Rating:
8.0
Adagio - Archangels In Black
2 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]


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.

After the first full listen, I was disappointed in a most desperate way. All songs except the aforementioned single sounded like fillers. However, after around the fourth listen, the album grew immensely on me. Archangels In Black turned out to have a lot of great moments. The definite strong side of the album is the dark sound taken to a different level through the morbid guitar sound and drumming, corresponding great production and frequent use of growling vocals by the band's new singer Christian Palin. Another strength is the keyboard arrangements, which have been great on all albums. Indeed, Kevin Codfert provides congruous sounds throughout the album whether he is providing background for the rest of the instruments or soloing. I am also pretty happy with the drumming and the bass as well. Actually the sound of all instruments taken as a whole is just phenomenal; each contributes so well to the overall feel that what we get here is a perfectly recorded/produced/mixed/mastered album.

Unfortunately "perfect" isn't the word that comes to my head when I think of the songwriting and soloing. Of course, Stefan Forte has his moments on the album both solo- and riff-wise, but his talent can definitely produce more quality in those spheres. Now let's get back to Mr. Palin, the new vocalist. While I admire his guttural technique (check the chorus on "Twilight at Dawn"), his clean voice is a bit unsatisfactory; most of the time it sounds somewhat weak, strained, and unconvincing (kind of like Dave Mustaine's voice sometimes does), a far cry from what either Gus Monsanto (by the way he did some backing vocals on the record) or David Readman could emit.

So what we have on this album is a mix of Progressive, Power, and bits of Death and Black Metal (mainly in the form of vocals and during some moments musically), an idea which I really like. However, I am not going to overpraise or defend Adagio because they are one of my favorite bands, so… this is the worst album by Adagio with the worst singer up to date, but… Although Archangels in Black suffers from mediocrity here and there, it is still quite an enjoyable record; I guess this is just the charm that Adagio have. Recommended for fans of dark Power Metal a la Evergrey, dark Prog a la Communic, and Symphonic Power fans.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Production: 10


Band profile: Adagio
Album: Archangels In Black


 


written by K†ulu | 10.05.2009


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Staff review by
jupitreas

Rating:
N/A
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.

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published 07.04.2009 | Comments (7)



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DrM - 01.08.2010 at 11:07  
I'm sorry, but did you just compare Palin to Mustaine?

Though not one of my favorite vocalists (however one of my favorite musicians), you have to admit that Mustaine has a lot more depth (most of the times) than Palin.

Good thing they now started working with Levén, heard him performing - now he's a proper singer.
K†ulu - 01.08.2010 at 15:40  
Written by DrM on 01.08.2010 at 11:07

I'm sorry, but did you just compare Palin to Mustaine?

Though not one of my favorite vocalists (however one of my favorite musicians), you have to admit that Mustaine has a lot more depth (most of the times) than Palin.

Good thing they now started working with Levén, heard him performing - now he's a proper singer.


Yes, I compared Palin to Mustaine and I provided reasons for that. I don't know what depth you are talking about. As for me, Mustaine has some sort of sarcastic and pissed-off tones in his voice, but no strength or real charisma.
Mountain King - 17.01.2012 at 18:08  
I think i like this album a little more than Dominate...

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