Do you know why the RMR deckhands endlessly return to metal? It’s because of the outstanding technical skills of those musicians involved. In this day and age, only this almost otherworldly sorcery on display today will really get a band anywhere. That is not to belittle other music genres, but I truly never saw this excellence thing pushed to such extremes.
One of those out-of-control examples in the metal multiverse is the Tech and Melodic Death Metal faction. 2021 allowed for a great run in its murky waters with a few absolutely wild specimens. That raises the stakes pretty high for any new band out there. And always remember, most of them will crash and burn on that formidable palisade, and only a select few will hurl themselves over it to victory.
Now, it looks like we’ll continue straight down that road in 2022. The Chicago-based boyz from Burned in Effigy1) take off to a strong start with their feisty debut record Rex Mortem. The band sports a tasty mix of Tech and Melodic Death Metal with enough thrash to keep the arid metallic souls happy and some excursions into prog. Somewhat of a mix between a subdued Archspire2), Stortregn, and a few nods towards Perugia, home of Fleshgod Apocalypse.
In other words, the record expertly trolls a number of well-known formulas that taketh freely from the things that pleaseth the greedy ears of the avid fanboy. And there’s nothing really wrong with that constellation either. On the other hand, it also means that you won’t find any new pathways explored.
But fear naught. Rex Mortem majestically enters the stage and comes before the merciless ears of the RMR review committee with Doomsayer. And that one hits like a thunderbolt. The track will assault yer eardrums with some snazzy Technical Death Metal that seems to emanate directly from Geneva in Switzerland, home of the aforementioned Stortregn. And they waste no time with useless frills. Directly to the throat seems to be their credo, with no whiff of an intro to boot. And that’s definitely worth a few brownie points right there.
And sometimes, methinks that Burned in Effigy truly tried to pick the gems from different parts of the melodic Extreme Metal multiverse. Like – for instance – Nightfall that sounds like a US version of what Aephanemer usually inflicts on the audience. Melodic Death Metal with a penchant for soaring riffs and even tastier solos. Or The Empiricist that sounds pretty much like an Arch Enemy clone with its trademark riffing. To the point that some RMR crewmates went off to search for covers.
I could go on, of course, but that’s beside the point. Fact is that much of Rex Mortem gorges with some stellar metal mastery. Red-hot shreds meet a tasty dialogue of Black Metal rasps and guttural Death Metal growls, just to give way to some jazzy interlude or other. With some acoustic guitar thrown in for good measure that the band grandly calls neoclassical. And that seems to be the wont of that genre lately.
Also, the band’s undeniable knack to offer smooth transmission into frequent changes of tempi, rhythms, and style again catapults them pretty much to the forefront. And here’s another one. For a debut full-length, there’s a helluva lot of proficiency right there. You won’t find any hesitation to pounce, no insecure hollering, or other meanderings about the soundscape. Rex Mortem takes no prisoners, but – instead – keeps its royal ass moving at lightning speed.
All of that comes with a very tight production. One that leaves no room for squeaky cheese or other such useless sentiments. Instead, the no-fucks-given approach of this band keeps you glued to your earphones right through the short airtime of some 32 minutes or so.
So, if you’re looking for that ultimate mix of savvy Tech and Melodic Death Metal high on a yet unknown number of energy drinks, Burned in Effigy is your band. Rex Mortem effortlessly latches on to the string of excellent Extreme Metal pieces of that ilk from 2021. This is just pure metal geekery, rough-hewn, harsh, and truly delicious.
Ed’s note: Hunger for more? Try Fall of Stasis instead.
Record Rating: 8/10 | Label: Self Released | Web: Facebook (band)
Release Date: 28 January 2022