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NYC metalheads deliver
a bludgeoning head-throbber
of an album

Flourishing - The Sum Of All Fossils
(Megaforce Records)
1 star (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: July 29, 2011
Flourishing

Review by Tony Bonyata

You gotta hand it to NPR for exposing their radio listeners to a broad range of different music styles - from jazz, folk, world music, opera and cutting-edge indie rock. But as much as they stretch their tastes on terrestrial airwaves, they have even more leeway to branch out online through their website into even more obscure musical paths - some that would surely leave listeners scrambling for their radio dial. Such is the case with last week's segment of First Listen (NPR's online segment which premieres a new forthcoming album in its entirety), as they premiered the latest debut album The Sum Of All Fossils from the NYC metal trio Flourishing. Actually to be fair, though, it's much closer to a first pummeling than a first listen.

Filled with temple-throbbing, jackhammer rhythms, plenty of doom-and-gloom minor chords, and the obligatory vocals of Cookie Monster waking up with a wicked sugar hangover that seems to plague a vast majority of various metal subgenres (speed, death, black, doom, grindcore, et al), there's no question that this music (if it can actually be defined as such) is for acquired tastes only... or, perhaps more accurately, those with little taste at all.

There's nothing on this record that resembles those things that we refer to as 'songs,' but rather bludgeoning blasts of aggressive and obstreperous noise that, while occasionally incorporating the shape-shifting tempo changes of math-rock, offer little pleasure, and certainly even less peace. It seems rather pointless to even try and dissect these tracks on their own, as they just tend to mindlessly plunder and pummel from one number to the next as if a saké -soaked Godzilla was clumsily staggering his way from one small Japanese village to another and laying them to waste.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm no expert in the subtleties and nuances between the many various styles of over-the-top and in-your-face aggro metal, but then again I couldn't tell you the difference between a bad headache and a migraine. Although, come to think of it, after listening to this affair in its entirety, I believe I now can... and, man, do I need a stiff dose of acetaminophen.

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