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Deus Ex Machina - Cinque CD (album) cover

CINQUE

Deus Ex Machina

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.09 | 88 ratings

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Pafnutij
4 stars I'm not sure why (at the time of this writing) the band is listed as "Italian Symphonic prog". Italian they certainly are (even if the singing is in Latin), but the music on "Cinque" is a near perfect example of jazz fushion. The album is full of infinitely fascinating jazz harmonies with plenty of dissonance, and the overall sound is quite raw, with emphasis placed largely on guitars (in both acoustic and electric modes); while the keyboards figure prominently, they are rarely used to create a "symphonic" atmosphere. In terms of influences, the bands that immediately come to mind are Mahavishnu Orchestra and Deus Ex Machina's countrymen Area. Reflections of the former arise throughout Cinque both sound- and composition-wise, while the latter comes to mind due to the fact that the powerful, operatically inclined vocals of Alberto Piras frequently resemble those of Area's Demetrio Stratos . But those of you who treasure originality need not worry, for DEM's music is unique and highly creative in it's own right. The intricate interplay heard on "Cinque" also deserves a special mention, as each member possesses impressive skills on their respective instruments that allow the band to masterfully intervine guitar with strong violin melodies and interesting keyboards, aided by adventurous bass guitar and drum work and Piras' powerful vocals.

I have no trouble choosing my favourite track from 'Cinque' : that's undoubtedly the opening track, 'Convolutos'. The focal point here is the outstanding chorus melody, but the song has tons more to offer, as repeated listens uncover loads of absolutely exquisite harmonies (the intro, in particular, is marvelous). Now, I usually find it rather disheartening when the opening track turns out to be the best cut on an album, but in the case of Cinque, there is plenty of other material to get excited about. Among the other highlights is certainly 'il Pensiero.', which alternates between frantic fusion freakouts, dissonant (yet very catchy) riffing and skillful keyboard soloing. 'De Ordinis Ratione (Nuovo)' is another solid cut, with similar dissonant riffs and plenty of weird synth solos (the keyboardist specializes in strange sounds). The remaining tracks are all very impressive but slightly less striking and a bit samey-sounding, although each one of them has something in store for the listener. 'Rhinoceros' features a cruchy guitar riff, along with a very eccentric performance by Piras. 'Uomo del Futuro Passato' unveils more of the intriguing jazz moves, while the acoustic instrumental 'Luce' highlights the fine interplay between Maurino Collina's guitar workand violinist Alessandro Bonetti. 'Olim Sol Rogavit Terram I' , another track based around acoustic guitar, sounds rather boring to my ears until Collina plucks away through a sweet solo. And finally, we have '. Terram II' : unfortunately, the 20-minute length is somewhat misleading, as the composition itself takes up only the first half of the track, consisting almost entirely of Bonetti's violin work (with interesting chromatically descending motifs scattered throughout) and vocals by Piras; the remainder of the track appears to be merely a collection of snippets from the band's studio hours - it's mildly interesting but doesn't really justify the amount of time it takes.

So, despite having praised the band so much, I'm afraid I can't award this album a "masterpiece" rating, as it gets a bit dull in places (especially next to the standout moments). However, the amount of well-composed and crisply executed material is nonetheless staggering, and 'Cinque' easily deserves a place next to the classics of jazz fusion (and prog rock in general).

Pafnutij | 4/5 |

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