Blacked death metal. The name alone implies primal, rage-induced blast beating, heavy, primitive riffs and deadly tremolos. Progressive metal. This name brings to mind free flowing song structures as well as complex and intricate music with many layers. Hardly two genres that go well together, right? A Flourishing Scourge beg to differ on their self-titled release. @aflourishingscourge utilize twin-guitar tag-team of Tye Jones and Andrew Dennis to deliver some top-shelf trade-off riffs and leads, as well as the genre-standard tremolos. Where we really get to see the progressive bent of the music is in the album's multiple ambient interludes and buildups. The atmospheric noodling is certainly a pretty audio spectacle, but it belies one of the album's biggest problems: a failure, or perhaps unwillingness, to self-edit. Take for example Awakening. A nearly three minutes ambient song that leads into Vacant. ...which has its own ambient buildup passing a minute in length. Perhaps it's nothing more than a personal issue, but I feel like trimming the songs down a touch would make the album a much more enjoyable listening experience. That said, these ambient sections serve an important purpose: they break the album up. Sixty minutes of blackened death metal is a daunting prospect, no matter how headbangable AFS' songs are, so I appreciate the occasional breather before plunging back into the progressive brutality. All told, A Flourishing Scourge is a good album by a talented young band. If these issues are smoothed over by the time their follow-up rolls around, they'll truly be a force to be reckoned with. -FFO: (vintage) Opeth, Caligula's Horse, Ne Obliviscarious. -FAVOURITE TRACK: Tidal Waves.