Exposé Online banner

Deus Ex Machina — Devoto
(Cuneiform Rune 429, 2016, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2016-10-26

Devoto Cover art

Long-time fans of progressive rock will remember the string of outstanding releases by this Italian band. In particular, their third album, De Republica, captured the hearts of adventurous prog fans around the world, a shining example of how a band in the 90s could be truly progressive without sounding like they’re rehashing past glories. The band has never been prolific, with only three releases since the turn of the century, so expectations are high for Devoto. Sonically, Deus Ex Machina has a number of distinctive factors. First among these is the voice of Alberto Piras, and it is here, strong as ever. Original members Mauro Collina (guitar) and Alessandro Bonetti (violin) are both still on board, as is Claudio Trotta (drums), who’s been with the band since their second album; we also see the return of Luigi Ricciardiello (keyboards), who I believe hasn’t been with the band for ten years or so. With this kind of stability, it’s no surprise that the band’s style hasn’t changed much, and in this case, that is not a negative. Far from it, in fact. Their reliance on blues-based tonalities is uncommon in progressive rock, and doesn’t come off at all like an American boogie-rock band — somehow they manage to bring a creative twist to the material that is uniquely their own. This is only partly due to the outstanding technical abilities of the band members. Put it down to imagination and good taste — knowing what works, even when it’s unexpected. But rather than simply rehashing the sounds that have made them great from the start, they’ve added much more extensive instrumentation, with two saxes and a trumpet filling out the arrangements. The result is outstanding, equal to their best work, which is a high bar to meet. Does it top De Republica? Hard call there, but it’s certainly an excellent slab of inventive music, and one of the year's best.


Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): Deus Ex Machina

Latest news

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more

2017-01-27
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more

2017-01-26
Butch Trucks RIP – Butch Trucks was one of two drummers in the first incarnation of the Allman Brothers Band in 1969, helping the band achieve its legendary status as an American original. He died on January 24, 2017 of a self-inflicted gunshot would. He was 69. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Art of All - Morgan – The Art of All is a young band (Peter Aliferis drums and keyboards, Ruben Ruiz vocals and guitar, and Chris Debari bass) based in Massachusetts who characterize themselves as a progressive trance...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues