With Digital Ghosts, SHADOW GALLERY’s members Brendt Allman, Carl Cadden-James, Gary Wehrkamp and new addition Brian Ashland have focused their powerful energies on creating a seamless blend of progressive, metal, and symphonic rock.
A transcendent work of musical art, Digital Ghosts advances the boundaries of these genres into new directions. Upon releasing three albums in the 90’s (Shadow Gallery in 1992, Carved in Stone in 1995 and Tyranny in 1998), SHADOW GALLERY had not only met great worldwide acclaim from both media and fans alike for their original and very profound stylistic approach but also by this time, there was no doubt that the band had established themselves as a major force in progressive metal. In 2001, SHADOW GALLERY released their 4th album, Legacy, their last album on the Magna Carta label.
Duke Egbert of the Daily Vault wrote, “Legacy is a brilliant, elegant, musically complex, melodic work, worthy of a band many call one of the founders of the prog-metal genre.” By 2005 SHADOW GALLERY had signed a new deal with Inside Out Music and returned to the scene with their newest album, Room V, which once again stunned the critics, prompting one reviewer to write “SHADOW GALLERY is for metal what Queen was for rock.” Immediately after the release of Room V, SHADOW GALLERY began writing their next musical project for Inside Out Music but tragedy struck in October of 2008 with the death of lead singer and original band member Mike Baker. Deeply saddened and shocked by his passing due to a heart attack, the band vowed to honor their fallen band mate and the fans who loved him by moving forward with their 6th studio album, Digital Ghosts.
While recording with different guest vocalists, the band discovered a comrade in singer Brian Ashland, their newest member who debuts on Digital Ghosts. Coming off a series of deep concept albums that cover personal drama, political indifference, spirituality and the maturing of morality, SHADOW GALLERY has turned their musical wands towards telling their musical tales through individual songs on Digital Ghosts.
During the writing and recording of this mature set of songs, the theme of "loss" became an obvious overtone that made its way to the emotion in the music and the lyrics, and still the mood, while dark at times, is full of passion and power and has a great uplifting appeal. In true SHADOW GALLERY tradition, Digital Ghosts features guest artists including Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear) with lead vocals on “Strong”, Clay Barton (Suspyre) with lead vocals shared with Carl Cadden-James on “Venom”, guitarist Srdjan Brankovic (Expedition Delta, Alogia) on “Strong” and keyboardist Vivien Lalu (Shadrane) on “Gold Dust”.
Acclaimed drummer Joe Nevolo returns to guest on the songs “Venom” and “Gold Dust”. Digital Ghosts - created with honor and passion, emotional, complex with superior musicianship is a progressive rock tour d’ force with influences derived from acts such as Genesis, Rush, Queen, Yes, Pink Floyd or even Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, presented in a contemporary shape and format that is set to also impress followers of bands like Dream Theater and Symphony X. As the ending drum motif of the album’s closing track “Haunted” hammers the point home, it is clear that Digital Ghosts is a benchmark classic album for SHADOW GALLERY.
This concise disc of a plethora of ideas and emotions runs from the ravaging heaviest of guitar riffs to the softest moments of reflection. You will feel like you were on the ride of your life, eager to get back for more.
SHADOW GALLERY has lined it all up, and is inviting the listener in to complete the equation of progressive rock in its finest of moments. - - - - - In the early 1980's Mike Baker, Carl Cadden-James, Ron Evans, and John Coonie played in the well respected Lehigh Valley band, "SORCERER". Covering many songs that most bands wouldn't attempt, they proved their musicianship, flawlessly tributing a variety of Yngwie Malmsteen songs, some of the more difficult RUSH tunes and hosted a collection of many favorite classic rock songs. In 1985 guitarist Chris Ingles was added to the fold, only to take over keyboard duties when soon after, Brendt Allman, new to the Eastern Pennsylvania area also came to join. It was around this time the band took a hiatus from the club scene and put it's efforts into crafting guitar orientated metal original music.
Chris Ingles left to pursue higher Education, studying theology and music. Drummer John Cooney sent a demo tape to Mike Varney who was interested in hearing more. As the bands original material progressed, incorporating more thought out arrangements, Varney's interest continued. Brendt Allman and Carl Cadden-James continued to work on a piece called "The Queen of the City of Ice" which showcased a long, involved more progressive direction.
This piece fit perfectly into what Varney and business manager Pete Morticelli's new record label was looking for. The record label was MAGNA CARTA, whose objective was to bring a fresh breath of progressive rock to an audience who was subdued by larger record companies quest for typical commercial music. At this time, Ron Evans found himself more interested in the straight ahead rock approach of the bands earlier days and left to pursue a direction more suited to his personal tastes. The band changed their name to SHADOW GALLERY and put together an 8-track demo of material, recorded in Cadden-James basement.
One day when Carl bumped into Chris, he asked him if he was interested in adding his keyboard talents to the new project. Chris did more than this, adding some of his compositions to the fold, giving the band an even more progressive, well rounded edge that painted a wonderful canvas for Mike Baker to put his vocals over. The demo was well received by Magna Carta who officially signed the band August 23, 1991.
Shadow Gallery was the second band to sign to the Progressive rock label. The year 1991 saw the labels first release from the band MAGELLAN.
SHADOW GALLERY's self titled debut followed the summer of 1992. Although the material was only in demo form, the label desired a quick follow up to Magellan and pressed the Shadow Gallery cd's which were released in Europe and Japan only. The band had already started writing material for their next album when their possibilities of a japanese tour were becoming more defined.
At this time their search for an additional musician to complete their live show began. They hadn't looked too long, when in March of 1993, guitarist/keyboardist Gary Wehrkamp had received a call from a friend who knew of a band needing an additional member.
Gary, who had just gotten off the road with the band THE BOXTOPS, returned the call, set up a meeting and met with the band April 3rd. His position of additional live musician changed to band member 3 weeks later.
This seemed to be an even more wise decision that July when the band and the record company decided that it would be better to put out another CD and follow that with a tour. For the next 8 1/2 months the band extensively demo'd material and in April 1994 started recording with drummer Kevin Soferra. Kevin, a seasoned pro, was called in at the eleventh hour when other drummer prospects fell through late in the demoing game. That summer the band moved its' rehearsal space to Northampton and equipped itself with studio equipment.
Chris Ingles took a break from the music business for a while which gave Wehrkamp a chance to record a great deal of keyboards for the album. The band faced a few more obstacles when they began to have a long string of equipment problems, delaying he recording yet again. In April of 1995, the CD was completed and July 11th saw the release of "CARVED IN STONE".
Again the band prepared to tour, however that summer they remained affixed in their new studio, contributing songs for an array of tribute CDS, such as "THE MOON REVISITED" (Pink Floyd), "TALES FROM YESTERDAY" (Yes), "SUPPER'S READY (Genesis), and in December the band took a break from their rehearsal schedule as Brendt Allman flew out to PRAIRIE SUN Studios in California to record rhythm tracks with DREAM THEATER's Mike Portnoy and MR. BIG's Billy Sheenan.
This was for a tribute to RUSH. After a break for the holidays, the beginning of 1996 found the other members of the band adding tracks to the tribute which would come to be known as "WORKING MAN." Unfortunately, the continuous recording schedule found the band in a familiar situation.
All members began to write on their own for the next CD. The band's rehearsals gave way to more recording sessions as the band began to demo their new songs.
That summer Gary, Brendt and Chris began to rehearse the new material with drummer JOE NEVOLO in Asbury Park, N.J. That November, they entered SLOYER SOUND Studio and cut the drums in less than 4 days. At this point the band further updated their studio with a new disk based recording setup and spent a while trying to reconfigure their studio setup. As the band approaches the winter of 1997, they know they have a lot of work ahead of them.
Their strong work ethnic and desire for a top quality product add waiting time between releases, but when they are done, the hard work and long wait pay off, and they release a production they are proud of. In the winter of 1997, the band continued to work on their new concept album, remaining locked in both SHADOW GALLERY studios and also using 9TH STREET STUDIOS to complete their work. TYRANNY was released on September 25, 1998 to high critical acclaim. In October 1998, Carl Cadden-James traveled to Europe talking to the press about the new record. In the last two months of 1998, Brendt, Carl, Gary and local musician/songwriter Gary Sloyer started working on some musical ideas that along with James Labrie's work, would become songs for MULLMUZZLER : KEEP IT TO YOURSELF.
The CD was released by Magna Carta in the Summer of 1999. This disc was to be the first solo album by James Labrie (of Dream Theater) and included the songs: Shores of Avalon, Guardian Angel, Sacrifice and Slow Burn. As this CD was being released, Mike Baker was extending his voice to another project.
With Gary producing at 9Th STREET STUDIOS, Mike played the part of MELZI on the original cast recording of LEONARDO DAVINCI/THE ABSOLUTE MAN. Gary and Mike also contributed background vocals for the project. As the winter of 2000 came to an end, Shadow Gallery had plenty of new ideas recorded in the form of demo's, and band meetings decided which songs to press ahead with, and the new album, was slated for recording.
Recording commenced on the last week of April 2000, with Joe Nevolo back behind the drum kit with producer Gary manning the boards at the Menagerie Recording Studio. The band last recorded drums there in 1995 for the song TIME (Pink Floyd) from the disc "The Moon Revisited". The first project of the new millennium in the year 2000 was to become another guest spot.
This time Gary contributed a Guitar solo and a keyboard solo to the disc "Flight of the Universal Migrator" by the band AYREON. He's featured on the song "Through the Worm Hole". At the same time in the spring of 2000, James Labrie and Magna Carta were anxious to start the next MULLMUZZER adventure and again turned to the songsmiths from Shadow Gallery for some songwriting collaborations.
New songs were written and Demo'd throughout the spring of this year, while Shadow Gallery continued recording for their fourth studio release. Shadow Gallery's latest disc was finished in Early November 2000 and a mix was scheduled for December of that year. James LaBrie flew down to continue working on three new songs with Gary and Carl for the second MullMuzzler CD.
In December, Gary flew out to STUDIOCHICAGO in Chicago, Illinois, to co-mix with Veteran NEIL KERNON. The CD was finished by years end and sent off for mastering. In February of 2001, Gary recorded electric and acoustic guitars for the new Magna Carta release, EXPLORERS CLUB II.
The rhythm section also boasted TERRY BOZZIO on Drums, and JOHN MYUNG (Dream Theater) on Bass. This exciting CD, headed by TRENT GARDNER of Magellan should be ready by the end of 2001. On April 11th, Shadow Gallery released their long awaited disc, LEGACY.
The CD appeared in Europe a month later. In July of 2001 Mike Baker appeared as "Melzi" on the release "Leonardo - The Absolute Man by Trent Gardner. In September of 2001 Mike and Gary completed their contributions on the Magna Carta CD - The December People - Sounds like Christmas. January of 2002 brought word that Gary was performing on Arjen Anthony Lucassen's Star One project CD. The year 2004 brought a beehive of activity from the band. In March of 2004 the band began the recording process for the 5th Shadow Gallery Release, while in May of that same year was the release of Ayreon - The Human Equation with Mike Baker singing on the song "Day 16: Loser".
Gary completed his contributions to the Shadrane project with the first release "Neurastasia." And the news in November that Shadow Gallery had signed with Inside Out as their new label rounded out a successful 2004. In 2005, Shadow Gallery saw "Room V" released to great critical acclaim.process in support of "Room V". .
- April 1992
- Magna Carta
Carved in Stone
- June 1995
- Magna Carta
- September 1999
- Magna Carta
- May 2001
- Magna Carta
- June 2005
- InsideOut Music
- August 2007
- Magna Carta
- October 2009
- InsideOut Music