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Deus Ex Machina - Gladium Caeli CD (album) cover

GLADIUM CAELI

Deus Ex Machina

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.08 | 32 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The debut album by Italy's Deus Ex Machina is, unlike later efforts, more obviously Rock than Fusion, offering an easier point of entry for intrepid newcomers to the band's unique, kinetic style. But that's a relative observation: nothing about Deus Ex Machina is entirely easy. Their music is complex and incredibly busy, played with breathless energy and a sometimes reckless momentum (imagine an Italian MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA after an all-night orgy of amphetamines).

And the operatic shrieking of lead singer Alberto Piras is an acquired taste, to say the least, at times sounding not unlike a warped hybrid of PETER HAMILL and Cedric Bixler-Zavala from THE MARS VOLTA (singing in Latin, which oddly enough gives the band more universal appeal than would have been possible in their native tongue). His glass-shattering entrance in the overture of "Expergi" functions like a challenge drawn in the sand for unwary listeners, daring you to cross at your peril.

Once there, you can thrill to the epic riffing of "Arbor" and "Dialeghen" (together clocking in at 30-plus minutes), or the manic convolutions of "Omnia Evolvitur Sed Potest Mulan", building to a series of alternating high-voltage solos on guitar, synthesizer and electric violin over a heavy but swinging 3/4 rhythm.

Elsewhere the stately title track comes within shouting distance (literally, with a singer like Piras) of classic '70s Rock Progressivo Italiano, before moving into yet another absolutely furious jam by guitarist Mauro Collina. And the all-too brief "Se Ipse Loquitur" ends in a typically goofy orgasm of tortured moaning and wailing: business as usual, in other words.

Later albums would exhibit more polish and finesse. But the raw energy on display in this first effort is hard to resist, if approached with a clear head and a pair of open ears.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |

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