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Deus Ex Machina

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Deus Ex Machina Cinque album cover
4.07 | 109 ratings | 16 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Convolutus (7:18)
2. Rhinoceros (Afropuglise) (8:19)
3. Uomo del Futuro Passato (Roccaccione..... (8:42)
4. Olim Sol Rogavit Terram I (Maurino Piras) (5:04)
5. Il Pensiero Che Porta Alle Cose Importanti (7:28)
6. Luce (Pensando a Claudia) (6:19)
7. De Ordinis Ratione (Nuovo) (6:55)
8. Olim Sol Rogavit Terram II (Cadaverone..... (20:22)

Total Time: 70:27

Line-up / Musicians

- Claudio Trotta / drums
- Alessandro Porre Porreca / bass
- Maurino Collina / guitar
- Alessandro Bonetti / violin
- Luigi Riccia Ricciardiello / keyboards
- Alberto Piras / vocals

Releases information

CD Cuneiform 159

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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Buy DEUS EX MACHINA Cinque Music

DEUS EX MACHINA Cinque ratings distribution

(109 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

DEUS EX MACHINA Cinque reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by The Owl
5 stars Brilliant! A wonderful melding of Mahavishnu Orchestra, Area and biting satire/philosophising, all sung in Latin. And how often is it a band writes a song about the Sun asking the Earth how it's enjoying life since the humans all left? ("Olim Sol Rogavit Terram I")
Review by maani
5 stars Deus ex Machina continues to be perhaps the most underappreciated prog-rock band in the world, as well as continuing to surprise their audience with ever-progressing prog-rock sensibitilies. With Cinque, they have hit an amazing balance between their obvious influences (Mahavishnu Orchestra, ELP, U.K. et al) and their own admittedly (and happily) strange brand of prog-rock. It almost doesn't matter that the lyrics are printed and sung (and sometimes screamed) in Latin by oddball bandleader Piras: his (and his bandmates') ability to seamlessly blend those lyrics with truly "orchestral" prog-rock is eminently enjoyable, as well as often quite exciting. This is an album you can listen to multiple times and never get bored of it.
Review by Prognut
5 stars It is the year 2034!!..And you are reading this review in the Prog Archives web site...

"Amazing band from the turn of the Century that has influence several bands over the past years! Which after several good albums, with mainly Italy/European distribution, they decided to go global into the US market, releasing this Gem of Progressive Rock material. Without a doubt their MASTERPIECE, in the vein of Area (another Italian Band, this one much older..70', which my Dad was and still crazy about) and with a complexity of the old British pros like GG, or even KC! Most likely one of the best, if not the ONE release, in 2002!!. Amazing vocals in Latin by Alberto Piras with stunning interplays of Instrumentation. There is something here for everybody.... Six superb musicians on this band with Bass, Drums, Guitar, Keys and Violin; Eclectic use of guitar and aggressive rhythm sections makes this album a real treat for any PROGRESSIVE music lover"....Faaar ouuut, my friends!!!

My point is...Do not, and I repeat..DO NOT miss the chance to grab a copy of this one!! This IMHO is going to be one of those Classics in the future, which bands will be measure against.

Just Brilliant!.5 solid stars!!!

Review by chopper
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A recent thread discussed the obsession with "band X sounds like band Y" and since then I've been trying to think who Deus Ex Machina sound like. Think of a heavier Gentle Giant mixed with jazz-fusion and Echolyn, with Italian and Latin vocals and you being to approach the sound of this band.They are all masters of their art, from the strong, operatic vocals of Alberto Piras to the tight drumming of Claudio Trotta and the instrumental work on this album is excellent throughout. The production is clear and well- balanced, which brings out the power of this band.

The first song "Convolutus" (Wound) gets us off to a relatively low-key start, then things start to pick up with a hint of funk in "Rhinoceros", featuring some nice keyboards from Fabrizio Puglisi. "Uomo Del Futuro Passato" (The Man of the Past Future) is possibly the best track, finishing as it does with a wonderful jazzy electronic piano solo, under which the rhythm section subtly picks up the beat and heads us off towards the climax.

"One Day The Sun Asked the Earth" takes things down a bit, consisting of just vocals and acoustic guitar. "Luce" is another gentler track, this time instrumental, with acoustic and bass guitars and violin. The final track starts off with violin and vocals, then there is a gap before we get to the "hidden track" - snippets of rehearsal music and studio chatter.

Those of you who have dismissed jazz- fusion as people noodling around on trumpets should hear this album and marvel at the instrumental work, which is as perfect a blend of rock and jazz as anyone could wish for. It's always varying and interesting and is underpinned by one of the best rhythm sections around.

As I mentioned the lyrics are in either Italian or Latin but the sleeve helpfully translates the Latin tracks into Italian and the Italian lyrics are also translated into English . One of the best albums I've heard since discovering PA and a good entrance to the world of jazz-fusion. It's one of those albums you can listen to many times and still find something new to enjoy in it. Highly recommended.

Review by Moatilliatta
4 stars Deus ex Machina, after four albums, had finally generated enough buzz to get picked up by Cuneiform Records who would distribute their work worldwide. Their fifth album, aptly titled Cinque, was clearly going to be the group's most important release to date. Fortunately, the album was and continues to be a success. They increased their fanbase and received a bunch of positive reviews. It's clear why. The six members of Deus ex Machina are all fantastic, quirky musicians who play hard without giving the listener the feeling that they are showing off (for some reason, prog fans these days have a problem with self-indulgence). Their compositions are complex (although not as much as they were on the preceding album), though, and it definitely takes a few listens to get a good grasp of everything. Also, and this is my only complaint about this album/band, there are no strong melodies anywhere. Vocalist Alberto Piras has a five-octave vocal range, but it seems that he hasn't figured out how to use all of it to great effect. The vocal lines are able to show off his range without the feeling that they're only written to show them off, but they don't have any effect whatsoever. The listener will easily make a connection between Piras and Area vocalist Demitrio Stratos, but while Stratos' vocal lines were either bold and insane or straight-up melodic (both used to great effect), Piras tries to blend both and the result is rather difficult both to enjoy and to remember. Fans of the avant-garde will have little trouble accepting or even enjoying these vocals, and they are more than likely who Piras is catering to anyway.

For me, the band is actually most stunning in the acoustic format. The songs "Olim Sol Rogavit Terram I" and "Luce" involve a lot of intricately woven acoustic guitars & violin and they are the most passionate pieces on the disc. However, the rockin' jam toward the end of "Uomo Del Futuro Passato" is also really strong in this regard. Consequently, these songs are the highlights for me.

Adventurous, challenge-oriented music fans will get a kick out of this disc. Jazz-Fusion fans will at the very least dig the instrumental passages. Everyone else may have a more difficult time with it, but I would recommend sampling at least the three aforementioned tracks.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is quite the display of jazzy, complex, avant-garde music. Factor in the classically trained vocalist (Alberto Piras) who recalls the great Demetrio Stratos from AREA and we've got something very special here. I had this playing in my store today and a customer who was waiting for me to finish with someone else said "That has to be CAPTAIN BEEFHEART or ZAPPA ?" I told him it was DEUS EX MACHINA, but he had never heard of them, but he left impressed with what he heard.

The first track "Convolutos" actually reminds me a lot of ECHOLYN.This song is different from the rest. It's very laid back to start with. Violin and a fuller sound a minute in. Vocals 2 minutes in. Violin comes and goes. Check out the guitar after 4 1/2 minutes ! The drumming is killer as well. The vocals are so impressive. "Rhinoceros" features this repetitive beat. Guitar after a minute joins in. Vocals before 4 minutes. They become theatrical before 5 1/2 minutes as the guitar comes in aggressively. The organ work a minute later is outstanding. Awesome sound ! The guitar is on fire to end it. "Uomo Del Futuro Passato" opens with some raw sounding guitar. The tempo picks up as those incredible vocals join in. Organ,guitar and vocals seem to fight for the spotlight. Great sound 3 1/2 minutes in. It calms down before 5 minutes as we get a Canterbury flavour with keys and light drums. This amazing section continues until before 8 minutes when the guitar comes in abrasively to end it.

"Olim Sol Rogavit Terrami" is an interesting song because it's basically vocals and acoustic guitar but both change constantly throughout. Good tune. "Il Pensiero Che Porta Alle Cose Importanti" features wildly changing tempos until a steady rhythm arrives 1 1/2 minutes in with vocals. The organ is excellent but the vocals steal the show. A change 3 1/2 minutes in as the tempo picks up. Great sound. The guitar a minute later is anything but tasteful. Haha. "Luce" features intricate acoustic guitar and violin melodies throughout. They make it very interesting though. The mood changes often. "De Ordinis Ratione" opens with 1 1/2 minutes of amazing instrumental music. Vocals then come in. Guitar arrives before 3 1/2 minutes and promptly puts on a show. I like the way it ends with Alberto repeating this vocal line over and over. "Olim Sol Rogavit Terram II" features a string quartet. Vocals after 1 1/2 minutes. This one is kind of dark.

Highly recommended to all you adventerous Prog heads out there. This one won't disappoint.

Review by andrea
5 stars Deus Ex Machina were formed in Bologna in 1985 and have released six studio albums so far. "Cinque", their fifth one, was released in 2002, after three years of hard work, on the American independent label Cuneiform and it is usually considered their best album. The line up features Alberto Piras (vocals), Fabrizio Puglisi (keyboards), Maurino Collina (guitar), Claudio Trotta (drums), Alessandro Porreca (bass) and Alessandro Bonetti (violin) plus some guests musicians. Along their career the members of the band have matured a good live experience and improved their compositional skills blending challenging avant- garde passages with rock and jazz. Acoustic parts and electric ones are always well balanced and the result is a very peculiar and original sound halfway between Area and PFM. One of the characteristics of the band is the use of vocal parts in Latin. According to the band, "the use of Latin lyrics originate from the need to reconcile the melodious nature of Italian (which is difficult to transpose into rock), and the immediacy and fluency of English". Anyway, if you don't understand Latin don't worry, in the booklet you'll find the translation of the lyrics in Italian and English.

The opener "Convolutus" (Wound) starts softly with an acoustic guitar arpeggio, then violin and other instruments come in setting a neurotic and agoraphobic mood. Sometimes relations with other people and events of real life are difficult to deal with and you look for a safer exclusive inner world as a shelter... "Wound around my thought, this world meets my need for joy and simplicity / I won't waste another drop of myself out there / This world takes away my inability to love and respect myself...".

"Rhinoceros" (The rhinoceros) is about freedom of expression. The atmosphere is dark and surreal while music helps you to imagine a rhinoceros in a library ready to charge... "There's a rhinoceros looking at a pile of books, you can't imagine how many, you can't imagine which ones, you can't take one without making them all fall... Whatever thought is contained in them, the earth will always receive it".

"Uomo del futuro passato" (The man of the past future) is sung in Italian. It's a long and complex piece about the incapability to enjoy what we have because of the desire to have something more that we can't obtain, even in love and relationships. Music features frenetic parts and calmer ones and it perfectly fits the lyrics... "I run from you and you're the street under my feet / And I run faster and faster / Before me there's what I never had / Behind my there's what I've lost / In the middle is you, whom today I desired and tomorrow I'll miss...".

"Olim sol rogavit terram I" (One day the Sun asked the Earth) is a beautiful acoustic track featuring only acoustic guitars, violin and vocals. Lyrics deal with ecological issues and depict an imaginary dialogue between the Sun and the Earth about new horizons in an upcoming future... "One day the sun asked the Earth:- How's going? / - Better now, the cities have disappeared under thick vegetation which turned them into root drainage, nothing remains of machines and technology but a word lost in space after a radio broadcast from who knows how long ago... Life has new vigour, in fact, it's going better now".

"Il pensiero che porta alle cose importanti" (The thought that leads to the important things) is another track sung in Italian. Music leads you through winding alleys and dark paths inside your brain... "The thought that leads to important things is oblique / The brain hides the way with easy, close lights, excellent remedies for a tired soul...".

"Luce" (Light) is a good instrumental where acoustic guitars and violin are absolute protagonists. It's full of stop and go and music every now and again reminds me of the walk of a "Pink Panther".

"De ordinis ratione" (The theory of order) is a dynamic and well crafted piece about the need for order and its dangerous consequences... "We order things for fear of not recognizing ourselves / We classify for fear of being different / We destroy, simplifying multiplicity to the essential / That is the only way for the world to take the forms of our ideas / Ideas born from eyes that don't know how to see, that catch only distorted reflections of a simple denied complexity".

Last track "Olim sol rogavit terram II" has a strong classical feeling. This time the background for the dialogue between the Sun and the Earth features a string quartet and a very peculiar and nocturnal arrangement. At the end of this piece, after a pause, you can listen to a "ghost track" featuring some sound-checks and the voices of the musicians during the recording sessions. It's not a song but it can give you an idea of the hard work behind this excellent album...

Review by Neu!mann
3 stars The relative popularity of this fifth studio album by the deluxe Fusion sextet of Deus Ex Machina (currently boasting the highest score in their discography here at Prog Archives, and with twice the number of reviews as the runner up) is really just a consequence of its wider exposure. The album marks their first (and so far only) effort to be distributed in the United States, by the good folks at Cuneiform Records, bless their hearts.

And yet the music itself is hardly more accessible. If anything it's the band's most difficult and challenging album to date, with an even higher proportion of the edgy, angular (and some might say irritating) eclecticism that marks their style. The song "Convolutus" is an attractive curtain raiser, with a catchier than usual melody and chorus. But after that the weirdness only escalates, in the avant-rock "Rhinoceros": all clashing solos in unfamiliar tunings, and with the bel canto tenor shrieking of Alberto Piras in peak form.

His unique vocal styling can have the same memorable effect as fingernails on a chalkboard, alleviated somewhat by the novelty of singing in Latin. The choice of language supposedly made the songwriting smoother. But I would challenge listeners to follow along with the enclosed lyrics to see exactly how each verse was twisted and bent to accommodate the music (English translations are included, and unlike most lyrics are worth reading for their own sake).

In retrospect the album is hardly the best I've heard from this band, but even at its most abstruse it's never less than fascinating. Some highlights worth mentioning: the constipated funk of "Il Pensiero che Porta Alle Cose Importanti" (yes, some of the tunes are in actual Italian); the uneasy instrumental calm of "Luce" (an - almost - unplugged guitar and violin duet, beautifully rendered); and the two-part, eco-friendly "Olim Sol Rogavit Terram", which exemplifies the band's shift away from traditional forms of Jazz Rock Fusion toward something more aligned with 20th century classical avant-garde. (Never mind the long, 'hidden' bonus track, by the way: a bootleg quality, barely audible verité-style rehearsal, caught on an open studio microphone and brutally spliced together.)

Compared to the uninhibited mania of earlier Deus Ex Machina albums the energy level is notably muted here. A sign of maturity, perhaps, but punches were definitely (and deliberately) pulled in the recording process.

Latest members reviews

2 stars This is a frustrating album for me to listen to and to review.... It contains a few sections that I enjoy quite a bit.....It jumps from pretty kool jazzy music to loud almost metal..... But it also contains long sections of whining vocals in a language that I don't understand without any signif ... (read more)

Report this review (#169949) | Posted by digdug | Monday, May 5, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Deus Ex Machina is an incredible band. High tempo outstanding interplaying between guitar and organ, great bass and fab drumming, nice violin additions and the pirotechnical singing. A really outstanding combo. Very bizzarre sounding, a must of a band. That said I would like them to spend longer ... (read more)

Report this review (#147895) | Posted by Ziggy | Monday, October 29, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Yeah! Fifth Deus Ex Machina studio album just confirm how great and innovative is this italian band! As the previous DeM albums, this one is full of complex rhythms, surprising solos, solid arrangements and of course, the powerful voice od Alberto Piras. All these elements build a consistent al ... (read more)

Report this review (#147493) | Posted by progadicto | Saturday, October 27, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One of the prog masterpieces of the new millenium so far, CINQUE is prog with a capital P. It pays respect stylistically to famous 70s bands, such as Mahavishnu, Crimson, even ELP, without ever copying any of them. One of the most striking features here are the operatic vocals of Alberto Piras. ... (read more)

Report this review (#126974) | Posted by Salviaal | Thursday, June 28, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars What a dissapointment. There is a big hype around this band and this record. I don't get it. This is more jazz than porog and as jazz not very inspirating. Good playing technically yes but the melodies are dull. I would not say that this is totally bad album, no. But as prog it is very much no ... (read more)

Report this review (#84744) | Posted by pirkka | Tuesday, July 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#69838) | Posted by Pafnutij | Saturday, February 18, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It just doesn't get better than this. Hard to believe that an album this addictive and seductive can appear in 2002. It hints at the sounds of many bands (Area, Banco, Gentle Giant, Deep Purple, Return to Forever), while retaining enough originality to not be derivative. All the players a ... (read more)

Report this review (#11871) | Posted by | Tuesday, July 13, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I heard this live in Barcelona, and I must say these guys play the best live music I´ve ever heard. Absolutely mind blowing, full of risk, with a level of interplay out of this world. The drummer, Claudio Trotta gave us a rush of perfect and risky drumming, in the line of Capiozzo-Chirico-Bruford, a ... (read more)

Report this review (#11868) | Posted by | Friday, February 27, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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