Burned In Effigy
Rex Mortem

Here is one of those rare, blind promo grabs that works out, works out really well, as a matter of fact, as Chicago newcomers Burned In Effigy has delivered an exceptionally competent and enjoyable debut album of neoclassically inspired melodic death metal.

Starting as an instrumental duo citing The Black Dahlia Murder, Between the Buried and Me, Arsis, and The Human Abstract (the latter of which I totally hear in the melodic lead work) as influences, the duo has expanded adding guitarists and a vocalist to flesh out their vision which started in 2017 on an EP called Terrestrial. And the result is a very impressive debut album that hints at something pretty special for coming albums if they can stay together.

Fans of Arsis, and James Malone’s, shredding, melodic guitar work should be heading to the band’s website to buy this right now as this reeks of A Celebration of Guilt, though it does have a little more restraint and controlled pacing, with a focus on slower, moodier songs. And as I mentioned above, the few of you that recall The Human Abstract‘s Nocturne,  particularly standout tracks “Mea Culpa” and “Vela, Together We Await the Storms” from that landmark album of metalcore’s 2006 heyday, will revel in the sweep filled arpeggios and lurches (and after hearing  “The Empiricist”, I actually researched the band members to make sure this wasn’t former The Human Abstract members who moved to Chicago…)

With an overarching concept of tyrannical kings in history throughout the 8 song, swift 32-minute affair. the album canters by with brisk aplomb, with no song really outstaying its welcome or getting too lengthy. Everything is in that perfect -3-5 minute chunks, and apparently, all the music was written a while ago, going ahead with the instrumental style, until the decision was made to add vocals and Trevor Strnad sound-a-like, Mark Smedbron was chosen.

As I said, this isn’t a pure high octane shred fest from start to finish, though there is plenty of it such as opener ‘Doomsayer”, “Artorias”, “Hades” and “Treachery” (a very Arsis sounding number).  But it’s never close to shredding overkill.  But there is a surprising amount of restraint somewhere in all of the tracks that have a rather pleasant if still feral sway to them; the aforementioned “The Empiricist”, “Nightfall” and incredibly enjoyable, laid back  “Atlas”. Closer ‘Vendetta” is the only track that never quite hits, being a bit too commercial and metalcore-ish and more Starve for the Devil era Arsis, though it does have a neat solo.

The production is crisp and modern and I certainly appreciate the choice to add vocals to the band’s sound, as I probably would not have opened the promo, if it was simply instrumental, melodic death metal. Bravo guys.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 18th, 2022

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