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Maurizio Iacono - Vocals
J-F Dagenais - Guitars
Stephane Barbe - Guitars
Francois Mongrain (MARTYR) - Bass
Jonathan Leduc (BLACKGUARD) - Keyboards
Max Duhamel - Drums
Nergal (Behemoth) sings in "Storm The Gates Of Alesia"a Caesar quote.
- solo in "The Final War (The Battle Of Actium)" .
Obsidian C solo in "Cruor Nostri Abbas".
Produced by KATAKLYSM guitarist Jean-Francois Dagenais (MISERY INDEX,
DESPISED ICON, MALEVOLENT CREATION) at JFD studios.
To engineer the architects of war.
"Romulus", the debut album from EX DEO, the band led by Kataklysm frontman Maurizio Iacono, is an excellent translation of ancient Rome into epic Metal. After much German, Viking or Celtic inspired Pagan metal there is now a new presence, a whole concept that deals with Ancient Rome and its imposing history. Egyptians and Sumerians, among others, were also brought back to life even in extreme music (Nile, Melechesh), but Romans, absolute protagonists for centuries and artificers of the first image of an unified Europe, would have appeared as intruders in the barbaric world of this metal subgenre. But Ex Deo lets the legions resound again, lets obscure legends run, lets forgotten fears break free, lets violent wars explode, lets mysterious atmospheres slither like menacing serpents among bloody dust and cold marbles. No longer intruders on the stage of common history. Romans, Indoeuropeans as Germans, Celts and Slavs, have the same fascinating mythological structure of the other old civilizations mixed with the most magisterial past that Europe ever possessed. And Rome was not only empire. Long was the way passing through kingdom and republic till the development of the imperial dominion spread out. Each song in "Romulus" represents a step, a particular moment of this long way, "explained" by a music that strongly affects. An intercourse of Melodic Death, Epic and Folk metal with gloomy, heroic, dramatic and enslaving timbres. "Romulus" is a magnificent opus, a motion picture in music.
All songs are varied , rich in instrumentation, in ideas and in vivid compositions, with the exception of the long boring Blood, Courage and The God's That Walk The Earth, although Invictus seems to me an even too theatrical eulogy . The musical ability, but, above all, the portentous amalgamation of the instruments and even orchestral clusters (as in the final track The Pantheon) is brilliant. Fortunately, many techniques, in particular the blasting eruptions, the thick guitars, vocals, the impending rhythmic clearly show evident Kataklysm roots, although empowered by a wider line up. Obviously more complex, but this complexity is only redundant in the lyrically concept of glory and honor which are really too emphasized. Nonetheless the passages that are also immediately attractive are countless as well as the powerful riffs. There are tracks that coruscate, that seem to acquire a life of their own and will be memorable like the majestic In her dark Embrace or the title track and opener Romulus with an unmistakable intro. Romulus (c. 771 BC–c. 717 BC) is the traditional founder and first king of Rome pictured in the Roman mythology, together with his twin Remus, as the son of the Vestal Rhea Silvia (descendant from fugitives from Troy), who was seduced by the god of war, Mars. Shortly nursed by a she-wolf , became worshipped as god himself after his reign ended with his supernatural disappearance. The videoclip of this track tells much of his story with amazing graphics. The music could not be better in order to represent this legend.
Legio XIII, "a song in honor of Rome's most devastating and lethal Legion ever assembled; the 13th Legion which helped bring Caesar to power" (as Maurizio says) is THE masterpiece of this album, nothing more, nothing less. Impending pounding rhythmics and melodies who spit blood and nostalgia, vocals very near to Kataklysm, atmospheric choruses, epic keys, all things that engineer the architects of war. And excellent guitar work made at home without guest apparition, isn't it'. I am not the person that falls in acclamation for guest musicians. The third diamond is Cruor Nostri Abbas, virulent and memorably atmospherically epic with a sensational chorus-loop, shows much of the Kataklysm qualities, an accompanying lead and an angular but intense solo by Obsidian C. (Keep of Kalessin).
Another splendid song that can be heard also separately from the contest (as Legio XIII) is Surrender the Sun, with great bass lines, and an implacable intertwine from lead and rhythmic guitars. The attraction is just a question of seconds.
An epic monument, that could be soundtrack for a documentary film, is the last track The Pantheon (Jupiter's reign), connected to the Roman pagan religion and characterized by impressing vocals. The final War (Battle of Actium) has folk tonalities along with bonebreaking guitars, dry impelling drum kick and a solo played by Karl Sanders (Nile).
This album is an excellent release, a time-travel machine. Ex mea longobarda sententia.
"In 2009, a band I've been waiting to launch
for the longest time will finally see its light of day: EX DEO. I've
dabbled with this idea even at earlier times when KATAKLYSM's 2001 album
'Epic (The Poetry of War)' and 2002's 'Shadows & Dust' were
released. I was never able to fully carry it out the right way, that is,
until now. As Roman ancestors believed, once Jupiter (king of the gods,
son of Saturn) made his rulings, it had to be followed. The time has now
come, it is now your turn to follow the calling and witness the rise of
this new blood: EX DEO.
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