Tyranny (Shadow Gallery album)

Tyranny is the third album by the progressive metal group Shadow Gallery, released in 1998. It is the first concept album made by the band, and the story that commences on this album is continued in the album Room V.

Tyranny(SG) albumcover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 22, 1998
GenreProgressive metal
LabelMagna Carta
ProducerCarl Cadden-James, Gary Wehrkamp and Shadow Gallery
Shadow Gallery chronology
Carved in Stone
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars link
DPRP8.5/10 stars link

Track listingEdit

Act I:

1. Stiletto in the Sand – 1:57
2. War For Sale – 5:35
3. Out of Nowhere – 4:20
4. Mystery – 5:42
5. Hope For Us? – 6:00
6. Victims – 5:13
7. Broken – 1:54

Act II:

8. I Believe – 8:41
9. Roads of Thunder – 6:06
I. Empowered
II. Virus
III. Powerless
10. Spoken Words – 4:38
11. New World Order – 8:11
12. Chased – 4:36
13. Ghost of a Chance – 5:19
14. Christmas Day – 5:40


Stiletto in the SandEdit

The opening track is an instrumental, presumably referring to the conflict in the Middle East that the protagonist is indirectly involved in.

War for SaleEdit

The story opens with a Man, who explains that he formerly worked for the U.S. government, designing weapons of mass destruction for ongoing conflicts in the Middle East (specifically Iran, as referenced in the lyrics). He becomes aware of the loss of innocent people's lives because of his work, and questions himself and feels guilt. The Man condemns this vast operation of "war for sale" and confronts his corporate leaders.

Out of NowhereEdit

Immediately, the Man is fired from his job - his corporate leaders "slammed the door behind" - and he becomes disillusioned and isolates himself from the rest of the world, afraid everything he suspects about the government is true. Soon he discovers the Internet, and with it discovers people "living" in the Internet; though this brings him temporary solace, it disturbs the Man to know that this is the only human contact he will have for many days to come.


In a chatroom, the Man meets a person (we don't know their gender yet), with whom the Man talks and both argue about the system. Also, the Man mentions that, as he worked on the corporation, is able to hack their computers. He is mesmerized by the "mystery" of how the Internet works, and notes that dawn approaches, meaning that he stayed all night on the computer.

Hope for Us?Edit

The Man's perception of the so far perfect world starts to shatter when he slowly begins to realize how the corporate controlled media affects the lives of everyone. He wonders if there is a place where all can be free, not being controlled anymore. As this day is far away, he gives himself strength to make his way through days to come.


When walking across downtown New York (revealing the story's initial location), he witnesses a man being robbed and beaten in an alley. He rushes to help, but is also knocked out and left unconscious. He wakes up in a basement in the care of some sort of a poor humanitarian service. Once again he questions this life, and how humanity's violence has left everyone "victims". He pleads to the Savior, wondering when he will come to save the victims of the world.


The Man feels lonely and broken, still overwhelmed by his former blindness concerning the world. He could be a hero, but he was blind. Not knowing what to do, he stares into the computer screen.

I BelieveEdit

The Man makes reference to Jesus at the beginning of the song, pointing that Jesus prophesied a better world. Soon he remembers his father's words (portrayed by James LaBrie) and realizes that there's always a chance for change. These words make his spirit rise and now he has hopes that he can do something to change this world, to restore it to its former moral values.

Roads of ThunderEdit

This song is separated in three movements:

  • Empowered: The Man now is talking with his friend (the Man's desperation now hints that it is a woman), and tired of this impersonal relation wants to hear his friend's physical voice on the phone, but the friend is hesitant. To convince them, the Man uses his former skills to create a computer virus and cause chaos in the world's banking system.
  • Virus: This is a short instrumental, possibly pointing to the fact that the Man is creating the virus, interspersed with samples from world financial news broadcasts describing the virus' effect on the world market.
  • Powerless: Once the virus is created, the Man reveals that he has always been a lonely man, and that he needs to talk with his friend by phone. At the end of the song, his phone rings.

Spoken WordsEdit

The Man reveals that he is deeply in love with the woman (portrayed by Laura Jaeger) - now so revealed - and doesn't want to abandon her. But she has something to say to him: she talks of treason, and she is scared because of the consequences that the virus' creation may have brought. Now the Man recognizes that he must run and hide, but he has nowhere to run. His love reveals that she has also been alone, and that his dreams touched her life. She has the idea that they can "rendezvous somewhere far away" and hide away together. While she sends her coded location, she points that he may be being watched. Their conversation is interrupted by an unexpected message ("You have an online visitor in your chatroom.")

New World OrderEdit

The Man is suddenly faced by a government agent (portrayed by D.C. Cooper) explaining to him that he has been monitored and wiretapped all along, and that he is considered a "risk". This agent also explains in exhaustive detail of the New World Order created by U.S. corporations: they control the entire media and, with flawless brainwashing techniques on their side, can proceed to control the entire world. The Man can't believe that he has been spied on the entire time, and that all the revelations he has discovered are in fact true. The song ends as NWO agents are sent out to apprehend him and knock on his door.


This is an instrumental track and, as its name points, the Man is being chased, so he is forced to flee.

Ghost of a ChanceEdit

Time has passed, and now the Man is somewhere in North Dakota, hiding from the government. He feels that he has failed and the world is lost; his only glimmer of hope is that justice will be served at the Last Judgment. The only thing the Man now wants is a safe home, and turns north to Alaska and safety. Musical and lyrical references are made to the song Alaska from Carved in Stone in the second half of the song.

Christmas DayEdit

Now in Alaska on Christmas, the Man misses his life before this all began, when he could truly celebrate Christmas as a joyful holiday. He yearns to spend Christmas Day with his love, now that he is all alone and on his own.


All information from the album booklet.[1]

Shadow Gallery

Additional musicians

  • Larry Burke – spoken word on "Roads of Thunder"
  • Gary Sloyer – spoken word on "Roads of Thunder"
  • James LaBrie – vocals on "I Believe"
  • Laura Jaeger – vocals on "Spoken Words"
  • D.C. Cooper (vocalist of Royal Hunt) – vocals on "New World Order"
  • Paul Chou – violin on "Spoken Words", "New World Order"


  • Ken Lee – mastering
  • Rainer Kalwitz – cover art


  1. ^ (1998). "Tyranny liner notes". In Tyranny [CD booklet]. Magna Carta.