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Deus Ex Machina - Gladium Caeli CD (album) cover


Deus Ex Machina


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.10 | 42 ratings

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The Prognaut
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I ended up listening to DEUS EX MACHINA in the first place because of the multiple and incessant recommendations of some friends and these articles I read at some website. So before jumping right on to "De Republica" as many of the reviewers I read suggested, I wanted to start from the very beginning by listening attentively to "Gladium Caeli". Quite a first impression I must say. The voice of Alberto PIRAS set off the album from the get go, blasting so annoying inside my head that happened to be recorded by my mind from that moment on. The music I was listening to surpassed all my expectations and hopes I set upon the band before popping the CD in the stereo though, showing me a rewarding surprise. The combination between the strident sound of a hopelessly numbing guitar and a revealing speeded up violin on "Expergi" convinced my eardrums and decided to go with the musical flow.

"Arbor" takes off pretty compassed and peaceful, displaying great intertwined chords from a gracious acoustic guitar (or at least they sound off acoustic) that drives the way to the climax of the song just beautifully. The encounter between the striking violin and the eclectic guitar happens again and lasts for almost what's left of the song. At this point, I realize PIRAS has a peculiar voice pitch that works perfectly in terms of the song's lyricism, sustaining a cheerful conversation with Mauro COLLINA's guitar all along the track, making the song worthwhile somewhat in the end.

When moving on to the self-titled track, I understood what was really going on with PIRAS' voice. I noticed this strange, almost inexplicable fixation, he had about standing out from the rest of the instruments. He just enjoys playing around with the arrangements, challenging the instrumentation to sound particularly outstanding. What he didn't realize though, is that he was actually sounding terribly loud and unclear. That, he solved (or at least improved) on "De Republica" (4 years after the band's debut album) and gave away a better piece of work to the fans. As a matter of fact, I consider that latter half of the nineties album, a possible masterpiece of the Italian symphonic rock. But let's just stick to "Gladium Caeli" in the meantime. By the end of "Gladium Caeli", there's this interesting closure where the impressive keyboard execution by Luigi RICCIADIELLO anticipates to Marco MATTEUZZI's drum striking to reach the finish line, displacing PIRAS' attempt to show off his aptitudes.

"Dialeghen". That's the track I appreciate the most out of the entire album. It certainly struggles to resplendence in between deadly songs like "Ignis Ab Caelo" (with PIRAS' sol-fa lessons) and "Se Ipse Loquitur" (same thing here, Alberto's noisy voice strikes back), but the waiting is completely worth it. The sixth track reproduces quite a superb experience made music. From the beginning, you will be able to appreciate depurated violin and keyboard performing, proving there's more to this "Gladium Caeli" experience. Surprisingly, PIRAS' displays outstanding determination to help himself from thundering awfully and out of cue. He actually performs superbly, making this almost 15 minute suite a DEUS EX MACHINA all time classic. The instrumentation performed on the strings set is incorrigibly great, the drumsticks are marvelously managed by MATTEUZZI, followed by the keyboards of skillful Luigi RICCIADIELLO. This time, the dialogue is between an enticing crunchy guitar and bass twanged off by Mauro COLLINA and Alessandro PORRECA respectively and RICCIADIELLO's keys.

This is an average album I must say. I think it deserves proper recognition due the track I just described up above, but blowing off your money on this early nineties album just because of that, seems quite incredible. This first approach to the Italian band is ungrateful somehow, yet you will learn to love after devoted, conscious listening sessions. Definitely, not recommended for fearful proggers.

The Prognaut | 3/5 |


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