SHADOW GALLERY - Digital Ghosts

Shadow Gallery - Digital Ghosts

7 songs
55:29 minutes
***** ****
InsideOut

Bandpage

Last year, Shadow Gallery tragically lost their vocalist Mike Baker who died prematurely at the age of 45 after suffering a heart attack. For many bands, such a heavy loss would mean the end, but Shadow Gallery decided to move on, hired Brian Ashland to take over vocal duties and are now back with their sixth album Digital Ghosts. The good news is that not much has changed. The vocals don’t sound that much different, the only thing that strikes the eye is that Digital Ghosts is the shortest album in the band’s history, but sincerely, I think a short hour is long enough, and eventually works even better than a CD that lives under the impression that it has to use every minute the medium has to offer.

Since their first album in the early Nineties, Shadow Gallery were different from what people expected of the prog metal genre. Dream Theater had just started their phenomenal career, and all of a sudden there is Shadow Gallery, a band that has until this day never played a live show, and whose musical approach is far more diverse, incorporating element from AOR, stadium rock, but also finding room for searing thrash riffing. On the new album, it feels as if the pompous bombast rock of Queen and the streamlined mass-compatible prog of Kansas are the main cornerstones, although there are also hints of ancient Brit prog la Yes, melodic power metal, steaming Deep Purplish organ sounds, and so much more.

Shadow Gallery have been from the beginning a band that every person with a sane mind should despise, and still we all catch ourselves fascinated by their shameless travelling through the most different musical styles, even incorporating genres we normally despise. But they do it with such an innocence and even manage to build engaging songs that eventually you just decide to call them your guilty pleasure. Digital Ghosts starts with the nearly ten minute long With Honor, continues with four six minute songs before ending with two nine minute epics. This might be too much for those with an aversion to overwrought rock music, but somehow I prefer Shadow Gallery to genre pioneers Dream Theater who became uninteresting after three albums. Shadow Gallery have not such a tight release schedule, and maybe that’s why they still matter after all these years. Fans of progressive rock and metal who are not afraid of occasional (or even frequent) arena rock grandiosity will be comforted to know that not that much has changed with this great prog band.

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