Burned In Effigy - Rex Mortem

One of the first strong albums of 2022, Chicago based melo death group Burned In Effigy finally unleash their first full length album since their EP back in 2017. A very guitar focused group, the band sounds like they mix a bit of metalcore a bit in their style, but draw on influences that range from early Soilwork, Starkill, and even Insomnium, but minus any clean vocals or keyboards. This is drawing more back towards the late 90s/ early 2000 style of melodeath where groups like In Flames or At The Gates just delivered riff heavy, mid paced, more accessible death metal with tons of melodies. Burned In Effigy draws on these influences and crank out 8 tracks of music that seems like it goes by a bit quick as the album barely clocks at 30 minutes, but each track is engaging and solid with progressive elements to keep listeners interested and to lift “Rex Mortem” above the typical melo death album that so many groups tend to fall into.

Tracks like ‘Doomsayer’ and ‘The Empiricist’ showcase what Burned in Effigy can do best. The tracks hit hard with riffs but also melodies with a mid paced snarl/ growl in the vein of Black Dahlia Murder but the group also takes moments for quieter, slower interludes that quiet things down and give listeners pause among the chaos. Rather than go full force the whole way through these little breaks with the guitars actually draw more attention than the blunt force of the riffs and make the tracks more memorable. Other tracks like ‘Hades’ are a little heavier with not much in the way of quiet interludes, but the band injects a ton of groove and this is where one can hear the metalcore elements that are comparable to a band like Trivium. On the downside, the heaviness tends to make the track go faster, so it ends as quick as it began. ‘Atlas’ mid paces its way through with the marching thump of Amon Amarth and is probably the highlight of the album as it showcases the brutal and soft sides of the group, and the melodic solos are engaging and last longer than just a few seconds.

The album closes on the In Flames sounding ‘Vendetta’ which brings the album back in full force to the opening ‘Doomsayer’ which hits almost as hard. Still very riff focused, the backing guitar melodies make this track extremely memorable. There are even some parts that sound almost power metal styled with its rather holiday sounding guitar solos, and while a little laughable at first, one cannot help but enjoy them with their rather upbeat style, which is a bit of a change from the rather darker, melancholic solos that are performed on other tracks like ‘The Empiricist.’ Overall, the album is a very solid debut without much in the way of a bad track. While the band tends to stick to a basic formula and not overpopulate the tracks with clean vocals, keyboards, or guest vocals which tends to the be typical melodeath experience these days “Rex Mortem” is full of infectious riffs that will grab listeners and root them in place for the full ride. Definitely a band to watch for in 2022.

4 / 5 STARS

1. Doomsayer
2. Artorias
3. Nightfall
4. The Empiricist
5. Hades
6. Atlas
7. Treachery
8. Vendetta

Self released
Reviewer: Colin McNamara
Jan 5, 2022

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