Adagio - Life album review

Gallic prog metallers find their missing link

Cover art for Adagio - Life album

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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.

Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.