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I still remember the moment when I bought my first Shadow Gallery album, which was the second SG album "Carved in Stone"... actually ever since I've been a fan of this band. Last year I was sure that they'd finally release their new album, since so far they had released a new album every third year. However, for the first time ever their album got postponed and will be released in May 30th, 2005 instead of late 2004. Titled as "Room V", this is SG's fifth album and their debut release on InsideOut Music. Following the theme of their phenomenal third album "Tyranny", fans will surely have high expectations regarding this release.
The music on this album is dynamic progressive metal with piano sections in the vein of Savatage. However, what differs this album from the past SG releases is that "Room V" features new influences among the unique trademark style of Shadow Gallery. For example, there are hints of Dream Theater among others. As one can expect, these new influences blend seamlessly into SG's style and the quality of material is very high throughout the whole album.
Alongside the coruscating compositions, Mike Baker continues the story where it was left in "Tyranny" (eight hours on from the end of Tyranny, to be exact). In addition to Mike Baker's eloquent vocal lines, Laura Jaeger is also featured on this album (you might remember Jaeger for her contribution to the “Tyranny”). Needless to say, the vocals convey the story effortlessly and complement the music well.
With previous Shadow Gallery releases I've been somewhat disappointed at the production. Fortunately, Room V also shows improvement on that area... the sounds are both assertive and atmospheric depending on what is called for. The mastering was handled skilfully by Jeff Glixman (Black Sabbath, Cinderella, Gary Moore and Kansas). So this album isn't squashed by mastering, but instead there's plenty of head room left for dynamics.
Not to raise your expectations any higher, this might be the best SG release so far. Be sure to place your order now and make another one just to ascertain you don't miss this masterpiece ;) This release also comes as a double CD special edition with slipcase, extended booklet, bonus tracks and video segment, all of which I yet haven't seen... you can definitely count "Room V" as one of the best progreleases of 2005.
Release date: May 30th, 2005 (Europe) and June 7th, 2005 (USA)
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- MAGE (May 28th, 2005)
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