What do Ancient Rome and Canada have in common? Ex Deo. Ex Deo is the brainchild of Maurizio Iacono, otherwise known as the frontman of Kataklysm from Canada.
In 2008, Iacono had decided to start the side project, which he would use to honor his Italian heritage. A year later, Ex Deo had released their debut album, Romulus, which had also featured the entire band of Kataklysm – with Jean-François Dagenais playing lead guitar, Stéphane Barbe switching from bass to rhythm guitar and Max Duhamel playing the drums - including occasional Kataklysm live bassist François Mongrain, and former Blackguard keyboarder Jonathan Lefrancois-Leduc.
Following the release of Romulus, Ex Deo started mainly touring Europe, including a tour with Paganfest, which had also featured Korpiklaani, Die Apokalyptischen Reiter, Unleashed, Alestorm and Blackguard. I’ve personally seen them on that very tour myself, and can savely say that it’s well worth catching them live.
After that touring circle, the band members went back to Kataklysm, to record and release their 10th studio album Heaven’s Venom in 2010. 2 years later, Kataklysm started touring Germany in support of their new DVD, The Iron Will: 20 Years Determined. That’s where I’ve caught them live just 6 weeks ago.
After the gig, I’ve got to share drinks and chat with Maurizio Iacono, Jean-François Dagenais and Stéphane Barbe. I don’t remember how I’ve gotten home later that night, but I do remember that Iacono had told me about Ex Deo’s upcoming 2nd album, and the already released music video for ‘I, Caligvla.’ Curious (and still a bit drunk), I’ve decided to stumble to my computer and check out said song (video posted above). And I was blown away.
‘I, Caligvla’ takes everything Ex Deo had done on their debut album and kicks it up a notch. More melodic, more brutal, more symphonic, more epic. On August 29th, the band released the follow-up to Romulus, Caligvla via Napalm Records. The opener isn’t the only epic monster of a song on the album, but it’s by far my favorite. But check out the album yourself and let me know which is your favorite. There surely are enough great choices to pick from.