CD Review: “The Immortal Wars” by Ex Deo

Ex Deo’s members don their armor once more to unleash a barrage of epic death metal on its third album The Immortal Wars. The band’s love for Ancient Roman history is in full effect on this record, focusing on Carthaginian military commander Hannibal. The opening track “The Rise of Hannibal” stomps like a Roman legion with its militaristic drumming and pummeling guitar riffs. The song captures the war-like theme of the album and captures the listeners attention from start to finish. “Hispania (Siege of Saguntum)” mixes symphonic strings over tremolo picking and a galloping beat to stunning effect. This track deals with Hannibal’s victory in Sanguntum Spain, which ignited the Second Punic War. Guitarists Stephane Barbe and Jean-Francois Dagenais seamlessly shift from doomy riffs to classical arpeggios while drummer Oli Beaudoin’s relentless blast beats maintain the pace of the battle. Album closer “The Roman” ends this record in glorious fashion. One instantly feels the victorious emotion of vocalist Maurizio Iacono as he proudly declares that he is Roman. A fitting end to an aggressive album that’s as education as it is brutal.

The Immortal Wars is musically and lyrically a captivating album. Maurizio has researched Roman history as the song titles deal with major battles and the politics during the Second Punic War. The band is sure to draw comparisons to Nile, whose founder Karl Sanders is known for his love of Ancient Egyptian history and mythology. That is not a bad thing, as it disproves the stereotype that heavy metal fans are ignorant or uneducated. Musically, the band plays as tight as a Roman unit. The syncopated musicianship is disrupted by chaotic blastbeats that only heightens the record’s energy. The production is clear and gives the instruments breathing room to blast from all directions.

Ex Deo pay high tribute to Caesar on The Immortal Wars. The band accomplishes its mission in a mere 38 minutes, which solidifies the saying “brevity is the soul of wit.” Fans of epic death metal in the vein of Nile and Amon Amarth should purchase this album. Furthermore, fans of Maurizio’s main band Kataklysm should buy this record. Rome eventually fell, but the spirits of its warriors are present on this album.

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