Deus Ex Machina
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Gladium Caeli (1991), 6.5/10
Deus Ex Machina (1992), 6/10
De Republica (1995), 6.5/10
Equilibrismo da Insofferenza (1998), 6/10
Cinque (2002), 6.5/10
Imparis (2008), 5/10
Devoto (2016), 5/10
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(Clicka qua per la versione Italiana)

Deus Ex Machina is an Italian prog-rock sextet (Alberto Piras on vocals, Luigi Riccia Ricciardiello on keyboards, Alessandro Bonetti on violin, Maurino Collina on guitar, Claudio Trotta on drums, Alessandro Porre Porreca on bass) devoted to a vehement, torrential fusion of classic, jazz and rock, further detonated by Piras' spectacular vocal range. They were formed to compose and perform the rock opera Gladium Caeli (Kaliphonia, 1991), which includes the 16-minute Arbor, the nine-minute Expergi the 10-minute Gladium Caeli and the closing eight-minute Omnia Evolvitur Sed Potest Mutari. These are both complex and powerful pieces that stretch the limits of the instruments (especially the voice), as if Wagner and Jim Steinman had collaborated on a King Crimson album.

Deus Ex Machina (1992) lost some of the pathos but refined the instrumental counterpoint, and still delivered the impressive frameworks of Deus Ex Machina, Si Tu Bene Valeas Ego Bene Valeo and Lo Stato Delle Cose.

De Republica (1995) was a little too scientific, but still boasted Exordium and the three-part suite Res Publica.

After the live Diacronia Metronomiche (1996), the band delivered Equilibrismo da Insofferenza (1998), that added a horn section, and Cinque (Cuneiform, 2002), perhaps their technical zenith, eight lengthy compositions peaking with the 20-minute tour de force of Olim Sol Rogavit Terram II (the shortest track on the album is its five-minute acoustic overture, Olim Sol Rogavit Terram I). It also included the melodic Convolutus, the quirky fantasia >Rhinoceros, the jazz-rock fugue of Uomo del Futuro Passato, and the cerebral Il Pensiero Che Porta Alle Cose Importanti.

Imparis (Cuneiform, 2008) marks a detour towards more accessible music, with the pop ballad La Diversita di Avere un'Anima, the lounge accents of Giallo Oro's first section, and the trivial electronic fusion of Il Testamento dell'Uomo Saggio. Cosmopolitismo Centimetropolitano, the most vibrant composition here, sounds like third-rate Colosseum. La Fine del Mondo has some nice solos and interplay (particularly violin and piano), but nothing you haven't heard before. There is little here that stands up to their past achievements. There just isn't enough inspiration to sustain the playing, and the mediocre vocals certainly don't help. The CD comes with a DVD of live material that shows a much more intense band and is a reminder that they have played much more interesting music in the past.

Devoto (Cuneiform, 2016) excels at bringing back the visceral quality of instrumental prowess of the 1960s. Hence the excruciating violin solo in Devoto, the roaring soul-jazz organ solo in Distratto Da Me, The folkish guitar-driven instrumental Quattro Piccole Mani beats hands down all the songs. The first two minutes of Transizione are the best impersonation of Colosseum in a long time; and luckily the ten-minute funk orgy Piu` Uguale is hijacked by some deviant blues-rock guitar and cosmic-jazz organ.

(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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