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Z7 Metal Dayz 2009






Ex Deo: "Caligvla" 

I       I, Caligvla

II      The Tiberius Cliff (Exile to Capri) 
III    Per Oculos Aquila 
IV     Divide et Imperia 
V       Pollice Verso (Damnatio ad Bestia) 
VI     Burned To Serve As Nocturnal Light (bonus track)
VII   Teutoburg (Ambush Of Varus) 
VIII Along The Appian Way 
IX     Once Were Romans 
X       Evocatio: The Temple of Castor & Pollux 

Maurizio Iacono – vocals  _ ancestral origin  Apulia and Catania (Italy/Sicily)
Stéphane Barbe – lead guitar_ ancestral origin  Belgica (Belgium)
Jean-Francois Dagenais –rhythm guitar_ancestral origin Gaul and Britannia (France_Scotland)
Dano Apekian – bass guitar_ancestral origin Artaxiad/Kingdom of Armenia (Armenia)
Max Duhamel – drums_ancestral origin Gaul (France)

All Music by Ex Deo- Lyrics by Maurizio Iacono

Musical orchestration and keyboards performed by  Jonathan Leduc at Silver Wings Studios.

Guest vocal appearances: Stefano Fiori (Graveworm) on Per Oculos Aquila; Mariangela Demurtas (Tristania) on song "Divide et Impera; Seth Siro Anton (Septicflesh) on "Pollice Verso (Damnatio ad Bestia)"

Produced by J-F Dagenais and Maurizio Iacono. Executive producer napalm Records and maurizio iacono. Recorded, mixed and mastered at JFD Studio. Engineered by J-F Dagenais.

Label: Napalm Records





History engraved in music.

Released on August 30, 2012 (Emperor Caligula's 2000th anniversary) under the label Napalm Record, the bright new album of Ex Deo offers a musical carpet which is again worth to be background of a documentary or of a very refined videogame even if a couple of songs in this new album are TOO magniloquent and declamatory. Anyway there are also songs which are simply fantastic. let's examine.

The title is dedicated to one of the most infamous and insane Roman Emperors: Caligula, whose true name was Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus and belonged to the Julio-Claudian dinasty, and the listener is invited to undertake a journey into the fascination of the lost monumental time of a still young Roman Empire. Through the music , you can feel orrors, perceive desecration and fear , you can "grasp" the discipline, the vows and the epic feeling of a glorious as well as already decadent era. The opener acts as entry door into this world. I Caligvla is rich in bombastic stereotyps concerning the picture of the "roman" epic imperial grandeur but it is a very effective introduction, yet isn't able to capture our minds in the same way  as Romulus did in the first album of Ex Deo. The track is characterizide by rage, choruses, heavy as well as acoustically designed  guitars , vocal announcements, symphonic feelings, at times very pounding drums. In one word the track number I is very theatrical, unfortunately not awesome. On the same length wave, track number II, The Tiberius Cliff, uses epic elements to install imaginery and fear. All in all another descriptive track.


 But the dark song Per Oculos Aquila (track III) changes everything, although epic the music is inpired by sadness and bloodthirsty menace. A sacrifice to the gods.  And the composition is good, finally. The notes are intersting, impending, connected to Kataklysm style. Divide et Impera is very varied, it is bombastic again with many uptempos and female chorus and heavy guitar work, dry bass lines,  but it lacks of memorable passages and it lacks of a unifying profile, although the various pieces are repeated. 

Fortunately with the track V we can listen to another of the best songs of this album: Pollice Verso (Damnatio Ad Bestia), a true monument to  gladiators, with a propelling dark phrase, moments of clean lead guitar, a nice solo and tons of gloomy atmospheres. Yes this song would deserve a video too! Rivers of endorphines flow at the end of listening. the interest is focused more on men who lay on the gods than on men who believe to be gods, and i like this research about more intime details. No place for the weak, but the strong must pay however a high tribute. 

As I stand here, waiting for the gods to kill

Theres no turning back

Theres no hope for a dying man

Killing is the only way, the only way to see another day


So far away from home

Blood stains the sands of eternity

Pollice verso

Today is a good day to die

Pollice verso

Bring me to the after life

Bonus track VI Burned To Serve As Nocturnal Light is somehow catchy in its monumentality. It is a little song about Nero and Christians. The words "Rome burns... with the flesh...with the blood" are so emphasized and so clear pronounced. It's a good song, but i dont get why a track in sixth position should be presented as "bonus track". Otherwise would have this album nine songs only? Or because it deals with another emperor?? So why is this a "bonus track", illuminate me, please! 

Although my "barbarian" Longobard blood cries virtual bitter tears in admitting it (dalia di giacomo: ancestral origin COMO Lombardy), i agree with EX Deo: Arminius was a traitor. Arminius means  ambush of Teutoburg, catastrophal for the Romans. Track VII, Teutoburg (Ambush Of Varus) goes around this episode: the defeat trhough ambush of three Roman legions.  Great passages of melodic death metal. 

Along The Appian Way is quite impressive: epic force and memorable guitars tell the  unhappy story of the rebellion of Spartacus and final defeat, with all remaining rebels crucified along the Via Appia. 

Once Were Romans is the song which reminds the most to Kataklysm in style and vocal characteristics. It is a true piece of "Roman" Death metal, if this definition could have a meaning at all (the album is sold in Germany with the sticker "Epic Roman Metal" on it). As always, lyrics are straight and significative:

Once were Romans - Once were men who died for honor - once were women who made imperial blood


Once were gods who walked upon the earth


Full of "symphonies of conquest" with Greek influence/chorus oriented is the last song Evocatio: The Temple Of Castor And Pollux dedicated to the twins , sons of Zeus.

"Caligvla" is the second step,after "Romulus", in presenting some of the biggest events in the history of Rome in all facettes, the valuable and the insane ones. Kind of a second scroll, a second volume. At the end Rome is always seen like a radiant yet often bitter beacon of civilization. The road to hell might be paved with good intentions, and the road to civilization is paved with  insanity and evil.  This project of Maurizio Iacono and Kataklysm all is something unique and original. It is history engraved in music like an opera with more recitative songs waiting for the "arias" in which the composition develops  more structurally, in this case melodic death metal oriented with memorable hooks or marches in which drums are mighty, at time explosive, but let somehow in the background, letting  vocals, guitars and keyboards outstand.
In Caligvla instruments, vocals, choruses are focused on the mighty side of this history, unfortunately less on the finer feelings (exception is Pollice Verso, where strength is associated to more personal and subtle perception. but this is surely the will of the Gods...isn' it? Last but not least, the Cover  Artwork by Seth Siro Anton is superb.

Post Scriptum: just notice in the booklet the "ancestral origins" of the line up members ;) repeated here too  in the line up. 

Rating : 9/10



written  by dalia di giacomo

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