When they keep things tight, taut and tasty – second track Darkness Calls, or it’s successor My Shadow, for instance – Floridian metallers Absolon sound like they might have it in them to become real contenders to the US metal throne.

A few things combine to keep them at the top of the second division just now – some arrangements don’t quite sound as fully realised as they could be and the production just gets a bit ‘cut price’ at times – but these are things that are easy to remedy, especially when taking into account the fact that these three guys (vocalist/guitarist Ken Pike, guitarist/bassist Alex Repetti and drummer Wayne Noon) are clearly talented fellows with a lot more to offer than is fully seen here.

Pike doesn’t push his vocals to the extreme, sensibly opting to stay in the mid range for the most part, so the real star here is Repetti, who adds genuinely thrilling lead work to most of the tracks. No mere shredder, it’s clear he puts a lot of work into his solos, fitting them to serve the songs perfectly. Add to this the pleasing chuggability of his and Pike’s rhythm work and you have a pretty good guitar arsenal at your disposal; Fans of late eighties Christian metal acts like Shout and Barren Cross will enjoy the title track tremendously thanks to this superior axe work, I’m sure, but you don’t really need to be of a religious bent to enjoy the headbanging opportunities afforded by the sleek riffage and galloping rhythms… Album closing track, War of Angels, is particularly irresistible if you’ve a penchant for breaking the air guitar out when the spirit moves!

Enjoyable stuff, then, especially so if, like me, your enjoy getting the dust out of your ear holes every now and then with some simple, straightforward, melodic heavy metal with no gimmicks, frills or pretensions. Well played,  gentlemen – well played indeed!

The Blood Seed is out now.