The Room: Beyond The Gates Of Bedlam

The Brit proggers’ melodic and tuneful second album.

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So, what are The Room? An AOR band with highly developed prog skills?

Or a prog band with a keen sense of melody? It doesn’t really matter, because Beyond The Gates of Bedlam is a fine album, however you define it. The second release from this British band, it’s drenched in class, from the Fleetwood Mac-esque opening of Carrie through to the soaring devotions of As Crazy As It Seems and the stabbing, Supertramp-inspired She Smiles. Throughout, Steve Checkley’s keyboard flourishes are crucial in setting the mood, and he comes into his own on The Book, where his ability to complement a simple piano motif with something much more dashing gives the track real flavour and depth. Also notable is his nimble interplay with Martin Wilson’s passionate vocals, which occasionally offer a hint of that inimitable Roger Chapman style throat wobble. It’s this pairing which gives The Room their own niche. However, the rest of the band also play their part, as on Masquerade or Splinter, where their pop sensibilities are profoundly imbued with a sparkling musicianship. These are perhaps the best tracks on an album that is a superb example of prog pop at its best.

Malcolm Dome

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica (opens in new tab), published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009.