Band: Deus Ex Machina
CD Title: Devoto
Label: Cuneiform Records (2016)
Rating: Great Stuff 4/5
Where does one start when talking about Deus Ex Machina? This is the bandís seventh studio release since their creation back in the late eighties. It wasnít until 1995ís De Republica that the band really started getting noticed. In fact that album rocketed to the top of Progressive Rock fan awareness everywhere. That was the album where I became aware of the band and Iíve followed their star since then. Fronted by the exhilarating vocals of Alberto Piras, Devoto breaks the eight year gap since their last release Imparis. How does it compare, you ask? Well letís just say itís everything you would hope to hear on a Deus Ex Machina disc. The band is often listed as a Jazz/Fusion outfit and for the life of me I have no idea why that is. That seems to be such a restrictive box to put the band into. Iíve always considered them a Progressive Rock band with jazzy or fusion tendencies. And here again, perhaps more than ever, the bandís ďrockĒ side comes to the fore. The performance as always includes a jazzy flair but for the most part these ten compositions seem to place an added emphasis on the ROCK vibe. To my ears it has always been that slippery combination of influences that has led to some of the most outstanding prog music and Deus Ex Machina are a classic example of a band that does it right. Theyíve had many years to hone their musical chops and that precision is evident everywhere on this disc as they easily shift time, tempo and musical structure in a heartbeat without losing a beat. Expect to hear contrapuntal melodies and poly-rhythms around every corner. Yet it must be said, this is music that retains its complexity all the while giving off an accessible air. Over half of these tunes are on the longish side and will remind many of the music of the classic bands such as Banco and PFM. Needless to say if you are fan of the bandís earlier work or for that matter any of the classic Italian prog of the seventies classic bands, you will love this disc. I know I did. For all its musical intricacy I found Devoto to be an easy and most enjoyable listen. Easily an album Iíll be going back to over and over again. Great stuff and highly recommended.