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Ex Deo – The Thirteen Years Of Nero Award winner

Ex Deo
The Thirteen Years Of Nero
by Thomas Kumke at 18 October 2021, 10:51 PM

EX DEO, initially formed as a side project of KATAKLYSM’s Maurizio Iacono in 2008, is a Canadian Symphonic Death Metal band inspired by the ancient Roman history. The Latin expression “ex deo” stands for “out of God”. Beside Maurizio Iacono, long-standing KATAKLYSM members Stephane Barbe and Jean-Francios Dagenais are also part of the band and Jeramie Kling (VENOM INC.) is the latest recruit replacing former KATAKLYSM drummer Olivier Beaudoin. “The Thirteen Years Of Nero” is EX DEO’s fourth full-length album and it was engineered, mixed, and mastered by Jean-Francios Dagenais at his JFD Studio in Dallas, Texas. The orchestrations were arranged by Clemens Wijers (CARACH ANGREN). The album was released via Austrian Label Napalm Records and it has a length of more than 48 minutes.

The excursion into Roman history continues and after the chapters of the rise and fall of Romulus (2009), the Emperor Caesar (2012), and the wars between the Roman Empire and the ancient Cartharge in “The Immortal Wars” (2017), the next conceptual part is dealing with arguably the craziest Roman Emperor Nero. “The Thirteen Years Of Nero” deliver plenty of stories and references to that time period of the Roman Empire and EX DEO start with “The Fall Of Claudius” and the famous speech of Nero where he threatens to replace the corrupt members of the Senate. The speech transitions into a dark sound that is driven by heavy and powerful guitar riffs at an almost stomping rhythm at mid-tempo supported by the orchestral arrangements, plenty of double-bass drums, and the distinctive growls of Maurizio Iacono. There is an epic melodic section as combination of lead guitars and strings during the middle part of the song.

Imperator” continues with the darkness, the tempo, the heavy rhythm, and the orchestral arrangements. One feature on this album, which becomes evident here, are the bombastic orchestral arrangements which brilliantly fit into the Death Metal sound. The orchestra and especially the brass section is driving the track forward. There is a perfect harmony between Metal sound and orchestra which makes the track to one of the highlights on the album. “Imperator” is one of two video releases and whoever wants to get an impression on the theatrical part of the story should watch it. “The Head Of The Snake” starts at a fast tempo and there is a frequent switch between fast and mid-tempo sections. The guitar riffing is very aggressive and has a lot of Thrash Metal and traditional Death Metal vibes. The melodies remain epic, almost melancholic.

EX DEO work occasionally with cinematic intros as in “Boudicca (Queen Of The Iceni)” which tells the story of the Queen of Britannia Boudicca who lead the uprising against the Roman Empire. Who else than the amazing Brittney Slayes (UNLEASH THE ARCHERS) could be in the role of the Queen of the Iceni? The track was also released as video and is another highlight of the album. The YouTube link is given below. The stomping rhythm and the double-bass attack continues in “Britannia 9th at Comuldonum” alongside the grim sound provided by the guitars and the orchestra. The brass provides here the background with the strings contributing to the melodic part.

After an orchestral interlude (“Trial Of The Gods (Intermezzo)”), the assault continues with the gloomy “The Fiddle & The Fire” and “Son Of The Deified”. While the former includes a bombastic and melancholic chorus section, highlight of the latter is the extended lead guitar solo, something that is really rare on the album. The guitar riffing on “Son Of The Deified” is sharp and the short contribution of the brass is very effective providing a chilling atmosphere. “What Artist Dies In Me…” starts at head-banging tempo with catchy riffing and transitions into more complex textures with varying tempos, contributing lead-guitar parts, and the orchestra being a bit more in the background for most parts of the track. The album comes to its conclusion with “The Revolt Of Galba” and the suicide Nero’s,

EX DEO release an outstanding symbiosis of Death Metal and grandiose orchestra. The sound on the album is grim, doom-laden, and bombastic which fits perfectly to the lyrical concept. “The Thirteen Years Of Nero” largely benefit from the contribution of Clemens Wijers whose orchestral arrangements are second to none. EX DEO have established their very own and unique sound which makes them standing out as a band. The production of “The Thirteen Years Of Nero” is excellent throughout. The album has all the ingredients to become a serious contender for the symphonic Death Metal album of the year and it should belong into the album collection of every Death Metal fan.

Songwriting:  10
Musicianship:  9
Memorability:  9
Production:  10

5 Star Rating

1. The Fall Of Claudius
2. Imperator
3. The Head Of The Snake
4. Boudicca (Queen Of The Iceni) (ft. Brittney Slayes)
5. Britannia 9th at Comuldonum
6. Trial Of The Gods (Intermezzo)
7. The Fiddle & The Fire
8. Son Of The Deified
9. What Artist Dies In Me…
10. The Revolt Of Galba
Maurizio Iacono – Vocals
Stephane Barbe – Guitars
Jean-Francios Dagenais ­ Guitars
Jeramie Kling – Drums
Dano Apekian – Bass
Record Label: Napalm Records


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