Ex Deo - Caligvla review
|Release date:||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.
Written on 18.10.2012 by
Professional concertgoer ... dangerously armed with a camera!
|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.
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