Rating:
8.0
Ex Deo - Caligvla
31 August 2012


01. I, Caligvla
02. The Tiberius Cliff (Exile To Capri)
03. Per Oculos Aquila
04. Divide Et Impera
05. Pollice Verso (Damnatio Ad Bestia)
06. Burned To Serve As Nocturnal Light
07. Teutuborg (Ambush Of Varus)
08. Along The Appian Way
09. Once Were Romans
10. Evocatio: The Temple Of Castor & Pollux


This is the second stab for Kataklysm's frontman Maurizio Iacono to pay homage to his Italian heritage. And while Ex Deo's debut album, Romulus, was still very much "katatklysmic", their latest effort sure is not.

Caligvla is much more atmospheric and reminds me more of a soundtrack to a movie than a metal album, with stories about the brutal, yet very short, reign of one of Ancient Rome's most tyrannical Emperor's, Caligula.

Starting with the opening track "I, Caligvla", the band sets the mood for things to come. The arrangements of the symphonic and orchestral parts are what make the new piece superior over Romulus. Somehow it seems that everything flows together better, without sounding "cheesy".

Caligvla is much more guitar and ...*gasp*... bass driven; and don't even get me started on the drum tracks; holy crap. Gone are the times of fast as shit only blast beats and Max Duhamel really shows his versatility on each and every song on the album. I like the more "screaming" battle cries by Maurizio as well, and would have to say that his vocal performance is much better than on Romulus; or maybe his vocals just flow better on Caligvla.

While the foreground of the album IS more orchestral, the background ensemble with the rest of the instruments do give the feel of being right there, in the middle of things. As already mentioned, kick ass drumming, accompanied by fierce tremolo picking guitars, and the use of subtle sound effects do add to the overall ambiance of the album.

Once again, the assortment of guest musicians is very impressive, ranging from Stefano Fiori (Graveworm) to Spiros "Seth" Siro Anton (Septicflesh) and Tristania's very own Mariangela "Mary" Demurtas. With the last they could have done without in my opinion; somehow female vocals don't fit into the song "Divide Et Impera". Guest guitarist Francesco Artusato of All Shall Perish also does an outstanding job on "Pollice Verso (Damnatio Ad Bestia)".

While it is pretty hard to pick just one song of the album as a personal favorite, I do lean heavily toward "Per Oculos Aquila". For me, this song is about as epic as it can get, starting with the harmonic melodies, the awesome guitar solo and the epic cry of: "Jove! My King. My Sun"

With just under 50 minutes of playing time, Caligvla has just the right amount of triumphant and faster death metal songs. The over 3 minute closing track "Evocatio: The Temple Of Castor & Pollux", while all instrumental, does give the whole album a sense of doneness.

I think Ex Deo escaped the moniker "side-project" with the release of Caligvla, and are well on their way to become the next big thing in the symphonic death metal scene.

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Band profile: Ex Deo
Album: Caligvla


 



Written on 18.10.2012 by
D.T. Metal
Editor-in-Chief

Professional concertgoer ... dangerously armed with a camera!
More reviews by D.T. Metal ››

Guest review by
AngelofDeth

Rating:
5.0
With their first effort, Romulus, the Roman Legion of Ex Deo, sought to conquer the barbarians of the metal community. But their debut became highly controversial, some hailing the conquest as a grand and epic success, still others seeing it as no more than a botched battle plan and imperial propaganda. Nevertheless, while Ex Deo may not have captured the hearts of the barbarians, they had caught their attention and so many prepared themselves for the sophomoric battle to come, enter Caligula.

Read more ››
published 22.02.2014 | Comments (3)



Comments

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Comments: 13  
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Jack--- - 18.10.2012 at 05:05  
Good review, i pretty much agree with you all the way, love this album!
R'Vannith - 18.10.2012 at 11:16  
No-one does this sort of thematic concept album better than Virgin Steele, but I'd be interested to see how it translates in terms of a symphonic death sound.
Dark†SymphonY - 18.10.2012 at 12:09  
A great review, I think this is better than their previous album.
Fradd - 18.10.2012 at 15:10  
Great album.
D.T. Metal - 18.10.2012 at 15:35  
Written by R'Vannith on 18.10.2012 at 11:16

No-one does this sort of thematic concept album better than Virgin Steele, ...

Ag Fox - 18.10.2012 at 17:45  
I'll listen to it based on your review then =P
didn't plan to originally lol
Lit. - 18.10.2012 at 18:09  
> Wants to pay homage to Italian heritage
> Bases album on Caligula

Right.
Unhealer - 18.10.2012 at 21:05  
Ahhh, I enjoyed it pretty much the same as the debut, that is a few of repeated listens and then we'll meet again in a couple of months...
Opethian - 19.10.2012 at 18:27  
Written by Lit. on 18.10.2012 at 18:09

> Wants to pay homage to Italian heritage
> Bases album on Caligula

Right.


Lol, this is casual music made for the casual listener
AngelofDeth - 20.10.2012 at 00:45  
"Ex Deo...are well on their way to become the next big thing in the symphonic death metal scene."

EDIT

Ex Deo...are well on their way to become the next big gimmick in the symphonic death metal scene.
Rulatore - 21.10.2012 at 05:25  
When I first heard the album, I found it pretty average/boring. After reading your review I had hopes that it could get a little better. Sadly wasn't the case.

I found it too simple, nothing really new or memorable.
Loathera - 21.10.2012 at 08:15  
I've liked the songs I've heard from it. So far, it's better than the latest Kataklysm.
Susan - 10.11.2012 at 20:07  
"Caligvla is much more atmospheric and reminds me more of a soundtrack to a movie than a metal album"

My thoughts exactly! Anyone who thinks that power metal has a monopoly on cinematic epic-ness has another thing coming.

I love the music on this album but at times the vocals were a bit much. I felt like he wrote his lyrics in all caps because he's YELLING AT ME THE ENTIRE TIME. WHY ARE YOU YELLING? There's a fine line between harsh vocals and yelling. This dude crosses it a bit too often. Not a deal breaker, though, clearly.

Excellent album and precise review!

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