Adagio - Life
Self released
Symphonic Progressive Metal
9 songs (56:42)
Release year: 2017
Reviewed by Joel
Album of the month
Paris, France's Adagio nor founder Stephan Forte needs much of an introduction to those of us who have read or been around MetalReviews for sometime. From its neoclassical roots that later included Power and Symphonic forms of Metal, or the ever changing vocalists, Adagio has always offered something different from disc to disc. The one thing that never wavers is the musicianship heard from Forte and whoever he chooses to work with. With Life, it is self-released, and with it as well, a sound some will embrace(myself), and others may ask what the hell they just listened too.
What are these djent(I hate/loathe this word!) guitar riffs I hear in the beginning of the first song, Darkness Machine I mean staccato riffs that rip right through you, begging for your attention! Yes you may ask how “Modern” has Adagio become? Well except for bits and pieces of this song, and later another two songs which I'll get to. Great vocals come from Kelly Sundown Carpenter, a vocalist of many bands, a voice of rasp yet clarity, and definitely a powerhouse. The chorus is epic, which is something that can be said for a lot of the songs. The Grand Spirit Voyage has the fretwork and melodicness you'd expect from an Adagio release, and the power of Carpenter weaves in and out of the songs varied dynamics. New and permanent violinst Mayline adds her own spice to the beginning of I'll Possess You, which continues the darker tone. Some of the best vocals I have ever heard from Carpenter are heard on this song. I have never heard his softer side without the rasp. It definitely is a highlight song for his voice, but as a composition its one of my favorites on the entire disc. The Ladder has some great guitar playing from Forte as well as some tasteful keyboards/synths that hover in the background yet are easily audible. Each instrument has its own dynamic, its own moment to shine, and like The Ladder there is no one way to describe the song, with varied melodies that all gel together. The title track is the epic in length as well as the music. At just over nine minutes and twenty seconds, it has everything you could expect from Adagio and Forte. Solos! Check! Emotive Vocals? Check! Crazy instrumental section? Check! Amazing Chorus? Well every song has one of those, so Check!
Secluded Within Myself also has those modern staccato riffs I said earlier, as well as Subrahmanya(say that one five times fast!). The latter has one hell of a chorus while the other has driving riffs with some great grooves and growling vocals in parts. Of course both songs have memorable solos as well. When they combine all their elements from Progressive and Symphonic Metal, I think the band shines most, and that is found in the song Torn. This is the song I remembered most after my first listen. A solid driving melody carries the song, and Carpenter's vocal and a reoccuring piano melody are highlights outside of Forte's playing. Speaking of something new, Trippin Away, is definitely something different, but very cool. A soulful yet haunting ballad that closes a frenzied and varied disc known as Life, a high note, with its softest song.

So just after fifty seven minutes of music, I can tell you I will still be listening to this disc years from now. Much how I go back and listen to the nearly eight year old Archangels In Black. Memorable Choruses, great musicianship, and great vocals, all trademarks of Stephan Forte's Adagio. While I have read and heard complaints from fans and critics who don't like the modern stylings, or that word I don't care to say that pops up. I believe the idea behind anything “Progressive” is to allow it to progress, and that is exactly what Life is to me. It does not lose the identity of a once(and still) great band, but it expands it for a new generation, with new ideas!

Killing Songs :
all of them
Joel quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Adagio that we have reviewed:
Adagio - Archangels In Black reviewed by Khelek and quoted 85 / 100
Adagio - Dominate reviewed by Al and quoted 92 / 100
Adagio - Underworld reviewed by Marty and quoted 94 / 100
Adagio - Sanctus Ignis reviewed by Sin and quoted 91 / 100
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