"some music was meant to stay underground..."

A Flourishing Scourge - "A Flourishing Scourge" (CD)

A Flourishing Scourge - "A Flourishing Scourge" CD cover image

"A Flourishing Scourge" track listing:

1. Tidal Waves
2. To the Stench of a Rotting Corpse
3. Insatiable
4. Onerous
5. Awakened
6. Vacant
7. The Hedonist
8. Solace

Reviewed by on June 1, 2017

"...we're dealing with an incredible first effort here, and there had better be many more releases arriving down the line."

Getting to hear fresh new music before it arrives at the rest of the world's doorstep is one of the biggest perks of contributing at an esteemed metal site like this one, and doubly so when its an unknown band that won't stay that way for long. With any luck, A Flourishing Scourge is only going to be underground for a short time, as the band makes an incredible first impression with this debut, self-titled album.

Diving into opening track “Tidal Waves” I was immediately interested in the frantic death metal sound, but it wasn't until about 3 minutes into the nearly 10 minute track that I realized this is something special that's willing to try different things and not just stick to one style. Chills went up the spine, reminding me of first listens to bands like Alkaloid or Barren Earth.

“A Flourishing Scourge” offers up a satisfying blend of metal and prog, and it leans more towards the metal overall, with no clean singing at all. Rather, the progressive bits come in the songwriting and the shifts between heavy, atmospheric, and acoustic. For instance, going back to the title track “Tidal Waves,” there's another change about three quarters of the way through with a melodic guitar solo that crashes into the listener and carries them a totally different direction than expected, but without losing an ounce of heaviness.

There's something about the riff structure that's at once intensely familiar for blackened death metal fans, but at the same time A Flourishing Scourge still manages to keep its own identity. The sound is classic meets new, and it works, with everything from plodding death/doom segments to fast paced traditional metal guitar solos found across the album. “Solace” for instance starts off with a piano intro, then shifts into absolute light speed and gets incredibly technical out of nowhere.

Musically there's a ton going on here, from the melancholy acoustic ending on “Insatiable” to the lightning-fast drums of “The Hedonist.” The only style shift that didn't work for me was the symphonic interlude “Awakened,” which is pretty by-the-numbers and stands out for how much it doesn't stand out. It's a fairly skippable track, especially since follow-up song “Vacant” already starts with an acoustic segment that has more atmosphere anyway.

No song on this debut full-length release really ends the same way it begins, and the disc always keeps you on your toes, while managing to maintain a consistently dark and extreme sound. There are a few instances where the production and song writing are just a tad rough around the edges, but that might actually increase the underground appeal for a certain segment of the metal crowd. Overall, we're dealing with an incredible first effort here, and there had better be many more releases arriving down the line.

Highs: We need more progressive death metal, and A Flourishing Scourge delivers

Lows: The symphonic interlude track wasn't particularly memorable, and there are some minor rough spots to be smoothed out

Bottom line: A Flourshing Scourge offers an very impressive prog/death metal debut.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)