Carved in Stone
Carved in Stone is Pennsylvania's own Shadow Gallery's sophmore effort, and the first album I bough of theirs after Dream Theater got me into a deep prog groove back in 2002. Most interesting about this album is that there are 20 tracks, but only 7 songs. Oh prog artists, you sly devils.
I think part of the reason why they included all the short interludes is that many of the songs on the album have such a different sound than the rest. The album opens with rockers in Cliffhanger and Crystalline Dream, but then slow down with tracks like Don't Ever Cry, Just Remember and Warcry. The latter two are piano based ballads that show of some great harmony and of course flute solos. Celtic Princess is a segue so long it got it's own title, its not very interesting, just some acoustic guitar and piano, but then the band blindsides you with Deeper Than Life, the heaviest (and best) song on the album. Of course it's a little Jesus-y, but eventually all prog rock gets a little Jesus-y
Following another segue we get to Alaska, which is the best ballad on the album. Sweet and powerful, which, had it been recorded a decade or two earlier by the Eagles or CSNY, would probably make rock radio on a regular basis.
The final song on the album is the epic Ghostship, which clocks in at just under half an hour. There is a lot of filler in between, but the first and last tracks are worth a listen.
The only thing that this album could use is a remaster. The production values on this 1995 offering are pretty shoddy, with snare triggers galore and a really muddy mix.