Adagio - Archangels In Black review


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Band: Adagio
Album: Archangels In Black
Release date: February 2009

01. Vamphyri
02. The Astral Pathway
03. Fear Circus
04. Undead
05. Archangels In Black
06. The Fifth Ankh
07. Codex Oscura
08. Twilight At Dawn
09. Getsu Senshi
+ Fear Circus [video]

Adagio is a symphonic power metal band with extreme metal elements. Their new album, "Archangels In Black" is not really all that impressive and yet I like it for some reason, I'm not sure why. Perhaps it is the fact that these guys clearly faced some adversity over the years, what with the constantly changing lineup and whatnot. After all, power metal is also rock music and rock music is about struggle. Or maybe the fact that they try really hard to spruce things up is the reason why I kinda like them. Now, their experiments are usually about as deep as the vampire/gothic shtick attached to this album but they are somewhat charming.

You know that annoying kid that screams at you during an airplane journey? Well, if power metal is like a kid, Adagio would be a kid from a third world country - far less annoying and unable to scream since it is busy making Nike shoes for you. The Nike shoes in this analogy correspond to the various elements of extreme metal that can be heard on "Archangels In Black". Adagio includes a black metal riff in the title track, a Pantera groove in "Fear Circus" and numerous heavy breakdowns that strangely feel right at home amongst the typical symphonic power metal leads, orchestrations and high pitched vocals. At the very least, they make this kind of music tolerable for the likes of me. Unfortunately, the extreme vocals prove to be a weak part of this equation, since they generally lack charisma, uniqueness and power. On the other hand, the guitar playing on this album is usually really impressive, with both the speedy neo-classical solos and the acrobatic riffs being performed very competently.

Nevertheless, Adagio is not menacing in any way. There just isn't enough depth here and the extreme parts are not nearly polished enough. Imagine giving the aforementioned kid a toy gun. You won't be threatened but the kid might look kinda cute. This is also true for Adagio - they are not yet ready for live rounds but it is charming to see them shoot blanks.


Written on 07.04.2009 by With Metal Storm since 2002, jupitreas has been subjecting the masses to his reviews for quite a while now. He lives in Warsaw, Poland, where he does his best to avoid prosecution for being so cool.

Guest review by
My favorite Frenchies are back with a new album called Archangels In Black. Adagio's previous album Dominate aroused different reactions. Some fans liked the new, darker and heavier sound, some were disappointed with this step away from their progressive masterpiece Underworld. I am one of those who liked the new sound, and after hearing the new album's first single "Vamphyri," I knew that the band decided to continue in the vain of Dominate. The result is a concept album dealing with vampires.

published 10.05.2009 | Comments (3)


Comments: 7   Visited by: 198 users
07.04.2009 - 11:28
Adagio is progressive neoclassical. Their first two albums are clearly so, I can't think of any band that sounds as similar to symphony x as Adagio. They even rip off a few parts of SX songs, yet they are good in their own way. Adagio, Angra, and Symphony X are my favorite bands, but you definitely need to know what to look for. Adagio really started to get worse after Dominate, but even so, dominate AND this album have some interesting guitar work. This is a very weird review, but correct in many ways and amusing. Somehow I would like to hear a better description of the band and comparison to their earlier works from someone who knows a bit about them.. Never the less I basically agree, the vocals KILL this album, same goes for Dominate, yet they keep going because the guitarist needs a showcase for his skills. Stephan Forte truly is amazing, and if you don't know check out albums Sanctus Ignis and Underworld.
07.04.2009 - 12:42
Seeker of Truth
I am actually going to review this album when I am allowed to (1 month left), but I must say that the extreme vocals are actually one of the fortes on the album for me; really much better than Palin's clean voice.
Savor what you feel and what you see
Things that may not seem important now
But may be tomorrow

R.I.P. Chuck Schuldiner

Satan was a Backstreet Boy
07.04.2009 - 20:29
Being a long time fan of Adagio (My favourite album of them is Underworld), i have to say i was really anxious to ear this new piece of material named "Archangels in Black" and i was not surprise at all, by the final result as i listened to it, because im used to listen every kind of Metal and i can adapt easily to eventual changes of style that can happen in a Metal band. Adagio is clearly a different band, since "Dominate" and this album proves once again that the band is playing a different style of Metal, adding more death metal vocals, some powerfull blastbeats, and some gothic parts aswell. Don´t get me wrong, i love all the albums of Adagio, including this one, however i fear that Adagio may have lost some of the original fans that idolized their two first albums, because the style of such albums is more progressive and neoclassical than their last two releases.
In conclusion i have to say that, altough this isn´t the best release of Adagio, its still an attractive one to every Metal fan around the World. So enjoy the album and always support this wonderfull band.

PS: The new vocalist kinda reminds me a bit of the first vocalist of Adagio David Readman. At least that´s my opinion. Oh and the beginning of the track "Archangels in Black" is fucking killer! Stay Metal dudes |m|
12.04.2009 - 07:10
Jason W.
Definitely agree with you here, that I wish the band could pull something deeper out musically. This album is a lot of lost potential for me, but I have no real complaints. As the above post says, the title track start off excellent, but... you know, after listening to this album a dozen or so times, I cannot recall what it sounds like after that.

I was hoping for a expansion of the song "Children Of The Dead Lake," from the last album, which was approaching greatness in my eyes, but, instead there is too much time wasted on "heavy" riffs, and not enough of elegance. Fun album, but hasn't changed me yet...
"After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Huxley
13.04.2009 - 12:17
Account deleted
I think its pretty good,I havnt heard their earlier output so cant comment on that..
13.04.2009 - 16:37
I realy cant make up my mind about this album to be honest, i´d say it´s a good album with diversity and i can see great things coming upon us later if adagio decide to develop this sound further, but at this state i´d say it´s quite boring, but very promising thou!
29.03.2010 - 17:38
voodoo turkey
One of my favourite albums of 2009, it was well worth the long wait. I can see why some of the bands old school fans wouldn't like this less progressive effort as much as Underworld or Sanctus Ignis but personally I think they do this kind of Prog/Power Metal a lot better than most bands out there today.

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