When Kataklysm vocalist Maurizio Iacono had the idea to bring the history of the Roman Empire into his world of death metal he knew it would not fit in the framework that he and his band had planned for Kataklysm. So what was the solution? Well for them it was to create a side project that would function separate from the main band and also enlist help from some very interesting folks.
So when Kataklysm decided to take a break, Maurizio made up his mind to put together this project that has been in his head for a very long time. On this first album Maurizio had the idea of introducing all to the founding of the city of Rome itself and the tales associated with it. As the place it all started this would be the perfect spot to kick off his epic history lesson.
The disc starts off with an eerie chant that awakens the spirit of ancient Rome. Ex Deo brings the story of the city's beginnings into the metal realm with the story of the Rome's founder "Romulus". The bands mixture of lush orchestration, flamboyant metal and the menacing vocals of Iacono make it easy to envision the tale being told. Ex Deo is on to something here and that something is an exciting combination! This stunning beginning is just a tasty treat for an album that captures the ancient era with a very modern twist.
The band then turns to one of Julius Caesar's greatest moments when they put you right in the battlefield with the epic "Storm The Gates Of Alesia". This triumph for Caesar is also now a clear victory for Ex Deo! Magnificent work that makes it easy to visualize what is going on. When the band enlist Behemoth vocalist Nergal to deliver the final victory words of Caesar you can almost believe that you are there to witness this turning point in the building of the Roman Empire.
With tales of Marc Anthony and Cleopatra, the Gladiators and many of the aspects of the birth and growth of the Roman Empire, this is an album that makes you want to dig into the history of which they speak as well as bang your head unmercifully.
The band is spot on perfect and even though it is all the members of Kataklysm there is no doubt that the band is following the vision of their leader Iacono in the direction that he wanted to go with this project. You will never get the two mixed up as there is such a texture to this album it will never be confused with the rawness of the main band. A lot of the atmospheric mood of this disc is the direct result of guest keyboardist Jonathan Leduc from Blackguard. He provides the melodic backdrop over which Ex Deo brings these tales to life. There is also some help from Obsidian C from Keep of Kalessin and Nile's Karl Sanders. All these guys know about epic, brutal metal and were great choices to help out.
Make no mistake about it, this album is pure 100% metal. The meshing of their extreme style with subject matter that demands the bombastic attitude displayed, provides us with one of the most appealing disc I have laid my hands on.
Iacono says that he left this album with a very broad base to acquaint people with the history of Rome in general. Using stories and tales that are very well known he wanted people to be able to relate to what he was singing/growling about. He also promises to explore certain aspects of the Roman Empire in greater detail in upcoming episodes from Ex Deo. I for one can hardly wait.
2. Storm The Gates of Alesia
3. Cry Havoc
4. In Her Dark Embrace
6. The Final War (The Battle of Actium)
7. Legio XIII
8. Blood, Courage And The Gods That Walk The Earth
9. Crour Nostri Abbas
10. Surrender The Sun
11. The Pantheon (Jupiter's Reign)