|The French musician Stephan Forte presents this exciting mixture of fabolous guitar parts and breaktaking virtuosity with 2001's Sanctus Ingis. Adagio is the name given to his project, a Yngwie Malmsteen influenced mixture of unmistakable preference for Bela Bartok. Hints from progressive bands such as Symphony X are combined with tough-hitting arrangments. Forte takes all forms of classical music into consideration from Baroque to contemporary composers. He loves the dramatic and melancholic aspects of music despite his positive disposition, perfering compositions written in minor keys. Oriental influences are cleverly integrated into his arrangments, Led Zeppelin's classic 'Immigrant Song' an impressive example of Forte's oriental metamorphosis. Sanctus Ingis can easily be noted as one of the most interesting new releases of 2001.
Sanctus Ingis was produced by Pink Cream 69's bassist Dennis Ward. Dennis won the reputation of the excellent production of his own band's albums along with behind scene studio work for Vanden Plas, Axxis and DC Cooper. There are further ties between Pink Cream 69 and Adagio: PC69 singer David Readman who met Stephan at a summer 2000 concert has placed his services at Adagio's disposal. The examples of how well Readman merges his unique voice with Frenchman's compositions are heard in 'Second Sight', the wonderful opener, the beautiful 'Santuc Ingis' and the monumental twelve minute long 'Seven Lands Of Sin'. Forte asked Readman for his support after being so impressed by his fabolous interpretations. He was looking for a singer similar to Goran Edman or Tomas Wikstrom but both Forte and Readman realized they had musical preferences as well as other things in common while holding long and intensive discussions.
Elegy's Dirk Bruinenberg and long-time friend Franck Hermany as bassist were called in by Stephan as guest musicians. The keyboard abilities of Ukranian keyboardist Vitalij Kulprij seemed a growing reality to the virtuoso guitarist for quite some time. He travelled to Philadephia and recorded a demo with him in a small studio. Contractual problems prevented the recording from being made public. Shelving the plan to one day work on an instrumental album together with his Ukranian friend, Stephan began looking for an alternative musician and then decided to program most of the keyboard parts on Sanctus Ignis himself. For the complex solo parts he was giben impressive assistance by Richard Anderson, keyboarder of the Swedish band, Majestic.
All these musicians helped Stephan realize his visions of contemporary classic metal with Sanctus Ignis, and each one of them left their personal mark on each of the compositions.
The 24 year old Frenchman and guitarist can look back on almost twenty years of musical experience. When he was five years old, he received his first guitar from his brother. The first song he ever learned was by no means a standard guitar piece, but Alice Cooper's "I'm Eighteen". Nine years later he discovered Yngwie Malmsteen. Fascinated by the Scandinavian's virtuosity, Stephan knew from that moment on that he wanted to become a professional musician. He formed his own band and experimented with numerous styles, from Death Metal to Grind Core.
During this time he also took guitar lessons in order to learn every one of Malmsteen's tricks of the trade. When he was 18, he stopped taking lessons but practised up to ten hours a day on his own which, one year later, won him a place at the distinguished CMCN Music Academy in Nancy. On his return home to Montpellier he began extending his musical horizons, occupying himself with classical musical (especially Baroque and Mozart) as well as Jazz Fusion. During this period he also discovered artistes such as Shawn Lane and Allan Holdworth. Stephan also occupied himself with musical theory, and the diverse styles and harmonies of contemporary composers.
His first demo, Visions, released in 1996, won him an endorsement deal with several well known instrument manufacturers.
After opening for his idol, Yngwie Malmsteen in 1998 Stephan began looking at the vocal side of music.
In September 1999 he sent eight original compositions to the French record company, N.T.S., who offered him a lucrative contract practically by return post, and who suggested the chance of forming his own band.
Which brings us to 2001, and the release of his first album, Sanctus Ignis by his band, Adagio. It is a work that presents Stephan's great talents not only as a composer and instrumentalist, but also as an all-round musician. And it is one which gives just a hint of what fans of classical metal epics can look forward to in the years to come.
In 2003, the successor to Sanctus Ignis, entitle Underworld, finally got released. The style remains the same and extremely positive feedback to the album seem to be casual.