So, seeing as oddly I have seem to have time today, why not continue with another band I have great respect for.

Adagio – Underworld
– 4.5/5

Now usually the whole Prog/power style of music bores me. Sometimes some neo-classical is thrown it to speed it up but it never really m
anages to catch my attention for long. Enter the exception to the rule. Most notably, they don’t just have neo-classical elements, there are very strong classical influences here too. I’m talking huge epic grandiose classical sequences – none more prominent than on the title track. And it’s not some sort of gimmick, or a one off intro, its clearly present all the way through the album, providing a distinctly unique sound.

The opening is strong, with a classical yet power metal feel to it, the singing is emotional and powerful, the drumming frequently varying yet allowing the keyboards to have their smooth melodic time working its magic, playing off perfectly with the - frequently virtuosic, always melodic – guitar work. No one element is overdone, but work in unison to provide a creepy, classical and dark sound whilst retaining that core Progressive Power feel. From the ballad “Promises,” the dark epic “Underworld,” the hard hitting “Last Profundis,” the instrumental “Niflheim” or the heavy choral work, and almost demonic sound on “introitus,” this is an album that explores different styles and for the most part does them wonderfully.

The only reason this doesn’t score a perfect 5/5 is that towards the end, some of the songs begin to feel sub-par to other work on the album, or it feels slightly similar to previous tracks, as if they were running out of idea’s. Nonetheless, this is a unique album which many could do well to explore.

Highlights: Underworld, Next Profundis, Niflheim

Adagio – Dominate – 4/5

Gone is much of the classical element here. It’s still present, but takes much more of a background theme. Instead the focus has shifted to a more aggressive neo-classical nature, which whilst still top-notch, means it loses a lot of its originality. The entire album is not as dark as “underworld” but with its occasional growls (e.g. Dominate, the title track) moves into a more thrash-like territory.

Much like “underworld” before it, the opening track is a strong, hard hitting typical prog/power affair. The emotion is still present, and if anything the musicianship has improved - the variety of riffs, high tempo yet melodic solos, and catchy chorus’s providing a new aspect to the band that had yet to be explored. My one gripe is the lack of softer melodic keyboard passages that were frequently present before also seem to have somewhat vanished in their new aggressive style.

Once again there is the ballad track (Kissing the Crow) which in my opinion easily surpasses “promises,” the dark almost black at times “Children of the Dead Lake,” Anthemic “Dominate” and brilliant cover of “Fame,” adding their own personal spin on the classic, repetitive is certainly not something that this band can be called.

So once again, we have a brilliant album from a band that deserves more recognition than they currently receive. Whilst not as original sounding as their previous work, this is a worthwhile addition to their repertoire.

Highlights: Dominate, Kissing the Crow, Fame.

By T. Bawden