A Flourishing Scourge - A Flourishing Scourge - (7/10)
Published on September 9, 2017
Genre:Progressive Black / Death / Thrash
Formed within just the last four years, the Seattle based A Flourishing Scourge put their emphasis on progressive tinged black/death metal with some thrashier touches as well. With only one prior EP to their name, the band has released its self-titled debut independently and via their own imprint, Begotten Records. For nearly an hour, these 3 men (and one session drummer), shred and pound away with some well executed, if perhaps forgettable music.
The album starts off very strong, with “Tidal Waves” really showing all that the band can offer. Fast paced riffs, slower melodic sections, throat ripping vocals and a strong sense of the genre they are fulfilling. In fact, coupled with the following track, the opening 16 or so minutes really showcase the best of A Flourishing Scourge. The riffs are infectious at times, and the ability to distinguish from one to the next is great considering how many riffs are being placed in each track. The drumming is great and varied, and works well with whatever the band is needing to do for the song at any given moment.
While the vocals are strong, there is little variety in the performance, and it can become grating somewhat throughout the course of the record. That being said, given the length of the tracks on this debut, there are plenty of sections of instrumental breaks. While the actual musicianship is generally strong, there are some times where the guitar solos perhaps feel a bit too “noodly” and go back and forth in accentuating the songs and detracting from them. While there is a lot of emphasis on the faster riffs and snarled vocals, A Flourishing Scourge does manage to throw in some really nice acoustic sections as well. The transition between the faster to the slower are well done, feeling like a natural break in the songs, and does give the songs some extra breathing room. With the tracks being as long as they are, there is a lot of material being thrown at you, so it’s nice to get a chance to slow down and enjoy something other than a barrage the entire time. One could argue as well that the length of the album is a detriment, as the latter part of the record seems to suffer a bit from sounding too similar to the first, and with a majority of the songs reaching close to the seven to eight minute mark, the material feels as if it wanes a little, and can’t keep up the level of interest as the start of the album.
A Flourishing Scourge certainly have a lot going for them. There is no denying that. Their ability to combine black, thrash and death metal is commendable, and the integration of the acoustic parts is appreciated and generally successful. That being said, there is something to say about restraint in a case like this. There are bands in the genre that can pull off longer tracks that still manage to keep up the interest level, yet A Flourishing Scourge is an album that could deal with being a bit shorter. The last few tracks could be more impactful with a few minutes shaved off, and would probably lend themselves better to repeated listens. The band members are clearly very well adept at what they do, and their influences are clear, but could stand to tweak a few things here and there. While a strong debut for sure, this self-titled release signals good things to come, even if it’s not there just yet.