Houston Calling

Review: Deus Machina (0304 Demo)

November 2nd, 2006 · 1 Comment

Deus Machina
0304 Demo

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly 20 years since Pretty Hate Machine. In the years since, many bands have capitalized on the trends that resulted from Nine Inch Nail’s worldwide success. Houston’s Deus Machina is obviously influenced by the other Man in Black, but doesn’t rigidly conform to one particular genre. Instead, the band straddles the line between progressive rock and gothic industrial music.

“Syzygy,” which gets Clear Channel airplay on Houston’s 94.5FM “The Buzz,” has an aggressive beat that builds in intensity similar to Filter’s “Hey Man Nice Shot,” but what sets Deus Machina’s music apart from its obvious influences is the rawness of the tracks. Sure, these are demos, but they don’t have that stereotypical sort of rawness. As writer, producer, and musician, Jeremy Lee–who, for all practical purposes, is Deus Machina (although he has a full band for live performances)–is able to control exactly how his songs end up. Should any rock music sound as polished as Trent Reznor’s? Surely not.

The influences are hard to ignore, but lines like, “Cannot choose between two sides easily / Just might lose my faith, my soul, my integrity / But I don’t want you to put me down in a hole again / Don’t wanna see this place in my soul again / No, don’t you suffocate me / No way out / Look at me in my eyes… I cannot and will not play this game that you need” show that Lee is unafraid to bare his soul to his audience. This honesty–which is missing from a lot of similar music today–adds to Deus Machina’s allure.

“Demiurge” and “Intentional,” the tracks that round out the three-song demo, also have their high points. At times, the former resembles late-90s nu-metal sans the hackneyed rapping, but Lee is smart enough to let the similarities end there. He drives the song into the same industrial-pop territory he does best with “Syzygy,” and then ventures into darker territory with “Intentional,” which is as aggressive and angry as any of his influence’s songs (“You stripped me down and burned me alive / Stole my soul and tortured my mind / You left me with all your lies / So fuck you and all your lies”).

What’s best about Lee’s songs lies in their complexity–Deus Machina’s sound is not original but it hardly matters. What matters is that the songs are strong and that they practically demand repeated listens–a true sign of good songwriting. With new material in the works, an upcoming gig opening Bam Margera’s Triple Threat Tour, and shows around Houston, Deus Machina should continue to garner attention, both locally and nationally. KTBZ has already nominated them for Houston’s best industrial/progressive band, so it’s only a matter of time before others catch on.

Hear Deus Machina’s music for yourself at the band’s website and on MySpace.

Tags: Music

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 thom // Nov 2, 2006 at 4:18 pm

    Deus Machina are the best band in Houston period. Do yourself a favor and go see them live, they are just as good on record as they are on stage. The whole band is really talented, it’s just not a one man show anymore. As for being on the Margera tour, well I would get there early because the best band goes on before the other sub par acts.

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