Ex Deo – The Immortal Wars (Napalm)

Tuesday, 7th February 2017
Rating: 8.5/10

After two albums of Roman-themed death metal, it seemed the days of Ex Deo were numbered. The band called an indefinite hiatus back in 2014 but then just over a year ago announced that the Kataklysm side-project’s third album would be released in 2017. Low and behold, The Immortal Wars is that third (and often defining) album by the act, which truly captures the glory of Rome.

Each successive Ex Deo album has been stronger than the last, and The Immortal Wars continues that tradition. The synths backing up Ex Deo have a cinematic scope in their nature, and along with the militant riffing structure, do the band’s best job of conjuring up the ancient images of Rome yet, specifically utilizing the Punic Wars as the album’s main concept. Sleek melodies often invade the landscape (check out “Ad Victoriam”) but do so without ripping away from the contrasting mid-tempo bruisers in the riff department or their sometimes speedier counterparts. Without the hyperblasting requirement of Kataklysm, it allows the melodies to bloom and grow more epic in tone, particularly with the orchestral backing. There’s never a need to “overdo” either, with the brevity of seven tracks plus an intermezzo (which does a notably good job of carrying the Roman feel onwards) keeping it as a tight and focused album that will keep you inclined to hit repeat, unlike many “epics” that exhaust you by their finale. It’s clear there were certain marks the band wanted to hit, and went about making sure each was not only checked off, but toppled over.

Perhaps some time away from the project served it best, as The Immortal Wars sports a renewed sense of vigor and resilience from Ex Deo. There will always be comparisons drawn towards their parent act, but with continued growth of the melodic and orchestral elements, it conjures up a unique experience that should satisfy fans of both melodic and more brutally-driven death metal. The Immortal Wars captures an authentic feeling that is bound to make you want to raise a sword and shout along.

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