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Adagio - Dominate CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.58 | 64 ratings

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3 stars I'm about to review for me the biggest disappointing album for the beginning of 2006, so it is gonna be a bit longer than usual. If I had to review this album after only one listen, I would have given only one star - really felt the inspiration was gone. But listen after listen I changed my mind and eventually found that the songs on this album were pretty good. So what's so different from the last two albums? First, the songs are much shorter, basically meaning there are less symphonic parts and slow/mid paced songs and more heavy/fast paced songs - I just regret the piano work of the last two releases that is almost gone here. Second, there is a new vocalist on this album, Gus Monsanto - but here it is quite a good surprise, his voice in the same power metal style being quite enjoyable. Finally, growled vocals are used on three songs, and that is probably the main problem of this album - the death metal growls simply don't fit the music at all and, when used, are totally unlistenable. The only thing that didn't change on this album is the impressive guitar work of Stephan Forté. So I was about to give four stars for this release when I decided to listen to "Underworld" again for a quick comparison. And of course "Dominate" cannot stand the comparison at all... so I settled for a three star rating instead. And now the detail song by song...

"Dominate" starts like a Cradle Of Filth song with some synth and growling waaaahs. After 40 seconds though, the characteristic guitar play of Stephan Forté kicks in and shows that is it still Adagio after all. Then Gus starts singing with a classical power metal voice backed up with growled vocals (from himself? Stephan?) The melody on this song is very catchy, very enjoyable power metal. No piano, but a few synth here and there. However, the death metal part just after mid song is simply horrible... (8/10)

"Fire Forever" is a pure power metal song. Nothing progressive here, it simply feels like it's Helloween playing not Adagio. Fast paced, guitar oriented metal, probably the weakest song on the album. (7/10)

"Terror Jungle" has a really weird intro with heavy guitar, piano, synth, all blended in a strange fashion. The song then turns into a mid paced metal, very enjoyable guitar driven song again. The voice of Gus Monsanto is awesome on this track. However, like on the first song, the small part with growled vocals after two minutes is horrible and could have easily been avoided. (8/10)

With "Children Of The Dead Lake", the Adagio of the first two releases makes a strong return. The melody is symphonic metal with fast paced guitar, keyboards and piano are pushed in the front, and there is even a piano interlude after three minutes. However, when compared to the songs on "Underworld", it's still a bit lower in quality. (9/10)

"R'Lyeh The Dead"... or how to waste a masterpiece in one lesson. Beautiful intro with piano and synth, followed by one minute of orchestral instrumental before the guitar kicks in. Here the most interesting part are the clean vocals - very high pitched on the verses, very heavy (Dio like) on the choruses. Definitely one of the best songs on the album... but why those stupid growls on the verses? Some whispered/spoken words would have fit better for the first part, and the clean voice alone better for the second part. (9/10)

"The Darkitecht" is undoubtedly the song that sounds the most like classical Adagio. Piano intro, slightly sad melody, flawless vocal performance and guitar work, piano interlude... this song has everything. One of the highlights of this album... (10/10)

"Kissing The Crow" is a beautiful ballad. A frail piano and background synth accompany Gus's emotional voice. Almost cried the first time I listened to it... but unfortunately this song is too short... *much* too short. (10/10)

Finally the album ends with the cover of Irene Cara's pop song "Fame". On an album with only eight songs that lasts just above forty minutes, you would expect a great closing track... at least something better than this stinker. (2/10)

Rating: 79/100 (very good)

zaxx | 3/5 |


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