Deus Ex Machina

Label: Fastball Music
Three similar bands: Vandenberg/Moonlight Haze/Axel Rudi Pell

Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm
01. Not an Eternal Day
02. Find a Shelter
03. The Letter
04. Chrysalis
05. Feel the Right Hand
06. Pay No Mind
07. Bittersweet Lullaby
08. Nothing Is Left
09. Sleeping Satellite

Alan Montanari - Drums
Stéphane Froidevaux - Guitars
Céline Bart - Vocals
David Pauli - Bass


Patrick Dujany

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Carryl Montini and David Grillon at Artsonik Media
Translation by Dag Olsen

Art direction and design by Romain Negro and Alan Montanari
Band Photos by Lindsey Jane Montandon
Original photos: Musee D´Histoire De Moutier

Released 2020-05-01
Reviewed 2020-09-01


fastball music

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So, deus ex machina; Latin for God from the machine and also a term used to describe a certain plot device in storytelling – like the ending of War of the Worlds to name one, you can draw your own conclusions from that. It is the debut album from Swiss band Exess and one might imagine from the title that writing is something that interest them or maybe they just think the terms is cool like how most people have no idea of what they are talking about. The cover art is pretty machinic though so perhaps it is that god from the machine we see. But reasoning about literary plot devices and Latin calques isn’t really what Hallowed does, even though I like to take things in all sorts of directions at times.

Exess has a female singer in Céline and she sounds quite similar to many female metal vocalists, despite what they claim about her wide range of emotions and whatever else is said in the selling points. They claim that they have genre-blending songs, isn’t that true about most music? But sure, this album doesn’t immediately fit into the typical genre boxes, it is melodic and poppy while maintaining a strong heavier groove. This doesn’t mean that it extends into something surprising or different though, I think they do sound fairly commonplace and to me they do not really extend the boundaries of what they call common metal like it is said in the selling points. They do keep it sensible and the album has a pretty dynamic production and that is always a positive.

Two things I noticed when researching this one on the web was that it was surprisingly few reviews for an album that has been out for a fairly long while when doing a common search. And that I found two of these reviews giving this album a full score, 10 out of 10 and 100 out of 100, that is just nuts. Few reviews is an indication that it is either poorly promoted and that is not my experience of this label, or that the reviewers don’t really like the album as most reviewers don’t seem to dare to write negative or indifferent reviews for some reason so they rather not write at all. But that some of those few claim that it is a timeless classic, a masterpiece that is better than 99% of the albums ever released – that is strange as it is an album that doesn’t have anything that can set it apart in a way that anyone can consider it a timeless classic, it is a good but ultimately a very forgettable album.

The cover Sleeping Satellite is the best track of the album, maybe it is their deus ex machina to come up with a sudden and abrupt solution to the unsolvable problem that is this album. In the end I find it to be quite difficult to write about as the title is the most interesting thing, the music is good but there is nothing to really captivate me and to trigger my imagination and to pique my interest. I listen and like, then it ends, and I immediately turn my attention to more interesting albums – and believe me, there are many such albums out there. So, no deus ex machina in this review, the Swiss band makes a good debut but not much more than that.