Shadow Gallery's third album, 'Tyranny', marks their first conceptual story which later continued on their fifth release, 'Room V'. Often cited as the second-tier on the progressive metal movement, this album was released a year earlier before the giant of the genre, Dream Theater, released its own concept album, 'Scenes From A Memory', which I claimed as their masterpiece.
Many rewarded this album with a very-high rating, some even confident that this is their best, but what I heard through my ears, this is actually good-but-not-great result, far too long in the duration, couple of boring moments, but still I can't deny, Shadow Gallery had done some brilliant composition here as well. Musically, no doubt the influences are ranging from the likes of Queensryche, Savatage, and Fates Warning, some have that European power metal feels, but with many slowtempo ballads slipped between tracks, this is perhaps less-metal than many expected before.
'Stiletto In The Sand' opens with an excellent technical display as prologue to a sensational piece of metal track, 'War For Sale'. The great hooks on chorus, the obvious prog twist in the middle, and the killer guitar solo, are completely enthralling. 'Mystery' is a straight-forward melodic metal tune and love this song from the beginning to the end. 'I Believe' is symphonic with subtle melodic waves, relatively slow in tempo and spanned into 8 minutes, they have enough space for experimentation. 'Roads of Thunder' is dynamic with stampeding riffs and commercial element; 'Ghost of A Chance' is a great tender ballad moment; and 'Christmas Day' with its grandeur piano and flute kinda reminds me of Savatage-meets-X Japan kinda track, also another great one.
Now with the rest tracks are simply passable, even though nothing is overly bad, Shadow Gallery suffers with at least half average tracks, making it harder to achieve a better score than 75% from my side. It's always another problem with a conceptual album, they need to manage to write a great story while maintaining the songs quality, it's like a double job with double effort and if you fail slightly on one factor, the whole thing can crumble down easily. 'Tyranny' seems to fit in the above-average status but not far from the middle-line level.