Back after an eight-year hiatus, previously long running Italian progressive rock band Deus Ex Machina return refreshed, and with their batteries charged to the max release all that pent up energy in an album of joyously celebratory, and needless to say, complex music fronted by expressive and highly emotive vocals that could only be Italian.
This band used to sing in Latin, now preferring their native language, and their violinist has links to PFM, and earlier in their career they wore their affection for RPI instigators Area on their sleeves, so all the requisite prog boxes are ticked.
Devoto is perhaps more conventional in approach than some of their earlier catalogue as rock solid guitar riffs unfold in difficult meters, stinging solos, surging Hammond and fusion electric piano, synths, a violin, and occasionally saxes and trumpet combine in all manner of moves, throwing funky shapes or delivering prog-fusion, or simply just rocking out. There is so much energy in these zeros and ones, you could cook your dinner on it.
The hard rock of the opening title track sets the scene, sizzling along without burning the ingredients, topped off with a great violin break from Alessandro Bonetti, and Mauro Hill’s Page-like funk-rock chops take centre stage on the intro to Multiverso. There’s a fabulous Hammond solo on Distratto Da Me and plenty of deeply funky synth work on the same song from Luigi Ricciardiello. And so the individual credits roll on, but all the while the whole is a great retro-rock experience with a classic Italian twist that cannot fail to impress.
You will pick up on all kinds of ’70s references on this fine album, for example the breakdown of Più Uguale features a real dirty synth low end sleaze rumble that reminds me of Edgar Winter’s Frankenstein, and Transizione gives more than a nod to Led Zeppelin as it rides the scree down the Misty Mountain. Ultimately, Deus Ex Machina cook their own stew, and well spiced up it is too.
This is the kind of music that cannot fail to make you move, and move you will unless you’re already out for the count. As I have alluded to already, energy emanates from every pore of this wild boar charging around in an Italian forest, having consumed all the most colourful mushrooms.
Finally, this has to be the most conventional “rock” album I have yet heard on Cuneiform Records, not that it has any bearing on anything at all!
01. Devoto (5:54)
02. Sotterfugio (1:24)
03. Multiverso (5:46)
04. Distratto da Me (7:28)
05. Eterno Ritorno (3:24)
06. Più Uguale (10:09)
07. Transizione (7:05)
08. Autore del Futuro (7:01)
09. Figli (6:59)
10. Quattro Piccole Mani (4:37)
Total time – 59:50
Mauro Hill – Guitars
Alessandro Bonetti – Violin
Alessandro Porreca – Bass Guitar
Luigi Ricciardiello – Organ, Piano, Synths
Claudio Trotta – Drums
Alberto Piras – Vocals
Luigi Savino – Synth, Bass
Alessandro Meroli – Baritone Saxophone
Marco Matteuzzi – Alto Saxophone
Massimo Greek – Trumpet
Record Label: Cuneiform Records
Catalogue#: RUNE 429
Year of Release: 2016