Ex Deo returns to the fray after a temporary hiatus with their third effort, The Immortal Wars to show the world how to properly Roman-up your metal. Let’s take a look.
Hannibal. Everybody knows the story of Hannibal. Of how he and his men were court-martialed for a crime they didn’t commit escaped from military prison and started working as soldiers of fortune. I’m quite sure there were elephants involved at some point as well. Anyway, newly resurrected Roman-themed metal band Ex Deo decided to dedicate an entire concept album to the man, and it’s great. They should have called it The A-Team though, but I guess The Immortal Wars suffices too.
When the band officially disbanded a few years ago, I was sad about it. I quite enjoyed the two albums they released (2009’s Romulus and 2012’s Caligvla), and there was something quite affable about the cheesy pompousness of those two outings. There’s something cool about and Roman Empire and Maurizio Iacono (Kataklysm) mined that for every penny it’s worth. Lucky for me, Iacono decided to breath new life into Ex Deo late last year, and we get to enjoy the third album, The Immortal Wars, a concept album about the Carthaginian general Hannibal.
With a running time of thirty-eight minutes, The Immortal Wars is a relatively short but sweet experience. There is no filler material on here, and each of the eight songs (including the instrumental intermezzo Suavetuarilia) packs a punch. Furthermore, clocking in at about five minutes on average, these are very bite-sized chunks of heavy metal. Over the course of The Immortal Wars the pace is firmly set in marching tempo, as you’d sort of expect from a Roman-themed band. It’s an album filled with sturdy riffing, over which Maurizio Iacono bellows his marching orders.
Ex Deo’s third album is a concept album for people who have a disdain for concept albums. You’d never guess it was one if you didn’t know. There are little sonic reminders that yes, this is an album about warfare and elephants, and in between the songs there are trampling noises, animal sounds and elephantine trumpeting, but these things never get in the way of The Immortal Wars being a fun metal album first and foremost. It’s an epic one too, more than the first two. Especially the digital orchestration is dialed up to eleven here, giving a more bombastic feel to most of the tracks.
As said, at thirty-eight minutes this is a very lean album, but it never feels short. Just shy of the forty minute mark, The Immortal Wars feels just right in length, and never sags when it comes to quality. It’s a fun album for those who enjoy their death metal melodic, bombastic and slightly cheesy. Very recommended.
Release: out now
Label: Napalm Records
- The Rise of Hannibal
- Hispania (The Siege of Saguntum)
- Crossing of the Alps
- Suavetaurilia (Intermezzo)
- Cato Major: Carthago Delenda Est!
- Ad Victoriam (The Battle of Zama)
- The Spoils of War
- The Roman
- Maurizio Iacono – vocals
- Stéphane Barbe – lead guitar
- Jean-Francois Dagenais – rhythm guitar
- Dano Apekian – bass guitar
- Oli Beaudoin – drums
Review by Ralph Plug