Deus Ex Machina [SINGAPORE]
To be really honest, this wasn’t an easy record to review. In fact it could possibly have been one of the hardest that I have ever reviewed. Not that it was a bad record, but like some good classics out there, it took awhile and a few listens to get into.
I, Human is Deus Ex Machina’s sophomore effort. Unlike the debut, The War Inside, this album features Mithun as the vocalist instead of having a whole host of people on vocals. The album starts off with a spoken introduction, M(n)emo(nic)ries. While most people may be used to spoken introduction, this features a twist in which instead of the typical accented English on most other records, a Singapore-accented English was spotted (which again, took me some getting used to!).
The introduction basically summarises what Deus Ex Machina’s second album focuses on. It sounds like a scene out of a sci-fi thriller/horror, where a person is trying to escape from someone’s grip yet being unable to do so and eventually being performed experiments on (towards the end of the introduction). Thereafter, the mayhem begins.
The music is a fusion of death metal, thrash metal and progressive metal. Mithun’s vocals are versatile as can be heard from this album, where he at times goes from a low growl to a high pitched scream at the next line, while at the same time covering spoken/cleanly sung vocals as well. The songs often shift from one extreme to another, from death metal riffs to a sudden switch to an acoustic and soft interlude, and then suddenly a whole wall of sound crushes the listener again (as could be heard in Replicant).
Fans of music that you can headbang from start to end should be wary though, Deus Ex Machina is definitely not an easy band to headbang to, featuring time signatures that are constantly switching. Their progressive approach to writing music certainly contributed to what made the initial listening to the album difficult, but once the listener gets the hang of it, the music is certainly very enjoyable (especially if played loud!). The album then closes with the untitled instrumental track, displaying the technical skills of each of the other instrumentalists.
Unlike most lyrical contents that a typical death metal band may focus on, Deus Ex Machina has chosen the topic of cloning to write about for this album. Inspired by the novel I, Robot, the album revolves around an unnamed character who gradually awakens realizing he is a clone. The lyrics that invoke one to think of the future of cloning certainly makes I, Human an interesting record to listen to.
A big thank you to Mithun and the whole of DeM for the complimentary copy of the album
Deus Ex Machina on MySpace.