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Adagio Underworld album cover
4.04 | 143 ratings | 17 reviews | 31% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Next Profundis (7:39)
2. Introitus - Solvet Saeclum In Fadilla (8:14)
3. Chosen (7:52)
4. From My Sleep... To Someone Else (6:37)
5. Underworld (13.25)
6. Promisses (5:03)
7. The Mirror Stage (6:31)
8. Niflheim (8:10)

Total Time: 70:08

Line-up / Musicians

- David Readman / vocals
- Stéphan Forté / guitars, composer & arranger, co-producer
- Kevin Codfert / keyboards, pianos
- Franck Hermanny / fretted & fretless basses
- Dirk Bruinenberg / drums

- Ensemble Vocal De Lyon / chorus vocals
- Guy Cornut / choir conductor

Releases information

Artwork: Cedric Galabert

CD Nothing To Say ‎- 3086982 (2003, France)

Thanks to tymed for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ADAGIO Underworld ratings distribution

(143 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

ADAGIO Underworld reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Vanwarp
4 stars My first impression of Adagio was that the music was so full of good symphonic ideas that it totally rules in this particular style and genre of music! My second impression, Adagio is probably one of the best new Symphonic Prog bands to come out in some time! And my third impression, I bought Adagio's latest album Underworld, and I'll buy the next one blindly.

As for Adagio's 2003 studio release, the album continues where Sanctus Ignus left off. On average, the songs are lengthier, heavier, more complex and full of some very cool little musical moments. At one point, you get the feeling the album is skipping - remember when you use to listen to those scratched vinyl albums - but here, the moment is completely staged by the composer and the bands' performance is exquisitely fine-tuned. There is another moment where Forte performs some "oscillating swells" of arpeggios with his guitar, truly an unbelievable moment. The first 5 minutes of the albums' title track has an allure of a big movie soundtrack until finally, Forte allows you to enter his "underworld"!

What can I say? I submitted a lengthier review of Sanctus Ignis for those of you interested in getting more detailed information, do check that album out. Sanctus Ignis is perhaps an easier album to get into while Underworld is definitely more demanding. It is impossible to be disappointed with the music of Adagio if you enjoy music with Symphonic/Prog/Neo-classical metal influences!

Review by MikeEnRegalia
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Summary: This is a masterpiece. A perfect blend of prog metal with an agressive edge and classical music. It's really different from bands like Rhapsody who try to create the impression that there is a fully fledged orchestra playing. Although Adagio also do this occasionally, they mainly use piano and strings/synth/effects which create a rich, polyphonic experience. Usually there are one guitar, one pianist and underlying strings - and of course the bass and vocals.

I won't mention each song here - they are all really outstanding, not at all derivative of bands like Symphony X and Dream Theater. Many rhythmic extravaganzas, purely classical piano interludes by maestro Andersson and stunning guitar solos by Mr. Forte. What I like most about this album is the diversity of the songs which at the same time really work as a whole, every little melody seems to be vital, nothing uncalled-for or forced. The vocals are more than a match for the best vocalist of the genre - namely Russell Allen of Symphony X.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars My first impression was very good about this band from France. Some great musicians plays with great skill and virtosity. I always like Pink Cream 69, so i like the vocals here, very powerful but in the same time very sad. Amazing musicians, i specialy like the keyboard player Kevin Codfert, a trully good keyboard player, for me very jazz sometime and sometime very speed. The drummer from Elegy is a good one, but not a legend. Two tracks are a bomb in this genre Chosen, with a speedy keys, and Next Profundis. A band that needs attention from you because they deserve it. An album that is a succes in every way.
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Progressive Metal with Grandiose Orchestration

This might not be an original idea in terms of musical approach and concept. Someone might claim that the kind of music Adagio plays is pretty similar with Rhapsody or even Symphony X - at least the way lead vocal sings is similar with Russel Allen of Symphony X. But that's not the case of "originality" that I want to talk here. Rather, I would see on the basis of composition (structure, melody, tempo), musicianship, and overall performance. With originality being an "untouched" factor, I can conclude that this album is a masterpiece of neo classical progressive metal. Why do I need to add "neo classical" in here? It's merely due to the fact that the Adagio music is heavily influenced and inspired by classical music. The band states it clearly at the liner notes on inspirations coming from legendary composers. Under this scheme I can see the influence of Yngwie Malmsteen music in this "Underworld" album. It's OK with me on this, especially Adagio raises the bar in their musical standards by advancing the music into the next level.

Oh yes, enjoying this album is like enjoying the music produced during the movie Lord of The Rings plus metal flavor, of course. From the opening track "Next Profundis" you can sense how the band will move forward in its musical journey, combining heavy side of rock music (metal) and orchestration in its best composition - almost perfect! It flows beautifully to next track "Introitus - Solvet Saeclum In Fadilla" (8:14) which introduces great choral line by "Ensemble Vocal De Lyon". It's quite ambitious to combine full choral line, orchestra and power metal with double pedal bass drum. The result is a brilliant music which is very enjoyable and mind boggling. The composition is very tight, supported by high quality vocal by David Readman, filled with stunning guitar fills and riffs by Stéphan Forté - the band's mastermind. The guitar solo part combined with acoustic guitar fills and keyboard work is truly brilliant. Prog metal ruleszzz.!!!

"Chosen" (7:52) proves that the band's existence in prog metal scene has a very strong base. The opening part is a piano work with really touchy melody combined with keyboard which makes up a symphonic style. What follows is a power metal music in fast tempo and it slows down a bit when vocal enters the music. Structurally, this song is relatively complex ( a bit) especially when it is combined with orchestra. Stéphan Forté really wants to prove that Adagio can take up a challenge being a beautifully orchestrated power metal music at par excellent with bands like Rhapsody.

"From My Sleep... To Someone Else" (6:37) takes a deeper classical approach with its colossal opening reminiscent of classical music. The piano work is truly excellent. I think Kevin Codfert is a very talented musician. The music then screams with high register notes in fast tempo and slows down a bit for lyrical part.

The title track "Underworld" (13.25) is another colossal approach suitable for the opening of a movie theater. The opening part creates great nuance that set the whole atmosphere of the song and also the album. It's grandiose and it's great. Having been brought with full orchestration, the band continues with sweet ballad with acoustic guitar as main rhythm section augmented with keyboard under "Promisses" (5:03). This song has a powerful melody. "The Mirror Stage" (6:31) continues the previous style of "Promisses" but this time with heavier style of power metal. The album concludes with an excellent instrumental "Niflheim" (8:10) plus bonus track "Missa Aterna" (6:37).

If you like Symphony X, Rhapsody, Yngwie Malmsteen, there is an excellent opportunity that you might like this album. Overall, this album is very enjoyable and very dynamic in terms of composition and overall performance. It's highly recommended. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild, GW

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Adagio is a French prog metal band that is appreciated by many but I can't say I share the enthusiasm. The album "Underworld" combines metal with some orchestral flourishes. The compositions are long and complex. The guitarist is something of a Malmsteen virtuoso with lightning note solos. The vocals are a bit gravelly and in the upper register. The orchestral embellishments are very nice where they occur.

My problem with the album is two-fold. First, the drumming is the kind of mechanical blast drumming that is so static throughout this album that it completely destroys any interest I have in what else is happening. Sure the guy has talent, but the style is not interesting or articulate musically when you have such metronomic playing to the forefront in the mix for 70 minutes. I'd like some variety and some nuance to go along with the speed and attitude. I also felt that the ideas ran a bit short for such a long album. By the end things are all starting to sound the same. My favorite track was the instrumental "Niflheim" which seemed to have the most variety and the best guitar work.

The CD booklet includes full lyrics. Give it a shot if you like the symphonic metal combination AND the kind of drumming described above. Or better yet try a Therion album which inhabits a close musical neighborhood to this but succeeds much better with less flash and tastier melodic textures not smothered by drumming quicksand. A decent but flawed album in my opinion.

Review by Menswear
3 stars Headbanging in a pirate shirt.

Yep, just like the one Bach wore on his paintings with the puffy sleeves and the cauliflower on the neck. On the more serious side, Adagio is offering a nice (but too sparse) blend of baroque and roll. The keyboard player is giving his share of harpsicord and the impressive choir is giving a zest of gothic impression in an album that doesn't really part from your typical metal band. The singer is howling to the moon, the double bass drum is almost always present and the guitars are vertiginous but non-surprising. They have talent, oh yeah.

The only thing that drawed me to this album was the reviews saying 'it's a blend of classical music and metal'. It is, but not enough to give a deep impression. Try it, you probably will like it if you're looking for something melodious, catchy and loud. I just love the blend of classical music and metal, I think it's such a killer approach. But to me the classical vein should've been more exploited; they had something going on some tracks!

Good but needs more cowbell.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Adagio's Underworld is a very tasty and crunchy blend of progressive and power metal underlined with strong influences from classical music. Although it does not bring anything new on the table what hasn't been invented yet, the design and execution is far beyond anything average in this sympho ... (read more)

Report this review (#2044862) | Posted by sgtpepper | Tuesday, October 16, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The codex of neo-classical style of progressive metal This album is a masterpiece for the band Adagio, their best album in many aspects. It is sure a great work of composition and recording. The leader of Adagio, Stephan Forte, went in Lyon (France) to record the choir for the album, to give ... (read more)

Report this review (#1064074) | Posted by nDeck | Monday, October 21, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This Adagio album is the last to feature David Readman, who is my favorite vocalist for the group. Likewise, it was the last appearance of Dirk Bruinenberg, the drummer. This album succeeds in creating a mysterious, bleak atmosphere, yet all the while remaining beautiful. The orchestra lends g ... (read more)

Report this review (#294799) | Posted by Mystery | Tuesday, August 17, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I knew some other band mixing classical music and metal (HAGGARD, THERION, PAR LINDH PROJECT), but this one is specially good in mixing these two main source of inspiration in a balanced and unique blend. Melodies are complex, sometimes purely classical (great piano moments), others close to Pow ... (read more)

Report this review (#207746) | Posted by JethroTree | Thursday, March 19, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Adagio is a great band that is very reminiscent to Symphony X, but with a more classical feel to their music. The songs are incredibly complex, intrincate (and well structured songs), and it actually took some time to grow on me and get complete enjoyment of the album. The atmospheres are dark a ... (read more)

Report this review (#171311) | Posted by Barla | Saturday, May 17, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars POWER AND BEAUTY Adagio was one of the first Progressive Metal bands I've ever heard, in fact this was the first album I've listened from them and the sensation after doing this was very pleasant, since unlikely to Dream Theater, which owns a much more fusion oriented influence, Adagio poss ... (read more)

Report this review (#119698) | Posted by MadcapLaughs84 | Wednesday, April 25, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Ineteresting band, insteresting music. Not bad, but not excellent. A cross between okay and good. They have technicality. But lack in originality in my opinion. They take influence from the usual Dream Theater and Symphony X. Their keyboards were very unique I'd say that's a strong point. ... (read more)

Report this review (#101609) | Posted by Xeroth | Monday, December 4, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The combination of symphonic music, the metal and the progressive rock reaching very beautiful shades that almost can be felt in each digital BIT, which offers to us this I magnify disc of progressive very varied but in if more focused to the mentioned Power Progressive Symphonic, where we can ... (read more)

Report this review (#88652) | Posted by Shelket | Friday, September 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Adagio’s 2nd release „Underworld“ was released in 2003 after a successful debut-album “Sanctus Ignis”. It features 8 tracks (+1 bonus track), which were all written by Mastermind Stephan Forté (music and lyrics) except “Next Profundis” (music by Kevin ... (read more)

Report this review (#78136) | Posted by W.Chuck | Sunday, May 14, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The second Adagio album "Underworld" is a good follow-up to the exceptionnal "Sanctus Ignis". Here the songs are longer... but the main difference with its predecessor is the greater complexity and diversity in the songs: more classical interludes, heavier and softer parts ranging from ballad ... (read more)

Report this review (#73852) | Posted by zaxx | Sunday, April 2, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is the return of the french guitar hero Stéphane Forté This album is more progressive and symphonic than "Sanctus Ignis". It also sounds darker The tracks are longer, on average over 6:00. The symphonic passages can remind soundtracks, especially on the beginning of "Underworld". The o ... (read more)

Report this review (#51187) | Posted by | Monday, October 10, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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