Apart from their occasionally slightly corny debut album, Shadow Gallery have produced some of the best melodic progressive metal albums of the last 10 years. This release is a compilation of material, some of it edited down, mainly from the later Legacy/Tyranny period. Two of the better tracks each from the eponymous debut and the excellent Carved in Stone albums complete the package though the last album V is not covered for some reason presumably due to copyright or Magna Cart not wishing it to be known they left. It also features a furiously-paced previously unreleased bonus piece originally considered for the Carved in Stone album titled "Rule the World".
Shadow Gallery were inspired by Alan Moore's novel V for Vendetta and is central to the concept of 3 of the last four albums. Technically this band are in Dream Theater territory, the major difference being their greater ear for melody and their frequent reliance on delicate piano lines and grand anthemic motifs. They also surpass most of their contemporaries in their ability to spin stories and legends in their lyrics, all demonstrated as well as anywhere in the second selection on the disc "Ghost of a Chance".
The edgy aggression of Stone's "Deeper than Life" is balanced by the simple eloquence of "Hope for Us" from Tyranny. Legacy was an altogether heavier album and two of the songs taken from it, "The Crusher" and the title track convey their technical playing skills best with anthems abandoned to Petrucci-like guitar riffs. In the end though its pomp and grand story lines which populate Shadow Gallery's world. As the promo article says – big ideas, big riffs, big production (they don't mention the big hair). For those not familiar with the band and not into prog-metal big time it is a good cover-all of their music. For those who love the genre and have the cash, just buy the last 4 albums instead.
2. Ghost of a chance
3. Deeper than life
4. Hope for us
5. The crusher
7. The final hour
8. Say goodbye to the morning
9. Don't ever cry, just remember
10. New world order
12. Rule the world