than the famous Dream Theater.