Sound — 10
Oh man, this band is talented on a level that I can't even describe. Think of Symphony X, but much, much darker-sounding; and even heavier! That is the closest I can get to describing Adagio in words. They have a sound that's so familiar yet so unique at the same time. High, powerful vocals with wickedly demanding guitar playing, as well as an amazingly layered keyboard style that sends chills down your spine every time you listen to it! Stephan Fort is a mind-blowing guitarist that deserves to be among the ranks of other players such as Michael Romeo (of course) and even Yngwie Malmsteen (note that Yngwie is my idol)! Furthermore, Richard Andersson, who is now the keyboard player in Time Requiem, also added layers to the songs that will leave you scratching your head in awe of the musical genious on these songs. Every tune on this album is a jem--even the intrumentalized version of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song." As far as debut albums go, I think that better ones than this are very sparse.
Lyrics — 9
A singer that I can immediately contrast to Symphony X's Russell Allen, except this guy's more operatic than he is heavy on his vocals. On many songs the singing motives are generaly the same but fit them all well. David Readman has a really good range and adds a cool depth to most of the songs. The lyrics themselves on the other hand are generally simplistic & don't seem to have any true dark feelings to them (which is the only part of this album that doesn't reflect the rest of the music). However, on tunes like "The Stringless Violin" and "The Seven Lands Of Sin", your spine is always subject to chills in certain moments.
Overall Impression — 10
All-around, this is an incredible album. As a debut it's great, but in terms of Adagio albums it was only a beginning. This is a great starting point for people who wanna check these guys out, then get each album afterwards to discover one of the greatest progressions as a band that I've ever come to know. Every song is pretty much great but I'd have to say that "The Inner Road", The Stringless Violin" & "Seven Lands of Sin" are my favourites. If this album were ever lost/stolen etc. I'd defintiely get another copy, this album's just worth it (too bad it's difficult to find). In the end, I'll have to put it this way: for fans of Symphony X, this band should be right up your alley!