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The FRENCH Connection - 80%

DREAMASTER, March 2nd, 2003

When the French guitarrist Stephan Forté decided that was time for him to do an album, for that goal, he recruited the services of the Pink Cream 69 singer David Readman, the Majestic keyboard player Richard Andersson and Elegy drummer Dirk Bruinenberg. Although he didn't knew what the results would be, this debut album is a great piece of work. Stephan,inspired in the classic composers built a sound for his musical project, that he called Adagio(which mean something smooth, a word used in classic music), supported in classic music . So, it's not odd to see a painting from the Renaissance as the album cover.
The album is very well produced. The sound of Forté guitar and the keyboards was mixed very well since there are some duels between these two, as well as the drums, mainly the drumbass that has real punchy sound and last but not least the voice of David Readman is very well mixed because the choirs that appears in the songs does not stands out over the the singer's voice. Readman's voice it's very stronger and melodic but very different from the usual voice that most power metal use. So, if you like power metal and are sick of the same singers voice, you have here the alternative.
This album has some really strong songs that stand out from others and what is funny is that they are at the begining of the album and not at the end.
The album begins with the song "Second Sight" which is a mid-tempo song(very different from many metal albums that start with a fast song) that intruduces us to the sound of Adagio. My only complaint, is that this music ends with some classic keyboards sound that ruins a bit the feeling you get from the whole song. Nevertheless, this is a very good song
"The Inner Road" begins with a good guitar intro. Here David Read shows the great and the powerful voice he has. The keyboards sets a good mood in this song where you get great guitar solos and also some keyboards solos too. Different from the first song, this one ends with a beautiful keyboards classic sound.
"In Nomine..." begins with a neoclassic keyboards intro that burst into a great fast section where we have a good keyboards solo. Then we have a great moment where you only hear the keyboards, very smooth and the power of the drums with a real punchy sound. This song is really great.
"The Sringless Violin" is no instrumental songs with violins. This song begins with a great keyboards intro. This songs changes between a fast and a mid-tempo pace. In the middle of the song we have a great interlude between the guitar and the keyboards. Once again, you can hear the powerful voice of Readman and also another strong song.
Then comes the epic song of this album called "Seven Lands Of Sin" which begins with a somewhat spooky intro that starts growing in a mid-temp pace to a dark interlude with a great vocal choir and bells sound, followed by a great guitar solo. The song ends in a good fast pace.
The "Order of Enlil" is an instrumental song that begins with a very nice intro with some oriental sounds and with a great duel between guitar and keyboards.
These have been the strong tracks of this album. The next ones are above average.
"Sanctus Ignis" is the song that gives the name to the album and shows us again the great voice of Readman.
"Panem et Circences" begins with a very good drum intro that burst into a fast section. Here you have also an interlude with a very emotional guitar solo, followed by an intricate fast section.
Then we've the Led Zeppellin cover "Immigrant Song" where we have a great guitar work. The keyboards give it a good mood and also a very good additional percursion and string section.
The European bonus track "Niflheim" give us a very nice instrumental version of this song, where you can hear a real beautiful guitar solo.

Agagio begin their career with a strong debut and is a promise in the world of metal.

This album is for people that like to hear different sounds, are not restricted to a genre and are tired to hear the same sound that recent power metal bands deliver. This album is a change for better.