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Adagio: Dominate

French guitar whiz Stephan Forté has reorganized his band's lineup with Adagio's third release. With David Readman's departure, they now have a new vocalist, Gus Monsanto whose voice is adequate for the task. The press release promised an album "more powerful and darker" than previous efforts, but it left me a little cold. "Dominate" is an OK neoclassical number marred by Death-like vocals which really ruined the track for me. "Fire Forever" is a typical Yngwie-styled speedball. "Terror Jungle" was not better than the sum of its parts - a keyboard solo here, a guitar solo there, it didn't cohere much as a song. "Children of the Dead Lake" was darker Royal Hunt territory, with piano substituting for keyboards, and for some reason, I found the dissonant piece one of the album's better tracks. "R'lyeh the Dead" was more Death-tinged atomospheric filler. "Darkitecht" featured some great progressive touches, while "Kissing the Crow" was a shortened attempt at a ballad. The choice of "Fame" as a cover was bewildering - I kept wondering how much differenlty At Vance's Oliver Hartmann would have done with the same material. Notwithstanding the occasional deviations, this is still your standard neoclassical record, with lots of flash and enough arpeggiated solos to keep you happy. It won't blow your socks off, but if you're a fan of the genre and Forté's past efforts, it's worth a listen.

Track Listing
1. Fire Forever
2. Dominate
3. Terror Jungle
4. Children of The Dead Lake
5. R'Lyeh The Dead
6. The Darkitecht
7. Kissing The Crow
8. Fame
9. Undying (Japanese bonus)

Added: September 22nd 2006
Reviewer: John Larocque
Related Link: Adagio Website
Hits: 3287
Language: english

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Adagio: Dominate
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-09-22 16:49:24
My Score:

Replacing a vocalist of David Readman's stature can't be easy, and it showed when Adagio performed at ProgPower USA V in 2004 with new Brazilian vocalist Gus Monsanto. To be fair, Mosanto had only recently stepped in for Readman, who returned to his main gig in Pink Cream 69 shortly after this French neoclassical progressive-metal band released its second album, 2003's Underworld. On Dominate, Adagio's third album and first with Monsanto at the microphone, the band reins in its pretentious sound. Darker, more aggressive songs like the title track, "R'Lyeh the Dead" and "Terror Jungle" fit in well next to more traditional Adagio pieces such as "Fire Forever" and "The Darkitecht," while "Children of the Dead Lake" bridges the two approaches - although the initial impact of these recordings could be jarring to some fans who've been with the band since its formation in 1997. Guitarist Stephan Forté's fluid soloing still, um, dominates, and Monsanto seems to have grown into his role as the band's frontman. Despite running only eight songs and 42 minutes (considerably shorter than Adagio's debut, Sanctus Ignis), Dominate probably is Adagio's most accessible and satisfying record - at least if you don't count the misguided cover of "Fame" (from the movie of the same name, not the David Bowie classic).

Incidentally, the dark overtones will likely continue on Adagio's fourth outing, as Forté reports that the band's next record is to be titled Archangels in Black.

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