Deus ex Machina

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The fourth long-player from the Polish symphonic black metal unit featuring members of Behemoth, Vader, and Dimmu Borgir, Deus ex Machina finds Vesania doling out another chilly, bleak, and thunderous collection of keyboard-orchestrated blackened metal expositions that do away with the roofs, lay waste to the crops, and yank the dead from the earth with the subtlety of an F5 tornado. Production-wise, the album sounds like it's coming out of a pile of speaker cabinets that have been left for dead at the bottom of a gorge; it's both undeniably heavy and decidedly distant, which lends the whole affair a sort of intangible and spectral vibe that's befitting of the collection's overriding theme of cosmic intervention. Opener "Halflight" initially presents itself as a straight-up thrasher before exploding into a caustic, swirling black symphony of malevolence that should please fans of the group's meal-ticket bands (especially Dimmu Borgir, with whom the group shares the closest esthetic), as well as similarly ornate, yet less decibel-pushing Viking metal outfits like Turisas, Falkenbach, and Therion. That said, it's a relentlessly meaty tome that never completely eschews base-line black metal brutality for music school opulence, despite the group's obvious knack for complex composition, and standout cuts like "Disillusion," "Dismay," and the aforementioned "Halflight" are as ornate as they are constructed of pure malice. It may have taken them seven years to construct a follow-up to 2007's Distractive Killusions, but like its predecessor, Deus ex Machina delivers a significant kick to the head that leaves a classy mark.

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