Shadow Gallery - Legacy 4.5/5

Reviewed: 8-5-05


1. Cliffhanger 2
2. Destination unknown
3. Colors
4. Society of the mind
5. Legacy
6. First light

Shadow Gallery follows up the brilliant ‘Tyranny’ with the equally brilliant, though different, ‘Legacy’. ‘Tyranny’ was the band's most song–oriented CD with mostly radio length tracks. It’s production was lush and warm and the CD featured several guests. On 'Legacy', much of that has changed. The first change is the length of the tracks. There are only 2 tracks on this CD less than 7 minutes long and the final track is over 34 minutes. That 34 minute track is actually misleading, though; it is really about 23 minutes with the remaining 11 minutes featuring more of the knocking from the end of the ‘Carved in stone’ CD, plus hard–to–hear sounds from the band in the studio before a nice piece of new–age music right at the end. Still, a 23 minute track is fairly unusual these days. Another noticeable change is that this is a much more raw sound. The production is still perfect, however.

The music and performance on this CD is as excellent as we have come to expect from the band. "Cliffhanger 2" is a direct continuation from the original ‘Carved in stone’ track. The first part of the track nicely combines instrumental and vocal melodies from the original track with new parts. The 2nd part is an instrumental, which is good, though not very melodic. The next 2 tracks are the softest on the CD, with "Destination unknown" sounding a lot like something from the debut 's/t' CD and "Colors" featuring a hugely melodic commercial chorus. As good as the first 3 tracks are, the CD kicks it up another level with the aggressive, pounding "Society of the mind" and the equally powerful title–track. "First light" passes very quickly for a 23 minute track. This features a lot more vocals and less instrumental passages than Shadow Gallery's previous epic on 'Carved in stone', the song "Ghostship”.

As always with Shadow Gallery, the songwriting is unique and excellent with the vocal melodies stealing the show. Bassist Carl Cadden James, once again, wrote all the vocal melodies and lyrics for all tracks other than "Colors". Guitarist and keyboardist Gary Wehrkamp wrote a lot more of the instrumental music than in the past with lead guitarist Brendt Allman making some contributions. The musicianship and vocals are better than ever, but it is the backing and choral vocals which really stand out. There are more of these group vocals than ever and they sound fantastic; in fact, they are positively uplifting. Shadow Gallery just continues on making great music. Their combination of melody, performance, lyrics and attention to detail is unmatched and ‘Legacy’ adds another special CD to their discography.




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