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    Main » 2010 » April » 30 » Deus Ex Machina - 1991 - Gladium Caeli
    Deus Ex Machina - 1991 - Gladium Caeli
    Deus Ex Machina - 1991 - Gladium Caeligenre: heavy prog
    country: italy
    quality : lossless (ape, cue, log, bookletscans)
    time: 67'37 size: 418 mb

    The literal translation of "Deux Ex Machina" states "God in the Machine." In common usage however, the phrase represents something that has come out of nowhere and taken everybody by surprise. It is the latter interpretation that fits this band's music. Deux Ex Machina has come out of nowhere. An Italian band whose first album was released in 1991, they are just beginning to get any sort of distribution. And they are taking everyone by surprise as well. Could they be the band that we've all been waiting for? A band that takes the progressive philosophy of the 70's and the modern sound of the 90's and spits out a stream of killer releases? Having heard Deux Ex Machina for the first time not too long ago, they impressed me a lot. A *lot*. First off, they have the best vocalist to come upon the scene in a decade. Alberto Piras belts out the songs with a clear, high-pitched tone that reminds me of Queenryche's Geoff Tate (what he did in the mid-eighties at least), and Area's Demitrios Stratos. Piras even uses some of the weird screaming/moaning/rolling vocal gymnastics that made Stratos unique. Guitarist Mauro Collina pulls off both blistering solos and smooth acoustics with his jerky-yet-clean style. His speed and technical prowess is remarkable, yet full of time changes and stop/start playing. His style reminds me of no one in particular, but if I had to compare him to someone it would be with Steve Hillage's playing on Arzachel or perhaps Steve Hackett's early Genesis efforts. Collina is backed up by virtuoso drummer Marco Matteuzzi, whose rhythms are non-stop action; rarely a few seconds without a fill or adding a few extra beats, and bassist Alessandro Porreca who follows Matteuzzi for the most part but goes off on his own occasionally. However, even when Porreca is following the rhythm, he's playing a fast, interesting line. Are you catching the drift yet? So far we have four exceptionally talented musicians playing non-stop classic progressive music. Now let's throw in keyboardist Luigi Ricciardello, who uses thick synth and moog backdrops, and Alessandro Bonetti on electric violin. Put together, Deux Ex Machina sounds like a lot of different bands - their influences are obvious, tasteful. I can hear hints of Area, Led Zeppelin, Rush, Tonton Macoute, Hawkwind, Crimson, and even Khan. The album is full of heady jams, fast licks, and spacy harmonies. The rhythm section is more reminiscent of Brand X (maybe not *that* virtuostic) than Hawkwind, though the overall feel is something like what you get from Space Ritual era Hawkwind, combined with Khan and maybe even Black Sabbath. Other influences seem to be Ossana and Area. So is there anything disappointing about Gladium Caeli? Of course there is - no perfect 10's in my book. The keyboards and violin aren't prominent; they are usually used for chording in the background, but do have occasional leads. The guitar dominates and drowns them out, which isn't so bad since Collina is an excellent player, but one wonders why they are there at all if rhythm is their only purpose. Also, on later songs on the album, the drummer falls back on some snare-bass pounding, as opposed to his continual riffing throughout the first 30 minutes or so. These are detractions, but I'm largely impressed with the effort as a whole (though not so overwhelmed as to forgive or forget!) In one release, Deux Ex Machina has eclipsed all but a few of the new wave of progressive artists. They've blown past Italy's best (Nuova Era, Calliope, Ezra Winston, Eris Pluvia) and are now the band to beat. If there is one new band you get into this year, this should be it. And with their second release due in less than a month, this brilliant sextet should finally have the opportunity to get the recognition they deserve.

    01. Expergi 8:16
    02. Arbor 16:13
    03. Gladium Caeli 11:29
    04. Ignis Ab Caelo 4:34
    05. Se Ipse Loquitur 3:37
    06. Dialeghen 15:15
    07. Omnia Evolvitur Sed Potest Mutari 8:12

    Mauro Collina / guitars
    Alessandro Porreca / basses
    Luigi Ricciadiello / keyboards
    Marco Matteuzzi / drums, percussion
    Alessandro Bonetti / violins
    Alberto Piras / vocals

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