Shadow Gallery

Magna Carta Records, 2001


REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


The biggest pitfall inherent in progressive rock or progressive metal is that after a while, it all starts sounding the same. (The corollary is that it all starts sounding like someone else. One band I didn't review earlier last year was immediately classified as "Styx and Rush have a really bad car accident".)

Thankfully for music reviewers and consumers alike, some bands transcend the copycat nature of the genre, don't send in the clones, and come up with something of their own. In the case of Shadow Gallery's new release, Legacy, it's not only something unique; it's something beautiful.

Beautiful? Describing metal? Well, yes, actually. Legacy is a brilliant, elegant, musically complex, melodic work, worthy of a band many call one of the founders of the prog-metal genre. (Shadow Gallery was the second band ever signed to Magna Carta, and has been recording since 1993.) This is the genre at its best, plain and simple, and if you like this sort of thing at all you should probably just click on the CDNOW link now and get it over with.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

For those of you who need more convincing, let's talk voices. Mike Baker is so far ahead of most screeching hair-band-reject metal vocalists that he could beat them with one vocal cord tied behind his back. He's expressive, he's flexible, and you can understand what he's saying. (Bonus points for those of us who still consider lyrics half of songs.) Legacy features soaring, textured harmonies, clear and transcendent, and then can turn around and smack a serving of gritty, angry background vocals on your musical plate. Shadow Gallery has proved themselves to be jack of all trades and masters of most on Legacy.

The guitar work is flawless, ranging from a biting snarl to clear and undistorted melody, and the dual playing of Brendt Allman and Gary Wehrkamp (hereafter known as The Guy Who Apparently Plays Everything; he's credited with guitars, keyboards, bass, and vocals) creates interweaving lines that blow you away with their delicacy and complexity. Carl Cadden-James' bass playing provides a steady thrum around which to weave the melodic elements, and Joe Nevolo's drums serve the same purpose perfectly. Production is clean and uncomplicated, though there's occasional fun effects thrown in that catch your attention just long enough to disappear.

As for tracks, deal with it; everything's good. However, I have to give special notice to the central three tracks on the CD, "Colors", "Society Of The Mind", and "Legacy". They are utterly different, each unique; "Colors" is all harmony and power ballad, "Society" sounds like they were listening to Queensryche's Operation: Mindcrime album one day and decided to do them one better, and "Legacy" is straight grinding prog-metal. All three are brilliant.

I'm starting to sound redundant, I know. But this is good stuff. Go. Now. Strike a blow against boring music, and get yourself a copy of Legacy.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2001 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Magna Carta Records, and is used for informational purposes only.