Ex Deo – Romulus (Nuclear Blast Records)

Saturday, 16th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

A lazy person would dub Ex Deo as “Kataklysm without the hyper-blasts,” but it’s not that way at all, dude. Sure, all four current members of Montreal-based DM mongrels comprise Ex Deo, yet this is very much vocalist Maurizo Iacono’s baby and it’s as good, if not better than anything Kataklysm has done since 2002.

Based around Rome and its demise, Ex Deo is as well-researched and put together of an album as they come. Proposed to fit under the epic metal banner, Romulus proves to be an easy sell for both that target audience and even crosses over into death metal territory at various points, especially on “In Her Dark Embrace.”

Vocally, Iacono stays not very far from his Kataklysm comfort zone, which come to think of it, would be a mistake if he did, as the epic undertones the bulk of Romulus call for the man’s hearty belch to be intense, which it is. Plus, guest spots from Behemoth’s Nergal, Nile’s Karl Sanders and Keep of Kalessin’s Obsidian C. can’t hurt either.

Keyboards abound everywhere, courtesy of Blackguard’s Jonathan Leduc who plays about a prominent role as Iacono on the title track and “Storm the Gates of Alesia.” Continuing on with Kataklysm’s song-first approach, Ex Deo is also littered with some choice riffage, most notably on “The Final War” and album highlight “Legio XIII” which boasts a driving main riff that is awfully infectious.

One of the better side-projects to emerge the past decade, Ex Deo is proof positive that the Kataklysm team is not one to be messed with…in Canada…in Rome…wherever.

www.myspace.com/exdeo

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)