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Deus Ex Machina - Devoto CD (album) cover


Deus Ex Machina


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.87 | 41 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars Following on from the release of the band's previous album, 2008's 'Imparis', they lost much of their momentum and energy, which was caused in some ways by the departure of long-term keyboard player Fabrizio Puglisi. This led to a period of introspection, and to decide what they wanted to do and in what direction musically they should be heading. Given they have been creating waves in the Italian progressive scene since the Eighties this was never going to be a quick decision, but the return of keyboard player Luigi Riccia Ricciardiello (who played on the band's first five studio albums) certainly helped. This meant that the 2016 line-up was almost identical to the one which recorded 1991's debut, 'Gladium Caeli', with just the drummer being different.

Violin and keyboards are often the lead instrument (the use of a guest brass section has also had a major impact), with the guitar often providing delicate support although there are times when Mauro Collina does allow himself to rock out just a little. There is no doubt that while the music is complex, multi-layered and highly arranged and structured, it is lead singer Alberto Piras who really stands out. He can sing in multiple styles, coming across quite theatrical in nature at times, and with the songs in Italian it is possible to treat his performance as another musical thread given, I have no idea what he is saying. In many ways they are jazz rock fusion, yet there are also plenty of RPI and deep Seventies influences while I would venture that early Twelfth Night fans would also find much on here to enjoy. There are some wonderfully dated keyboard sounds at times, which normally one would associate with Rick Wakeman, and they also add a certain feel to the music. There is little truly progressive in this in that it is looking deeply into the past for inspiration, but sometimes that is all a proghead needs. This is currently their most recent album, but given it is only seven years since this was released it is quite possible there will be a new one coming soon. One for progheads of the old school.

kev rowland | 4/5 |


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