Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Flourishing - The Sum Of All Fossils

During this past month I've been spinning Flourishing's The Sum Of All Fossils. It's easily one of the less mentioned bands in this year's teeming pool of death metal debuts, but The Sum Of All Fossils easily deserves so much more talk.

This year has seen a lot of death metal debuts and releases by established artists, but Flourishing tops nearly all of them with their convoluting passages. As I mentioned, Flourishing is a death metal band. Their style could be described as experimental, but that would be comparing them to some of metal's lowest common denominators (Unexpect I'm looking at you). Here you have something much more special and worthy of being considered as such.

Flourishing's experimental, nearly progressive brand of death metal is comparable to fantastic acts such as Gorgut's and Vengeful's, but with it's own unique flare. The music is densely layered and composed of winding passages that are not afraid to abruptly change key in the middle of a track. This makes for a fully engaging listen and one that you can spin time and time again and still find new nuances. There's also a crushing, tectonic rhythm provided by the mid-paced but powerful drumming and the deep, organic basslines. It has what is also easily one of the most rich productions and one of the best mixing jobs of the last year.

The Sum Of All Fossils begins with one of the faster tracks on the album "A Thimble's Worth." The pacing isn't breakneck ala Origin or Gigan (on certain tracks), but is more midpaced for technical death, and it works so much better. Tracks like "In Vivid Monochrome" and "Momentary Senses" are bound to be technical death classics, with their interesting structures and key switching. That's another one of the highlights of Flourishing's well-composed music: they often play major as well as minor scales, which is always fun to hear in death metal when done with the traditional sense of relentless aggression. This brings out a lighter side of the band that's reminiscent of Anata's more progressive tracks. The lyrics are generally positive to fit with the brighter scales, and they also have a lot of introspective qualities similar to Gorguts and Ulcerate. However those qualities get kind of awkward on "By Which We're Cemented," where there's an odd clean vocal section. That one part is not enough to ruin the song though, and the rest of the song and album grinds along like continental plate on mantle. There's another one of these sections on "Momentary Senses," but it's fleeting and laced with effects, making it at least bearable. The rest of the song is a writhing primordial monstrosity and that major scale brightness I mentioned earlier shows itself with just over minute left in the track. There's actually an interesting, grind-esque rhythm on "Summary," and the closer is a fittingly dissonant conclusion to one of the best albums released in 2011. Definitely check this one out.

9.5 out of 10


1. A Thimble’s Worth

2. The Prospects of Rejection

3. By Which We’re Cemented

4. In Vivid Monochrome

5. Momentary Senses

6. Fossil Record

7. Summary

8. As if I Bathed in Excellence

Monday, October 10, 2011

Njiqahdda - The Path Of Liberation From Birth And Death

I have a lab due at midnight (that I don't have data for) and a project due tomorrow that I need to start working on, so I'm going to keep this short. I heard great things about this album and I decided to check it out. I have yet to listen to it so I figured hey I'll share it on here and maybe get some feedback. Apparently it's some conglomeration of black metal, ambient/post-rock, and technical death, which honestly sounds really interesting to me. Maybe I'll edit this post (or post a review later, after I'm done with Flourishing) with my thoughts on the album. Funnily enough it's not their only release this year, as they're another hyper-productive band amongst the sea of overzealous black metal acts.

Otherwise here it is [and it's awesome] - Written long after this was posted

9.0 out of 10


1. To Return from the Flame

2. Transcendental Knowledge upon the Battlefield

3. Attaining the Confidential Supreme Absolute

4. Universal Form Replaced with Despondent Chaos

5. The Opulent Throne

6. Sky and Earth Remembered Only as Blood

Enjoy (maybe?)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Concert Review + Vale Of Pnath - Vale Of Pnath

So as you can probably tell, I've been pretty busy. There's going to be a lot of small updates here and there coming in the next few days. There probably won't be many reviews since structured writing in schoolwork completely turned me off to the idea. Don't worry though, I have one I'm in the middle of writing for Flourishing's AWESOME debut, so stay tuned for that.

On a sidenote Saw Jeff Mangum, Opeth, and Katatonia. I will be seeing Neon Indian, Mayhem, and a few other bands in the future. Jeff was great live, really emotional performances, although he seemed a little down as a person. Very modest and typical indie/hipster, but something about his demeanor during the show and the way he played certain fan-favorites made me think he was sick of performing or at least the emotions he associated with those songs. I'm probably looking too deeply into it, but he did a damn good job regardless.

Katatonia? Nobody cares about them anymore. Nor do I, and thus I'll spare you the boring details of their forgettable setlist.

Opeth however blew ass. I can't get over how horrible the show was, not because they did a bad job playing their material, but because of the direction they're heading and Mikael's blatant disregard for his fans. Here was the setlist:

The Devil's Orchard
I Feel the Dark
Face of Melinda
Porcelain Heart
The Throat of Winter
Patterns in the Ivy
Closure (snippet)
A Fair Judgement
Hex Omega


WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS OPETH FANS? TELL ME. I know Opeth doesn't want to be "metal" anymore, but they could at least play a few metal songs for their fans. When people started getting pissed that Opeth was ignoring their fans (right around Porcelain Heart when they made a big deal about it being their first time playing it), Mikael announced that "Opeth does what they want, regardless of fans' reactions." That's a cool attitude to have if you're producing GOOD music, but Opeth hasn't been good since 2001, and their new album Heritage, despite not being metal, is still mediocre by progressive rock standards. Mikael's constant fellatio of this man is a culprit for sure:

"Oh Mikael that's the spot!"

It's not even like I'm a big Opeth fan either. I really liked them when I was first getting into metal, and always wanted the opportunity to see them live, and now that I have, I can safely say I'm disappointed and won't be spinning any of their oft overrated albums in the near future. Granted they've been going downhill since Lindgren left his songwriting duties (and eventually the band). Maybe I'll give Heritage a scathing review or something. Who knows. From what I listened to of it, there's only a few worthwhile progressive tracks while the rest is a failed songwriting exercise on Mikael's part. Not too surprised there. It's hard to play guitar when both of your hands are firmly grasped on Steven Wilson's genitalia.

Yeah. That one's been building up for the past few weeks.

However I'm not gonna leave you without new music to try. Vale Of Pnath's The Prodigal Empire has been in constant rotation (with Soreption, Flourishing, and Baring Teeth) these past few weeks, and I'm digging that melodic tech/death sound. It's like The Faceless but a bit more listenable and less flamboyant. So without further adieu, I present it to you:


1. Legacy Of Loss
2. Mental Crucifixion
3. Brain Butcher
4. The Prodigal Empire
5. Borne Extinction
6. Poisoned By Prosperity
7. Time Of Reckoning
8. Sightless
9. Cerulean Eclipse