Band: Deus Ex Machina
Label: Cuneiform Records
Label Website: www.cuneiformrecords.com
Release Date: 2008
It’s taken all of 6 years but the 6th studio CD from Deus Ex Machina has been released entitled Imparis, and it’s a doozy! As a recap Deus Ex Machina came together in 1985 in Bologna and quickly gained a reputation in the prog underground that culminated in 1995 with the release of their third studio offering De Republica, which was followed by a hugely successful live appearance at Progfest 95. They now are considered elder statesmen in the world of progressive rock. But don’t let the “elder” fool you, there is a ton of fire still burning in these 5 tracks. Imparis actually features 6 tracks; 5 in the studio and then 1 live. But the package also includes a second DVD disc of the band performing live in 2006 along with in-depth band interviews and all kinds of extras. This is a stellar package for fans of Deus Ex Machina.
Musically Deus Ex Machina embodies the classic Italian prog style with more that a little Rock In Opposition inspired jazz-fusion. What this means is that compositions such as “Giallo Oro” [12:04] will start in dramatic fashion before shifting into many different angles and departures allowing the band to provide any number of solo instrumental spotlights. Each song also finds space for Alberto Piras’ expressive vocals, but this is more than anything instrumental prog. The vocals are inspiring and well placed taking centre stage while being sung, but they never dominate the composition. The music ebbs and flows in intensity offering long passages of sparse instrumentation letting the music breathe. The vocals then do their part by greatly enhancing the dramatic nature of each track. The violin work of Buonez Bonetti is quite prevalent and plays off either Maurino Collina’s guitars or Fabrizio Puglisi’s keyboards. The three of them and the rest of the band are prone to working themselves into a musical frenzy as in the track “Il Testamento dell’Uomo Saggio” [6:54]. Then the next track, more of a ballad “Cor Mio” [5:13] is classic melodic Italian progressive rock and will remind many of the music of early PFM. All in all there isn’t a bad track on Imparis, and with so much going on in each track there is lots of music to absorb.
As a two disc package, Imparis is first rate. Fans will undoubtedly be pleased at hearing the new studio material, but the extra bonus of the DVD is a winner. Deus Ex Machina’s music is very complex and so being able to watch them perform it is breathtaking. That and the 22-minute interview, video clips from 1993, other live performances from 1996 and 2002 make Imparis a must have package.