EXESS – Deus Ex Machina
Swiss outfit Exess is pretty damn difficult to label or place in any specific musical category. This 9-track effort of theirs entitled “Deus Ex Machina” falls somewhere between rock and metal but with quite a few progressive touches to it. Hard and pounding riffs, soothing and melancholic melodies, and cleverly arranged songs with plenty of unpredictable twists to them are the order of the day, and this debut offering certainly shows a fair amount of promise and potential.
The slightly darker and more metal-infused pieces ala “Find a Shelter”, “Pay No Mind”, and “Feel the Right Hand” are exquisitely crafted and pack a lot of punch. Others such as “The Letter”, “Chrysalis”, and “Bittersweet Lullaby” come across as strangely subdued affairs where the energy, passion, and emotional intensity are all either lacking or absent. These guys are good at writing songs and the musicianship as well as Cèline’s vocals are commendable, but the record as a whole is a tad uneven and or us as listeners, it is way too easy to lose focus and interest along the way. They never really maintain or keep the momentum going throughout, which is frustrating. Still, there are more positive things to this disc than negative ones, and many of their ideas and musical motifs are rather cool and praiseworthy. In short, “Deus Ex Machina” is neither as remarkable nor as explosive as it could have been, but it might be worth checking out if one is into alternative rock and semi-progressive metal.