My A To Z Music Challenge: Letter S – Shadow Gallery

Shadow CD#1 Cov&Tray

What do you do if you have a divided musical heart? Half of you has a love for 1970’s progressive rock and the other half heavy metal of the 1980’s and 1990’s. The solution is an easy one. You form the progressive metal band Shadow Gallery and equally indulge both sides of your divided heart.

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Shadow Gallery is my favorite progressive metal band. I have been a fan since their first album was released in 1992. The band’s music combines aspects of Kansas, Queen, Metallica, Queensryche, Pink Floyd, Yes and Yngwie Malmsteen. The music offers the perfect balance of progressive rock and heavy metal. The various band members are highly talented  musicians. There are plenty of skillfully played, extended musical sections.  These instrumental passages are filled with great keyboard runs, blistering guitar solos and odd time signatures. Shadow Gallery has never been a band whose only concern was to showcase their musical chops.  There is complexity in the music of Shadow Gallery.  But their brand of progressive metal is quite melodic.

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The vocals of Shadow Gallery are one of their many strengths. Mike Baker handled the lead vocals on the band’s first five albums. Most of the other members of the band sing as well. All of these voices have produced a great deal of vocal harmonies and big choruses. Sadly, Mike Baker passed away in 2008 at the all to young age of 45.

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Like any great modern day progressive rock band Shadow Gallery has released concept albums. In 1998 they released the album Tyranny.  It remains the band’s best album. In 2005 a sequel was released entitled Room V.  These two may be the band’s best albums, but their whole catalog is worthy of recognition.

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After Mike Baker’s passing the band released one album, Digital Ghosts (2009). The lead vocal slot was filled by a few different vocalists. Among them was Carl Cadden-James, the band’s bassist. The band toured for the first time in their career to support Digital Ghosts. Since the conclusion of that tour the band has been on an extended hiatus. There has not been any recent announcements from the band.

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Some progressive rock fans shy away from the heavy guitars of progressive metal. I would highly recommend all of Shadow Gallery’s albums. They are definitely a progressive metal band, but not so overwhelmingly heavy as to scare away non-metal fans. Shadow Gallery’s mix of heavy guitars, plentiful keyboards and big vocals is a winning formula for fans of progressive rock and metal.

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Troy T.

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