I had heard quite a lot about Shadow Keep, a band that was supposed to be a bit like old Queensryche with bits of Dream Theater thrown in. As I am appreciative of both bands (though I do mean old Queensryche here) I reckoned "Corruption Within" would be an interesting, ear-opening release.

The major problem people may have with Shadow Keep is their vocalist, who goes by the name of Rogue M. His high-pitched vocals are not as much reminiscent of Geoff Tate as they are of Sacred Steel's Gerrit Mutz, though for some obscure reason I have no problem with Gerrit where I do find Rogue M.'s vocals distinctly unpalatable. "Mark of the Usurper", the third song on the album, is made especially inaccessible because of the vocals.

Musically, Shadow Keep is thoroughly decent, though not spectacularly so. Overall, the tracks on the album also tend to sound awfully same-ish, both with regard to the instrumentation and the vocal lines. The 'hidden track', Shadow Keep's version of the classic "Queen of the Reich", is not the best interpretation you might wish for, but nonetheless is the best song on the album.

Shadow Keep aren't technical enough to be prog, don't have a good enough vocalist to justify comparisons to old Queensryche, and sound too bland to be memorable.



Written October 2000


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