In March I got the chance to discover DeRosso in the field of neoclassical shred. This time I am pleased to announce my discovery of French guitar prodigy Stephan Forte and his band Adagio!

Aided capably by Pink Cream 69 member David Readman on vocals and Majestic member Richard Anderson on keyboards, "Sanctus Ignis" has become a very impressive guitar album, albeit with vocals :-)

The first track betrays considerable classical influences, baroque I think, but after that it just lets rip. "The Inner Road" starts off with some blisteringly fast guitar, "Seven Lands of Sin" is a heavy 11+ minute tour de force with amazing guitar work and impressive drumming. Even though the vocalist is really rather good, instrumental tracks like "Order of Enlil" (heavy, eastern-sounding) and "Immigrant Song" (with some Johnson-like crazy guitar parts) are no doubt the climaxes of the album. There is something for the discerning guitar connoiseur in every bar, I can assure you! Even more accessible, 'mainstream' type of tracks like "In Nomine..." and "The Stringless Violin" (parts of it, anyway) cannot lessen the impression that we have here a mature, well-written album with excellent guitar work! Last but not least there's a bonus track titled "Niflheim", reminiscent of Jason Becker, both in its haunting quality as well as the rough sound of the guitar. Excellent!



Written May 2001


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