Mike McLatchey    21-March-2001 Gladium Caeli

Certainly one of the most original of the Italian scene and my vote for the best currently active progressive, Deus Ex Machina are an excellent ensemble with one of the best vocalists to be heard since the late Demetrio Stratos. To top that off, the band also includes one of the better guitarists of this era, a breath of fresh air in the midst of all the metal stylists. With a wide instrumental palate, including keys and violin, Deus Ex Machina have a very unique sound with hints of both the classic Italian groups (Area, early New Trolls, Osanna) and FM classic rock like Led Zeppelin. Their debut Gladium Caeli (Kaliphonia ECD-2247, CD) was one of the fresher sounding albums of the early 90's, although this is nowhere close to the incredibly advanced music of their later titles. But even early on, Deus ex Machina stayed clear of familiar symphonic territory, favoring a harder and slightly bluesy edge, a deconstruction of 70's classic rock taken into directions jazzy, operatic and dramatic. While one can't expect the cohesion that drummer Claudio Trotta brought to the band later, this debut still remains a strong debut effort and worth the listen, if only for the embryonic beginnings of one of modern progressive music's most fascinating groups.

(originally reviewed as part of The New Italian Progressive Rock Scene (part 1), Exposť #3, p. 7, Edited for Gnosis 3/18/01)

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