Shadow Gallery - Tyranny review


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Band: Shadow Gallery
Album: Tyranny
Release date: 1998

01. Stiletto In The Sand (Jihad)
02. War For Sale (January)
03. Out Of Nowhere (February)
04. Mystery
05. Hope For Us? (July)
06. Victims
07. Broken
08. I Believe (September) [feat. James LaBrie]
09. Roads Of Thunder
10. Spoken Words
11. New World Order [feat. DC Cooper]
12. Chased
13. Ghost Of A Chance (November)
14. Christmas Day

Some albums define genres. 1998's Tyranny is one of them. Without ever having a chance at contending with bands like Dream Theater in terms of popularity over the years, Shadow Gallery have marked the ages with several cult albums in the field of progressive metal. Tyranny is a deeply political concept album, with themes including the nature of war and the military-industrial complex. It is awesome in so many levels.

The album kicks things off in style with the intro "Stiletto in the Sand" leading right into "War for Sale", a duo of tracks very much written to put a stamp on their sound as prog power. Yet there is an inherent radio rock vibe to most of the songs that may divide listeners. If you are old enough to remember this time when progressive metal was starting to be a thing, well, Tyranny already has a special place in your heart.

The album features the classic lineup of Mike Baker (R.I.P.) on vocals, Gary Wehrkamp and Brendt Allman on guitars, Carl Cadden-James on bass guitar, Joe Nevolo on drums and Chris Ingles on keyboards. The result is indeed one of those genre-defining albums. Tyranny is an endless source of inspiration for generations of bands still to come. The musicianship is impressive, execution is flawless and all songs are intriguing. Did I mention Mike Baker was also one of the finest vocalists to grace music?

Overall, the magic of this album is encapsulated by songs with the power to move you like "Victims", "Broken", "I Believe" and "Spoken Words". A couple of featured appearances add another dimension to the album; James LaBrie (Dream Theater) pitches in on "I Believe" while DC Cooper (Royal Hunt) rocks the more traditional heavy metal track called "New World Order".

Shadow Gallery with their classic lineup deliver quite a performance. For most critics, Tyranny remains to this day their best effort to date. So many songs are exemplary by their structure and intrinsic beauty.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 8
Production: 8


Written on 22.02.2014 by Bringing you reviews of quality music and interesting questions such as:

"A picture is worth a thousand words. How many words is a song worth?"

I have only got so much patience and skills, you do the math.


Comments: 5   Visited by: 60 users
23.02.2014 - 20:45
Yes, this album is grand
Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29

Like you could kiss my ass.

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26.02.2014 - 22:30
One of the best albums ever.
05.03.2014 - 02:37
Very very good. love it. atmospheric is a calming, mind clearing way.
09.03.2014 - 18:18
Great review... thanks. I think I am one of *very few* who actually preferred their follow-up, Legacy, which is way underrated, but I bought Tyranny back in 98 when it was released, when PM fans didn't have too many options, and it was like a breath of fresh air...
First gig was Manowar (loincloths 'n' all), Bristol Colston Hall in March 1983, on the 'Hail to England' tour. Tickets were £3.75, 300 in the audience, Mercyful Fate never showed, but my hearing still got seriously trashed..
08.06.2019 - 08:03
What is this part-time metal, part-time piano ballads junk! at the most two softies per album is enough, I say stick with the genre (it is progressive METAL), I tried getting into Shadow Gallery but once the heavy track finishes I become amped for the next one but it's a slow teddy bear hugging song! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS SHADOW GALLERY!? You've ruined every album by doing that! I would have suggested putting all the softies on a separate album like Opeth did with Damnation, by doing that all the weak metal-heads can go get that album but leave the real gear with the real metal-heads.

I don't care how greatly composed a soft song is.. They're boring.

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