Adagio
Sanctus Ignis

When I learned of some of the musicians participating in Adagio, I knew I had to do all I could to check this one out. Spearheaded by 24 year-old French guitar prodigy Stephan Forte, Adagio crank out some of the most intense, vigorous, and masterful symphonic Prog Metal this side of Symphony X.

Sanctus Ignis is a record that demands to be heard by fans of Prog and Melodic Metal alike. To realize his dream, Forte assembled some incredible musicians. Drummer Dirk Bruinenburg (Elegy), keysman Richard Andersson (Majestic), and bassist Franck Hermanny all step up and give performances dripping with passion and precision. The crowning jewel in Adagio’s already blinding crown is vocalist David Readman (Pink Cream 69). This guy’s voice is simply astounding. His golden throat completes this mammoth line-up of talent and truly brings the music of Adagio to fire-breathing life! No pointless screaming, no overbearing vibrato shenanigans, just pure, heartfelt, powerful melody delivered to sheer sonic perfection. Forte’s guitar work here is all at once beautiful and stunning. Driving rhythms, attention grabbing solos, powerful melodies and a strong tonal presence all flow from this man’s fingers in effortless fashion. Andersson’s keys are equally impressive, giving even the master Jens Johansson a serious run for his money with melancholic piano passages, engulfing synth textures and commanding solos. Bruinenburg and Hermanny both juggle the driving metal rhythms and intricate time and tempo changes to flawless results.

Picking individual highlights is a nearly impossible task. Opening cut ‘Second Sight’, the dramatic intensity of the title track, the Baroque melodies of ‘In Nomine”, and the 12-minute epic ‘Seven Lands Of Sin’ all feature tight musicianship, fearless melodies, and awe-inspiring solos. An added bonus is the instrumental adaptation of Led Zeppelin’s ‘The Immigrant Song’, both for it’s flawless execution and being an unusual choice for a cover. I simply cannot rave about this record enough. Adagio just doesn’t boast a collection of name players then deliver a half-baked product.

 Sanctus Ignis is most definitely hitting on all melodic, progressive and dramatic cylinders, and is a strong contender for “Album of the Year’ honors. Prog Metal fans need this record.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shawn Pelata
May 8th, 2001

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