Ex Deo Speak on 'Caligvla' and the Inspiration for Their Ancient Roman Theme

Ex Deo Speak on 'Caligvla' and the Inspiration for Their Ancient Roman Theme
Montreal's Ex Deo, the ancient Roman-themed death metal side-project from Kataklysm frontman Maurizio Iacono, recently released their second LP Caligvla. Speaking of the record in an Exclaim! interview, Iacono explains how it surpasses their first album and where the idea for a Roman-inspired band came from in the first place.

As the follow-up to 2009's Romulus, Iacono says that Caligvla is a big step ahead for Ex Deo.

"First, the production is much better," he says. "The first one had a very organic sound, we wanted to do something a little bit more underground sounding. This one though, we went with a much bigger production, we wanted to have more of a soundtrack environment, to give it justice and to have a big sound.

"It took eight months to put this record together because it's much more intricate than the first one. The elements in it to put this stuff together were a lot harder this time around because we didn't just go with a flow of something pre-prepared, like we did on the first record. We came in and we analyzed every moment, every part together. Plus, the first record is a record that when we did this project, we didn't really know how it was going to come out and how it was going to sound, and if the band had its own identity or not. Now we know where the band stand and what the band's direction is."

With his Italian background, Iacono says that the decision to create an ancient Roman-themed band came easily to him.

"My parents, when I was younger, made sure that I understood a lot of the history behind my culture and it always kind of stuck with me," he says. "But I think that I really got more into it when I started visualizing it more, watching movies like Ben-Hur and really old stuff like that. Then obviously movies like Gladiator really emphasized the whole thing, it made me really get more entwined with it."

But the influence went much deeper than the silver screen for Iacono.

"I decided to go to Italy and spend some time there with my family and just get really together with my culture, and I learned a lot about it. I figured that the metal scene is a vast place where you could do a lot of different things. So I figured it would be cool to bring this type of project, with this type of history, to this type of music. It was unique, nobody's ever done it before and I figured if the Vikings are doing it with Amon Amarth and all that, then I can do something that I think was even more interesting."

While Kataklysm remains Iacono's main gig, he explains that Ex Deo is an outlet to express his more artistic ambitions within death metal. "Trying to bring this whole imagery to Kataklysm wouldn't work. Kataklysm is a very street-oriented band, it's about social aspects and this is kind of more like a fantasy thing.

"I wanted to get more into theatre, I wanted to bring the concert experience more to almost a theatre level and I couldn't do that with Kataklysm. I have a very big vision for [Ex Deo] and I want to bring it to a level where people will see a concert, and it's not just music and a band headbanging, it's like you go to see it and it's a whole theatre set-up. I want to bring something different to the music industry."

Caligvla is out now via Napalm Records.