Advance – Deus Ex Machina (Redux)
Totally remastered, this is a fresh version of Advance’s first ever release, featuring a second disc of exclusive remixes.
Kicking off with ‘Weapon Of Choice’ Advance’s glacial electronica sweeps onto the scene with that strong and insistent bass beat. In terms of the vocals, there is a seriousness and gravitas that makes the music feel very directed and intentional. At times it feels as though there is some influence from 80s hair metal, both in the way the song is constructed and in its delivery, despite being made up of modern electronic sounds rather than cheesy guitar riffs. ‘Fractured Existence’ unloads a whole lot of bass tone which rumbles and throbs, creating a foundation to the track that has a very organic feel to it. As that goes on, the synth tones ripple and spiral on top of the deep framework that lies beneath, climbing higher and higher as the track progresses. ‘The Road’ starts off with an unassuming swell that gradually fills out and lets the track explode into its opening section, with rave synths that seem to be battling each other. It’s a very visceral track that easily paints the picture of hurtling along the highway at high speed, with neon lights flashing past, with a hint of danger and risk that hangs in the air. ‘Enter The Wastelands’ allows for a moment of peace and calm, with softer tones that ring out, before they give way to a fast paced synth melody that leans towards classic video game soundtracks (think MegaMan). A more haunting tone is found on ‘Dead Technology’, with its blaring organs that sound more like a robot that is high on life than a piece of dying technology. It’s one of the strongest tracks on the album with a very powerful chorus that has hints of pop within it, despite the way that Advance’s music leans more towards a niche style that certainly has its own very committed fanbase. ‘New Objective’ is very much business as usual in terms of the way most of the songs on the album go. That’s not to disregard the track as filler, but there are other tracks on the album that stand out more strongly. As a straightforward song, it works very well, but there is little in the way of experimentation or unusual elements to keep it interesting. Having said that, there is something about it that seems to lean towards metal or industrial tones, and the mid point offers a chance to reflect differently as the beat pulls back to allow a strings section to bring some peaceful tones. The strings then lead into some pumping drums and the clarion call of a rave organ. As the album then begins to move towards its end, through the racing pulse of ‘Divine Machines’ and the schizophrenic beats of ‘Break The Silence’, before arriving at ‘When We Return’, which features some of the album’s darkest moments.
This rerelease of Deus Ex Machina has been nicely polished up for those who were there the first time around, with plenty of powerful remixes to investigate as well.