Adiago - Sanctus Ignis - 2001


Adagio is the personal project of French guitarist and keyboardist Stephan Forte, a guitar virtuoso who, being only 24 years old, has collaborated and played with musicians as famous as George Lynch (Dokken) or Yngwie Malmsteen. In order to record his first CD, Stephan has famous musicians with contrasted quality like the singer David Readmand (Pink Cream 69); the drummer Dirk Bruineberg (Elegy); the keyboardist Richard Anderson (Majestic); and the bassist Franck Hermany.


OK, is not a secret that progressive metal (or at least this kind of neoclassic progressive metal) is not my cup of tea. Nevertheless I have to recognize that this CD has surprised me since, although it has the typical tics of the gender, it also has many interesting things, so I won´t throw it to the drawer of the eternal repetitions of Malmsteen or Blackmore. On the contrary of many other current guitarists, this boy doesn't want to recreate Bach note by note and he tries to find his own identity as an artist and also tries to compose songs with different styles (something that Stratovarius, for example, has never achieved). In the same way the listener can notice that Stephan doesn't listen to heavy metal music only. His influences are close to artists such as Alan Hollsworth or Jimmy Page. In fact, Stephan plays in this album a very correct and personal instrumental version of the classic "Inmigrant Song".

And what can I say in favor of this CD?, the mere fact that Forte doses its guitar and keyboard interventions in favor of the compositive work and the whole song, something hard to see in this style of music. Stephan is speedy when he should be speedy, he has feeling when the occasion requires it and he is not embarrassed of supporting the vocals with rhythm guitars instead of "delighting" us with eternal and fast guitar solos. Evidently we have also some keyboards solos a la Johansson, a lot of baroque Malmsteen-like guitars, and a little bit of teenager rookie epic poetry (ahhh, those titles in Latin language).

Inside the Baroque-like wave we have tracks like "In Nomine..." (5:07); "Sanctus Ignis" (4:07); "Panem et Circenses" (5:21) or "The stringless violin" (7:00) that remaims me bands like Stratovarius, Y.W´s Rising Force, Royal Hunt, etc.…, although the most interesting and original tracks are the most personal, such as "Second Sight" (6:07); "The Inner Road" (5:04); "Order of Enlil" (4:19); and, mainly, the 11:40 minutes of "Seven lands of sin". Tracks in which, as I said, Stephan demonstrates its capacity as composer.


If you enjoy with serious progressive metal bands as Symphony X or Vanden Plas this CD will satisfy you. If you have recently arrived to the world of the metal prog and you think that Rhapsody is the best band of the gender, you will be surprised with Adagio. Perhaps I will be wrong, but I am sure that Stephan Forte will be very big in a short time if we compare his music with the rest of European metal prog bands.

author - date - rating - label

Alfonso Algora  - May 2001 -   - Limb Music