Tuesday, August 1, 2017

review: A Flourishing Scourge

review by MMB
A Flourishing Scourge
A Flourishing Scourge
release date: June 9th, 2017
label: independent
1.Tidal Waves 09:54
2.To the Stench of a Rotting Corpse 06:30
3.Insatiable 06:50
4.Onerous 08:18
5.Awakened 02:58
6.Vacant 07:17
7.The Hedonist 08:12
8.Solace 09:20
total time 59:19
Alright, that's it, I've had it! I've had it with the polite, politically correct commentary about this album. It's time to get excited about A Flourishing Scourge! It's time to tell the truth.
I have read some well-meaning comments, commentary and reviews of A Flourishing Scourge, but some of the opinions make it appear like this band makes music for people with a PhD in mathematics. Hey, you don't need a college degree, you just have to be a metal fanatic. You're the perfect audience that this band needs.
Seattle's A Flourishing Scourge is progressive extreme metal, but maybe we need to say what they are and what they are not, given that progressive has so many meanings. Some people have noticed that progressive is often used for various forms of punk, hardcore, postrock, djent, deathcore, metalcore and that type of groove-guitar/chugging stuff. That's not A Flourishing Scourge. This band has big riffs, hooks, melodies, the type that come from heavy metal because this is a heavy metal band: anyone into thrash, death and black metal will feel at home with the guitar work, and with the intense drumming. This is not a band that plays “grooves” and this is not a band that chugs away at the low strings. The drumming is, basically, traditional death and black metal drumming, it’s not “groove” drumming.
The vocals are growled and deep, not whiny or screamo. This may or may not be a problem for some. You'll have to decide. It's traditional extreme metal growling, basically; not microphone-cupping, low-intensity growling. It's extreme metal vocals with fullness and depth.
Supposedly, there is a problem with the length of the album. It is almost an hour of music and this is a turn off for some or it is too much for others or whatnot. Is the music too much today and don't feel like listening to the complete album? Press pause or stop and come back to it another time. Maybe you can handle it only a couple of songs at a time? I bet A Flourishing Scourge has no problem with that.
This is a professional album by an independent band. I can tell you for a fact that this album has cost a pretty penny to make. Who knows if there will be another album? Maybe they will break up? Maybe the next album won't be for another seven years? If a band spends its own money, and they have gone way above the call of duty to make an album that makes them and Seattle metal proud, isn't that something to celebrate?
Maybe you don't like extreme metal. Understood. Maybe you don't like prog. I get it. But if you want skills, professionalism, intelligence, dedication to the craft, a love of metal music, thoughtfulness, effort, hard work and songs by a heavy metal band that is thinking big, then this is what you will find on the album. Let me show you.
1.Tidal Waves 09:54
You could say that A Flourishing Scourge starts the album with a song of melodic black metal with a robust death metal production. Right away you can hear the importance of black metal for the band. The guitar work is definitely based on black metal, then around the three-minute mark the pace changes through a mellow pause before once again diving into extreme metal territory and before you know it, now there is a big progressive feel in the guitar while the speed seems to have increased. Lots of tremolo moments backed up with a thick, thrashing rhythm. Then, down the stretch, things slow down a bit, the bass guitar transitions to slower guitar work, then some tremolo melodies wrap it all up. Big statement from the band: Here we are, this is what we do. How do you like them apples?!
2.To the Stench of a Rotting Corpse 06:30
The title is the most different of all the songs. You would think it's a brutal death metal band. Kind of strange. Sure. This track begins very softly and contemplatively, but then out of nowhere the blasting black metal tears through the peace, then a transition to less frenzied pace yet still very much uptempo. The song does have vocals, but the guitar power is so decisive that the guitars are rulers of this realm. In particular, the last portion of the song is very melodic and the melodies go at a nice, ear-friendly pace, and that’s how the song ends. Very nice.
3.Insatiable 06:50
Total blasting black metal at the beginning. This is A Flourishing Scourge going as fast and as black metal as they can. At about the 1:30 mark the speed lets up a bit, for an uptempo mood, with some lower, brutal growling. At about 3:00 the song is still a headbanging tune, still going strong, but something else has crept up: the progressive riffs, the thrashiers bits, the melodies all have entered the door and have made themselves comfortable and by 4:30 the guitar solo is in full swing. The guitar harmonies, the melodies are taking this one home, but not before a very pleasant segment, about a minute, of acoustic guitar comes in and takes the song to the very end.
Ok, that's the first three songs. Let’s say that the album is difficult. After listening to the album repeatedly the music, to me, sounds memorable, melodic and of very good quality, but I can see how it may be more difficult than some other bands or albums. Instead of worrying about knowing the whole album now, why not explore these first three songs and listen to them a few times and see how the perception changes.
You can always come back to the rest of the album. Me, too. I’ll come back to the other songs at a later date. Until then, consider dedicating some time to A Flourishing Scourge.

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