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Sanctus Ignis

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (4 Jun. 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Spv
  • ASIN: B00005J7AQ
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 661,273 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Format: Audio CD
This CD is a true jem. Adagio is a project by Stephen Forte, a French guitar player (with a picture of Malmsteen above his bed - you should hear him play), with members of Elegy, Pink Cream 69 and Majesty. The music can be labeled as neo-classical speed/power/progressive. All the song structures are great, that keep the listener in ecstasy with the great rhythms of the guitarist, the outstandable voice of David Readman (Pink Cream 69) and the great rhythm section that appears in the project. Oh, and also the great keyboard parts played by Forte himself. Songs like "Second Sight", "The Inner Road" (my favourite), "The Stringless Violin" command the listener to press "Play" again. Adagio have made a really good job for a project. The music reminds some times of Yngwie Malmsteen(mostly in the guitar parts), or Symphony X. Buy with no fear!!!
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Format: Audio CD
From the first seconds of the opening of "Second Sight", you know you are in for something different from the norm.

The baroque stylized choirs, orchestra (though synthesized), the piano, the melancholy guitar soloing of Stephen Forte, the 7th string heavy riffing, the occasional church organ, bells or harpsichord and David Readman's (Hard Rockish but strangely not out of place) voice all combine to create a glorious atmosphere that summons up images of Gothic Cathedrals and sophisticated French aristocrats.

The tone of this album is pretty dark, focused on minor key melodies, but its all in the name of epicness instead of anger so works perfectly with the posh vibe. When you're in the right mood the atmosphere will envelop you completely and you will be inclined to get out some expensive red wine. Having so much poshness on an album these days is very refreshing. Even the lyrics are deep and tackle topics such as death (Stringless Violin), sin and "Second Sight". Some tracks like The Inner Road are more philosophical. There seems to be a Catholic vibe to the lyrics especially in songs like "In Nomine..."

There are no ballads but there are 2 instrumentals (excluding the bonus demo track), one of which is a cover of Led Zepp's famous Immigrant Song which is barely recognizable in its new neoclassical attire. They are not out of place as this is quite an instrumentally driven album. Speaking of which we have TOP TEIR musicianship on this album. I have already mentioned Stephen Forte's truly excellent and virtuosic guitar playing but Anderson on keyboards (excellent solos and keyboard tone choices) and the other members of the band (the bassist and the drummer get their chances to shine) do a fantastic job too.
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Format: Audio CD
Well first I'm not a "proper" metal fan, I have a lot of time for neoclassical/symphonic/operatic metal though, bands such as Therion, Nightwish and Symphony X. As a reference point these bands are quite a good idea of where this album is pitched. There are metal drums and guitars prominent in the songs, but there is a real melodic emphasis on them.
The vocalist is talented and unlike some in this genre, has a reasonably well-textured voice, it doesn't make you cringe. The guitarist, Stephan Forté who is the leader of the band is exceptionally talented, think Yngwie Malmsteen and you'll get some diea of the talent and the type of music to expect. His solos are impressive. The keyboard parts are also quite complex and technically excellent.
A highly unusual cover of Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song is one of the tracks which deserves mention. Calling it a cover is a bit unfair as it has enough originality to be a distinct song, yet it is instrumental, and has a solo violin part as well. The Stringless Violin is probably my favourite track, starting with an organ part that is "inspired" by JS Bach's Toccata And Fugue in D minor and then opens into a great song. There are a couple of weaker tracks where nothing seems to really get going, but overall the songs are interesting and sustaining. Technical excellence, mature composition and above all pleasant to listen to.
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Format: Audio CD
I was expecting a real major breakthrough after reading so many favorable reviews. However, I honestly couldn't find anything absolutely original here, except for the highly complex drum structures. To me, the album sounded almost identical to Symphony X, but without soul, melody and musical texture characteristic in the prog/power metal genre.

Overall, I rate this 9.5/10 for overall musicianship (drummer Dirk Bruinenberg gets 10+!), but only 7/10 for composition and originality. Good music is not about how many notes you can play at a time.

David Readman's voice is flat. The guitar sound is almost a copy of Yngwie's, although Stephen Forte's composing abilities are much better than Malmsteen's. Remember: the best lead guitar solos are the ones one can sing along with. Lastly, the keyboards sound totally computer generated, fake and without feel.

Something very unique about Sanctus Ignis is the spectacular performance of drummer Dirk Bruinenberg (Elegy / Consortium Project). I mean, how can anybody come up with those thunderous and imaginative double bass beats, is beyond me. The fast tempos are often offset by beautifully crafted slower patterns. Bruinenberg's drum lick repertoire and odd timing bag of tricks is endless. Nevertheless, his best stuff can be heard with Elegy, not here. Elegy to me is (was?) a much better band.

Most reviews here highlight Forte's guitar performance. However --for a change-- it is very important to acknowledge the astonishing level of drumming accomplished by Bruinenberg. This album is a must for any drummer or musician willing to learn how to push the envelope into un-chartered territory. Get his stuff from Elegy (sadly, a very underrated band)... their music is in a league of their own and much better than Adagio's.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars 21 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is some top-quality music here! 12 Nov. 2003
By geetarfreak - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Adagio was an experiment for me. I love it when my expectations are surpassed. Every song on this disc is really awesome. There may be an ever-so-slight Symphony X flavor, but Adagio is certainly unique. There is a very strong classical presence here, especially with the keys. Unlike most classical rockers, which tend to have the same drum beat in every song, Adagio maintains the ever changing element of Prog. Singer David Readman is awesome. His range and power is phenominal. I consider him one of the best singers in the genre. Stephan Forte is a world class musician, not just a great guitarist. His solos are tasty, yet display a measure of melodic restraint. The keys are very strong as well. The drums are also very strong. Again, not the typical constant doublebass that many power metal bands use. All the songs are great, but "Second Sight" really gets the album off to a good start is is the most solid song on the album. Buy this album, I HIGHLY recommend it!
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You won't believe your ears 1 Oct. 2003
By Matt Stoessel - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Some of you came here for reviews, but see "Stratovarius meets Dream Theater. nuff said" and wanna laugh. I'm here to help.
Mabye I've only had the CD for 8 days, but sounding like Symphony X, it's easy to pick out how Adagio sounds. Also, they sound quite like a particular element of Rhapsody, but I can't put my finger on it right now... As I said before, they sound like Symphony X. Well, combine that with... let's call it 80% Symphony X, 20% Rhapsody. This should get you close to what you'll hear on Sanctus Ignis.
Somewhere I got the impression that this band is more hard rock-ish than metal. WRONG! Imagine a heavier Symphony X with better, less obvious keyboards. There aren't any abnormal sounds - just the regualar atmoshphericness the keyboards create. The biggest problem I have with this CD is the bass on the last song. It blisters my ears and makes them bleed! Do you have Amon Amarth's CD "Versus the World"? On the bonus disk's last 5 or so songs, the bass sounds like this. A better way to describe it would be to say an older death metal bass sound. That might be hard to understand for melodic metal fans. Well, sorry, I can't think of any better way to describe it.
Again, I've had this CD barely more than a week and have only listened to it twice, but I can tell you a bit about how good some of the songs are. First of all, there aren't many lyrics - there are I think 3 entirely instrumental songs on here. Track 5 is an 11:40 minute epic - pretty long, huh? Like many other great epics, it changes speed a lot. You should get into it if you like Stratovarius's epics, and even Avantasia's "The Tower". Back to the opener... it's not an intro. Track 1 is over 6 minutes and has one of the coolest keyboard beats I've ever heard around the 1 minute mark. That should definetely draw you into the album - dying to hear more. The only other thing I can remember is that the epic is followed by a 4 minute instrumental song.
Also, Limb Music Products includes the band's founder's life story with music. I found that wonderfully interesting to read. So overall, if you're deciding to buy this album, check out Odessey (by Symphony X) and think about what you think of some of the epics you have heard. Then, tell me if my review helped you or not - other people want to know. THEN, after that, check out my other reviews.
You know, right now, I'm listening to the closer on Episode, by Stratovarius. "Night Time Eclipse" is short for an epic, but displays all the characteristics for an epic you should need to be aware of to know what Sanctus Ignis's epic sounds like.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Display of Symphonic Prog Power Talent 2 July 2001
By Lee C. Ratcliffe - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I must admit - I was a bit skeptical upon my first listen to "Sanctus Ignis", primarily due to the potential for major Symphony X plagarism. However, upon subsequent listens, this recording has grown on me in many ways. Adagio's writing technique is unique and powerful, not to mention each musician's virtuosity on his instrument. Foremost, Stephen Forte is simply a guitar prodigy, and his keyboard programming really shines as well. Richard Andersson (Majestic) has a clean, precise tone to his speedy runs and arpeggios. Dirk Bruinenberg (Elegy) is a powerful, fast and tasteful drummer, who compliments each arrangement while still adding force. David Readman (Pink Cream 69) is a wonderful singer, reminding me of Stephen Fredrick of Kenziner or even D.C. Cooper. And last but not least, Franck Hermanny on bass is just the low end that Adagio neeeded to complete a successful neoclassical progmetal epic such as this. All in all, "Sanctus Ignis" is a wondefull addition to any progmetal fan's collection, uniting strong classical elements with powerful and complex arrangements, all while keeping a strong sense of style and talent. The most memorable part for me would be on track 3, "In Nomine..." when the thunderous double bass groove kicks in right after a melodic classical interlude...genius!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prog Neo Classical at its best... 8 Aug. 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Every now and then, but not to often will an album just come along and really just blow you away. I havent been able to stop listening to this album since I got it a year ago. If you love bands like Stratovarious and Symphony X you really must pick up this album. Steven's classically inspired complex arangements of Synth/Organ and Shred Guitar leans torwards Symphony X meets ELP..but still maintaining its own unique feel..Definately check out Stringless Violin, which is definately this albums stand out song..but dont worry, you will not find yourself skipping songs just to hear that one, since all the other tracks compliment that one nicely. Steven also did a awesome job on The Immagrant Song, which I had to listen to about 20 times to even start to hear some Zepplin in it, its not really a cover, more like a new take on an old theme.
....A few things I didnt like about this album: Steven tends to "overuse" that churchy pipe organ sound which drowns out the guitar on a few tracks and which gives the album a sort of religious feel to it, not to mention a few songs do have religious themes in its lyrics...Im not sure if that was the intention or not, but it does give the album a Main Theme or "feel"...
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent beginning, showing high musical talent 26 Jun. 2005
By Justin Smith - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Stephen Forte's Adagio project begins with this album. The liner notes for this album state that Forte relentlessly studied and practiced the style of Ynjwie Malmsteen, and the similarity is evident. The band bears some resemblence to the more well-known Symphony X, but there are some differences. Adagio incorporates far more classical/baroque passages in their songs. Often these will even be played with a piano or harpsichord (or a keyboard that is emulating the sound).

There is something missing from this band, and I have a bit of difficulty placing it. Perhaps it needs a stronger emotional connection. Or perhaps it is that the emotional feel throughout the album is fairly constant, and there isn't enough variety.

There are some great songs here and some great parts of songs. The Stringless Violin is probably the best song on the album, featuring some beautiful piano work, remarkable chorus melody, and Forte also plays with some soul (I hate when guitar players only shred).

The talent here is undeniable. Just in his mid-twenties, Forte demonstrates a level of technical skill on the guitar, combined with some knowledge of when to show restraint (which I am sure he will learn more about as he grows older), that places him in the same calibre of much more famous guitarists like Yngwie. The other musicians also show their stuff fairly well. The drumming stands out, as do the powerful, rich vocals.

I would give this album a rating of 7.2/10. I translate this to a 3-star rating here (Worth having in your collection, but it won't be something you listen to all that often).
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