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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.