Ex Deo – The Immortal Wars

Ex Deo
The Immortal Wars
Released 27th February 2017
Symphonic Death Metal
Released via Napalm Records

Ex Deo is a side-project band of Maurizio Iacono from Kataklysm. Since their formation in 2008, the band has released two albums before going on a short hiatus in 2014. They returned again the following year to embark on their third venture – a concept album about the Punic Wars. They were fought between Rome and Carthage and took place between 264 B.C. and 146 B.C. This album is entitled ‘The Immortal Wars’ and include epic tales of two history’s most famous generals, Hannibal and Scipio.

I must admit that I’m not that well versed on ancient Roman history so this album gave me an excuse to do a little background research about the Punic Wars and general Hannibal. Thanks for the history lesson guys! Impressive battle scenes featuring armed war elephants and a clash between two generals renowned for their strategies and tactics of warfare sounds like a pretty good topic doesn’t it? Well let’s find out… Ex Deo are known for their grandiose, symphonic intros and the opener The Rise of Hannibal doesn’t disappoint. It’s a skilfully executed mixture of melodic death metal not too dissimilar to Iacono’s main band Kataklysm only with a certain cinematic atmosphere due to the additional orchestration provided by Clemens Wijers.

Each track tells a story ranging from the faster, more energetic yet still symphonically-enhanced Hispania (Siege Of Saguntum), the aggressive tale of destruction Crossing the Alps to primarily orchestral intermission Suavetaurilia (Intermezzo) all the way through to the end. The aforementioned Crossing the Alps is probably the most brutal-sounding song on here mostly due to Iacono’s growls and war cries which seem all the more ferocious thanks to the powerful guitar riffs and the drums mimicking “sounds of battle”. Speaking of war cries and chanting, that’s one of the things that ‘The Immortal Wars’ has in abundance. The tale of Hannibal’s defeat in Ad Victorian (The Battle of Zama) is a good example of this. You can almost picture the armies marching on to the battlefield and the noise as the battle commences.

Overall, ‘The Immortal Wars’ is without a doubt Ex Deo’s most ambitious and impressive album to date. I honestly couldn’t find any weak tracks on here and as with any good action-adventure movie, this album is best enjoyed as a whole. As long as Ex Deo maintain the balance between melodic death metal and historical themes without overdoing it on the orchestral elements, they have a long and bright future ahead of them.

4.5/5

Iza Raittila

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