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The Immortal Wars

Napalm (2017)
Rating: 9/10

Battle metal, make no mistake about it. Listening to The Immortal Wars, the third full-length record by Canada’s Ex Deo, is tasting the blood that flows from the arenas and battlefields in and around Rome, and instead of running away in fear, you don a helmet and sword, and join the fight.

For those not in the know, Ex Deo is the side project of Kataklysm frontman Maurizio Iacono, of which the violent and bloody history of Rome serves as the band’s primary inspiration for. Although Ex Deo was placed on hiatus in 2014, it was reactivated in 2015 and now, in this the year of our unholy father, 2017, Ex Deo has unleashed The Immortal Wars and in true warrior fashion, it seeks out and kills the weak. You’ve been warned.

The Immortal Wars is part symphonic, historical, and just all out crushing out metal. I like the balance that it strikes here – just enough symphonic and historical to balance the record perfectly, allowing the album to tell its story without one overpowering the other.

A great example of this is ‘Cato Major: Carthago delenda est!’ which in and of itself is an entire story to tell, a record to make, a movie to shoot. The soundbytes throughout this song accentuate and help bring it to life in, dare I say, epic manner? It’s a big song with an even bigger sound and a lot of moving parts, but the vastness of ‘Cato Major: Carthago delenda est!’ works without getting lost inside itself.

What I glean from this record is that it’s a much more cohesive and hard hitting record than past efforts. This one is a true arrow to the heart of the enemy; it’s an armour piercer. That’s not to say that Romulus (2009) or Caligvla (2012) weren’t great efforts, indeed they were. It’s just that The Immortal Wars is that magnus opus that I think Ex Deo has been moving towards, very much like an army on a battlefield, all calculated movements, which Romulus and Caligvla were, bringing them to the band right here to this point in time.

There’s a lot of standout tunes on this record. ‘Cato Major: Carthago delenda est!’ is an instant favourite just because of its truly epic nature and scale, and how well that production translated on record. ‘Ad Victoriam (The Battle Of Zama), ‘The Rise Of Hannibal’, and ‘The Spoils Of War’ are heavy enough to crush tanks on the field and battle, and if played loud enough, jolt the Earth off axis.

The Immortal Wars is a killer album start to finish, and the massive scope that this record plays on and subsequently pulls off is nothing less than spectacular. This is symphonic, 300-style, movie type metal that deserves serious mention and attention amongst the metal masses. Spread the word, Ex Deo is a band to be reckoned with and The Immortal Wars has already made my top ten list for the year, and we’re not even at the six month mark yet.

Theron Moore

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