Shadow Gallery - Legacy review
01. Cliffhanger 2
1 - Hang On
2 - The Crusher
02. Destination Unknown
04. Society Of The Mind
06. First Light
Shadow Gallery's 2001 release Legacy is a much more speedy release in the timeline of the band than the three and four year separations between past albums in their discography. The band returned in 1999 with new drummer Joe Nevolo. The result is two consistent albums featuring catchy melodic progressive rock/metal. Legacy is much more adventurous then it's predecessor with musicianship then on conceptuality. The epic and grandiose progression of building technical musicality shows up as in introduction and epic conclusion on Legacy while shorter melodic mid-paced progressive pieces make up the middle. Legacy does not fail to deliver the flawless off-time erratic riffs, soft/hard arrangements, speeding up and slowing down in crazy time signatures and layers upon layers of virtuosity in every song. If you like consistent skillful soloing presented as if there were almost no effort involved at all due to the sheer genius of what you're hearing then Legacy is an album you want.
The song Cliffhanger 2 - the stunning conclusion to Cliffhanger off of Shadow Gallery's 1995 album Carved in Stone - set me up for the technical wizardry and mayhem that was going to ensue in the rest of the album. I knew that upon listening to this album that it was going to blow me away. Many fans of this album say that it changed the way they think about the evolution of the genre. Bands like Shadow Gallery that push a song like Cliffhanger 2 right from the beginning to the end clearly shows that progressive music has a strong future. Poppy piano trinkets and boy-band like choruses continue to haunt the band in the choruses of songs like Destination Unknown and Colors. The two tracks that followed the stunning Cliffhanger had awful cheesy vocal and piano work but, seriously, who cares? Do you care? Nobody cares! Shadow Gallery still composes dazzling progressive metal music on these two songs. I find this highly unique because Shadow Gallery takes contemporary elements and melodic progressive metal and makes it work. Because they are so good at doing what they do, nothing will sound bad by them no matter how popish and commercial it sounds. Two tracks before the progressive metal phenomenon that is First Light snap the listener back into what was going on with Cliffhanger 2. The same heaviness is there, the same progressive musical buildup to technical brilliance. There are more boy band-like choruses here in both songs, but they work better here then in the less heavy tracks that came before. Finally, although First Light is an epic, it does lag on a bit. The pounding and effective repetition of the chorus guitar riff work is well done. The four minute introduction to what I really wanted didn't help my patience. This also doesn't need to be 34 minutes long. Along with the dragging piano and chorus work, there are also spaces of silence in between some parts in the song.
One thing to take away from Legacy is that any fan of the band has all his expectations met. The technical progressive wizardry returned, especially on the first and final track; building rather nicely into sheer mouth-dropping awe. Piano trinkets and poppy chorus work was made quite dominant in the more relaxed offerings and short but memorable pieces of catchy melodic progressive rock were also delivered. Legacy therefore stands out as a solid and memorable gem in the Shadow Gallery discography.
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