In a peripheral sense, much has changed in Adagio’s world in the seven years since their last album, Archangels In Black. That record – the fifth from the French progressive/neo-classical outfit – featured the vocals of Christian Palin, proving to be his sole outing with them. Life is built around the commanding presence of Kelly ‘Sundown’ Carpenter, an American who once sang with them in Japan and had a touring spell with Firewind. Fundamentally, though, their path remains focused. The album is dominated by sweeping orchestral arrangements, bedecked in the staccato riffs of founder, guitarist and guiding light Stéphan Forté. Two further new faces, drummer Jelly Cardarelli and violinist Mayline Gautié, add to the exceptional levels of musicianship. Life’s loose concept is an exploration of fear, joy, sorrow, love, pain and ecstasy and Adagio revel in its weightiness, the title track clocking in at more than nine minutes long. Carpenter is a wonderful discovery and unless he should use them as a stepping stone, Adagio seem poised for a career upturn.