|Review: Shadow Gallery - Room V|
Label: Inside Out Music
Year released: 2005
Genre: Progressive Metal
Review online: December 10, 2005
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Rated 3.69/5 (73.85%) (13 Votes)
Well this is disappointing. I had heard such rhapsodic fellatio of this band over the years that I was sure they would be good. Even with my general impatience with prog, a band that gets praised this universally is bound to be worth something. How wrong I was. "Room V" is getting my vote as the most fraudulent album of the year, even moreso than Opeth's last crapfest.
The problem with this album is not that is sucks, but that it is A: not prog, and B: dull. Oh, sure, Shadow Gallery lay on all the expected Prog elements, with long-ass songs and those annoying stop-and-go rhythm parts interspersed with lots of keyboard wanking, but this is not really complex music at all. Once you stop thinking of this as prog and really listen to it, you will be struck by how conventional and simplistic it is. The riffs are simple, the song structures are simple, the leads are very few and nothing to get excited about - there's nothing actually Progressive about this at all. There are the trappings of prog, but no actual prog. The vocal lines are especially egregious, as they are repetitive and poppy. Listen to one of the better tunes here "The Andromeda Strain", and you will shortly realize it is not a seven-minute prog epic, but a 3-minute pop-metal tune bloated up with repitition and drawn-out nonsense.
Even aside from that, the album is not good at all. The opening song "Comfort Me" is so terrible you will want to turn it off, and I can't say you'd be wrong. With no metal in it and lyrics so syrupy you expect Patti Smythe and Don Henley to come in any second. It is total top 40 crap. Here and there, as on the aforementioned "Andromeda Strain", "The Archer", and "Encrypted" Shadow Gallery manage to dig out some catchy melodies. But overall this album is slow-moving, ballad-heavy, and uninteresting. The 'Concept', about a man who's wife discovers some kind of supervirus and is murdured for it, is pretty decent, but for most of the album you can't tell what the hell is going on, and most of the plot is crammed into the indigestible "Torn". Clumsy, clumsy storytelling.
This isn't an unlistenable album, and once you get past "Comfort Me" it has some good bits. But after the hyping this band has recieved, and the great reviews I have read for this, I have to say the album is pretty piss poor. Avoid this one.
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