LIFE is the fifth album from French symphonic progressive metallers Adagio, although it serves as my first insight into the band. It’s a pretty stellar effort, but there is some room for improvement.
When I hit play and the glorious introduction for opener LIFE filled the room, my immediate thoughts were “YES, THIS IS THE GOOD SHIT RIGHT HERE” and strapped myself in for what I anticipated was going to be a mighty listen. In a sense I wasn’t wrong, but there is a slight problem. The vocals. They’re somewhat overwhelming and don’t quite seem to match the rest of the music. There’s a lot of power and body behind them, and it’s a solid performance, but they’re too in-your-face – the balance isn’t quite right, and perhaps if the levels were reduced a little you’d be able to appreciate the instrumentation that accompanies the vocals a little more.
Nevertheless, LIFE is still a good listen. All the little intricacies, particularly in the symphonic sections, are phenomenal and it’s one of those albums that definitely needs to have a few listens for you to fully appreciate and pick up on every detail. Middle track Darkness Machine is a particular highlight; it draws you in and gets under your skin with some seriously catchy melodies and a good heavy wall of sound to accompany them.
An all-round good album, but admittedly it is let down by the vocal approach – perhaps a more stripped-back or less ‘shouty’ technique would have lent itself better to the music.