reviews

Tracklist:     
01 - Next Profundis
02 - Intro´tus/Solvet saeclum in favilla
03 - Chosen
04 - From my sleep... to someone else
05 - Underworld
06 - Promises
07 - The mirror stage
08 - Niflheim

Bandmembers:    
David Readman - Lead vocals
Stephan FortÚ - Guitar
Franck Hermanny - Bass
Dirk Bruinenberg - Drums
Kevin Codfert - Keyboards

Guest musicians:   
RMS Hreimarr - vocals on 4,7
Ensemble vocal de Lyon
Avignon symphony orchestra

Websites:    
www.adagio.fr.st


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Adagio - Underworld
Nothing to Say 2003

Underworld is the second CD from Adagio. This band led by guitarist Stephan FortÚ surprises me for the second time. When their first CD 'Sanctus Ignis' was released I was immediately hoping for a second one.
Now it's almost three years later and this new album didn't disappoint me at all.

There are some changes this time, out is Richard Andersson of Majestic/Time Requiem fame and in is young keyboardist Kevin Codfert. Also musically there are some changes.  The first big influence is John Williams, secondly extreme metal bands like Dimmu Borgir.

But how sounds this CD, will many of you ask. Is the heavier side of Adagio, too heavy?

Read on and find out.

The album starts with 'Next Profundis', an up-tempo  neo-classical song with instead of electronic keyboards, piano sounds.  This song also has a nice piano interlude.

'Intro´tus' is sort of an intro  for 'Solvet Saeclum in Favilla'. This intro is a great choir part with symphonic sounds. Thundering timpanies, drums and violins guide you to the next song. After 2.30 minutes the real song starts.

Powerful singing and great guitar work feature in this song.  In the mix I also think to hear an oboe.

'Chosen' starts with pounding drums and flashy guitars. Overall this song is slower than previous songs. Though this is still an up-tempo one. It features a great keyboard and piano solo. Again David sings his ass off at this one.

Quiet piano tingeling introduces 'From my sleep... to someone else'. It later descends into heavier orchestra sounds. Heavy guitar and organ playing takes over. And then... Adagio turns black metal? Only for nine seconds. Terrific death metal style drumming and the growling voice of RMS Hreimarr, singer of black metal band 'Anorexia Nervosa'. This mid tempo song also has a great guitar solo in Symphony X style. 'From my sleep... to someone else' ends with the same piano sound as in the beginning of the song.

The longest song is the title song 'Underworld', it clocks about thirteen minutes.  Introduced by symphonic sounds and a choir it fades into some great piano playing. The singing is superb and in the entire song you'll hear the symphony orchestra and the choir for extra effect.

The ballad of this album is 'Promises'. This is one of the softest songs on 'Underworld' but it gives you some time to catch your breath again. After all the power of the other songs.

'The mirror stage' is a midtempo song with great keyboard work. And in the end RMS Hreimarr growls some more.

The CD ends with 'Niflheim', this instrumental song was already featured in demo version on the European pressing of 'Sanctus Ignis' as a bonus track.  But this time it's twice as long and sounds much better. A worthy track to end this CD.

All together this CD is very good. The addition of the Avignon Symphony Orchestra and the Ensemble vocal de Lyon add something special to the songs. The production credits are this time shared by Stephan and Dennis Ward, and I think it's a great production. All the instruments are clear in the mix.

All the musicians are great.  David's vocals are superb, Dirk's drumming is stunning, Franck's bass work is outstanding, Kevin's keyboard sounds are wizardy and finally Stepan's guitar work and song writing is outstanding. 

Although the CD is heavier than it's predecessor it didn't annoy me at all. The heaviness just makes it more powerful. Really recomended for everyone who loves Symphony X style neo-classical metal.

90/100

David