Ah, Rex Mortem… Not to be confused with Rex Morton, with whom I went to infant school, but rather the Latin for ‘The King’s Death’, the story of which is told throughout the course of the eight tracks to be found on this taut, compact little album…

Burned in Effigy hail from that hotbed of Latin scholarshsip, Chicago, and, thrusting young guns that they are, deliver a modern take on the melodic death genre; However, whilst they may be young, there’s a tonne of songwriting maturity packed into tracks like The Empiricist that really belies their tender years. These blokes know their stuff, and aren’t afraid to prove it time and again on an album that is one of the most fat and filler free I’ve heard in a while.

Vito Bellino and Brad Dose are an impressive axe duo (though apparently live the band’s six string duties are handled by Steve Bacakos and Mike Hisson); Both run a neat line of melody through much of their playing, meaning that the blowtorch vocal stylings of Mark Smedbron are always balanced with some surprisingly tuneful elements in a nice counterpoint. The best track here, Hades, shows these facets off very nicely.

I mentioned the lack of filler here, and clearly arrangement and songwriting smarts count for a lot here; every track is designed to achieve maximum impact from the first listen; Atlas, for instance, could easily be a lost Amon Amarth track, packed to the brim with latent melody and an impressively wild-eyed vocal assault, not to mention that most illusive beast in this genre, the catchy verse riff. The quiet interlude mid song is a masterstoke, allowing the band to remind you just how heavy they are when they crash back in in concert with Smedbron’s titanic roar.

Indeed so mature is the song writing here you keep pulling yourself up and uttering surprised little grunts on the continued recollection that this is Burned In Effigy’s debut album; If this is what they can come up with first up, the melodic death metal world would appear to be their oyster – If this style of music is your thing, get in on the ground floor while you still can and remember to tell them who sent you!

Rex Mortem releases on January 28th.