Stéphan Forté - Enigma Opera Black (2014)

As Adagio gone hiatus for several years now, guitarist Stéphan Forté took time to work more into his guitar compendium. As we already seen from his 2011 releases (The Shadow Compendium), Stephan shock us again with his newest dark opera, an album called Enigma Opera Black (Zeta Nemesis) 2014. This album once again explore the classic road of neo-classical guitar shred. Invited to his party are ex-neo-classical warrior, the legendary ex-Megadeth Marty Friedman on board. As for today's shred generation, they were represented by three most prominent figures, Andy James, Paul Wardingham and Marco Sfogli.

Short Virtuosity Etude acts as entrance to the album. It is exactly what an etude should be, there's enough challenge for re-playing it for passionate guitarist, yet the musical melodic aspect should also exist. For the first full length composition, Enigma Opera Black, Stephan did not let listeners fall into mainstream neo-classical shell. This enigmatic dark piece, featuring Andy James, is in full throttle of blitzing shreds. The same thing happened also in Zeta Nemesis, this low riff dominant song is in exotic scale and for sure Marty Friedman is the right guy to asked for it. The title maybe inspired by Japanese Gundam franchise series, the Gundam Zeta. Sector A: UNDEAD is industrial feel, featuring Australian Paul Wardingham which is also fit his hi-tech style. More rather calm song is Pure, slow tempo but yet again not a very straight forward guitar ballad we used to hear. Entering Sigma Scorpii is in the star and the galaxy feel, this one got a nice drumming groove in the middle part. Stephan also has his India-theme piece called Praying Lord Bhairava At The Foot Of Mount Kailash. A lot of guitarist composed music inspired by this region such as Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. As for the last featuring guitarist, Marco Sfogli, there goes a progressive metal composition in Suspended Tears Into Space. Marco who close association with James LaBrie and his prog solo is happy with this track for sure.

Sure this album is not for every one. Those expected sweet and clean melodic guitar sweep should take pre-caution. Stephan put all his tricky composition in this album. Still the majority of contents can be best to describe as neo-classic in style, blending into djent-like atmosphere. If you like uncompromised shred album, without mainstream cliche licks and riff, Enigma Opera Black will have a lot of stuff to please you.

Favorite track: Entering Sigma Scorpii, Praying Lord Bhairava..... , Suspended Tears Into Space
Metal Harem class: ********* eight stars out of ten

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Stéphan Forté - Enigma Opera Black (2014)

01. Short Virtuosity Etude
02. Enigma Opera Black [Feat. Andy James]
03. Zeta Nemesis [feat. Marty Friedman]
04. Sector A: UNDEAD [feat. Paul Wardingham]
05. Pure
06. Entering Sigma Scorpii
07. Praying Lord Bhairava At The Foot Of Mount Kailash
08. Suspended Tears Into Space [feat. Marco Sfogli]
09. Peace

Stéphan Forté - guitars, keyboards, programming
Co Producer: Kevin Codfert (Adagio)

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