FLOURISHING — The Sum of All Fossils (review)

FLOURISHING — The Sum of All Fossils album cover Album · 2011 · Technical Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
Metal Music Archives Reviewer's Challenge: June 2022

Technical death metal is a genre I have a bit of a mixed relationship with. I find the more ultra technical side of the genre can sometimes be tough for me to get into, with the music often getting so lost in technical precision that it's hard to find anything to grab onto. However, there are some bands in the genre who offer up a good mix of heaviness, technicality and melodic death metal to help make things easy to get into. Then there's a band like the now defunct American band Flourishing, who offer up their own unique take on the genre for their debut (and sole full length release) The Sum of All Fossils, throwing in a mix of sludge and post-hardcore elements to go along with the main tech death sound. But while the album may have a distinct sound, the most important thing is whether or not that results in an enjoyable album. Well.......

I've had a somewhat mixed experience with The Sum of All Fossils, to say the least. Initially, it took me a few minutes to adjust to the rather raw sound, since I tend to be more inclined to genres with cleaner production, so my first experience of the album wasn't too great. Once I adjusted to it, though, I found myself hooked in, and started enjoying the music. However, by the end of my first listen I found myself a bit confused, as while parts of the album instantly impressed me, there were other parts that seemed to go in one ear and out the other. Several listens later, and unfortunately not a whole lot has changed.

Lets get to the basics, first. In terms of style, Flourishing play a rather interesting brand of tech death, with a very aggressive sound, utilizing frantic drums and down-tuned guitars (the tone reminds a bit of Fear Factory on occasion), and they like to throw in a lot of different sound effects, including some high pitched screeching noises, as well as what appear to be some audio samples every once in a while. The guitar work can get very intense at times, but there are also quite a few more atmospheric passages, and these are the parts I tend to grab onto the most, as they stand out a bit more. That being said, it is a fairly heavy and intense album throughout, often staying at a fairly moderate pace, and there are several extended sections of repeated riffs, along the lines of Gojira, though it also speeds up occasion, and those sections also help offer up a bit of variety.

I mentioned the production earlier, and I must say, despite my initial impressions on it being negative, after more experience with the album I think the sound quality is actually very good and fits the album perfectly, giving the music a raw sound, while still allowing room for everything to be heard. This certainly isn't one of those underground sounding black metal albums where you can't hear a lick of guitar, thankfully. Vocally, Garett Bussanick does a solid job, delivering the kind of deep, aggressive death growls fans of the genre would expect. There are also some rather weird clean vocal at times, such as some sorta rap sounding vocals on “The Prospects of Rejection”, and some very strange sounding screams on “By Which We're Cemented”, and while these are interesting, they aren't really used often enough to leave much of an impression.

In terms of sound, while this album may not be my usual style, I do think everything is performed very well, and the sound quality is quite good. Where I find the album suffers a bit, however, is in the songwriting. Honestly, trying to break this album down song by song is very difficult. I find while most tracks have memorable moments, such as methodical marching drums at the end of “By Which We're Cemented” (an overall more atmospheric track than most), the aforementioned sections with weird vocals, an intense tempo change near the beginning of opening track “A Thimble's Worth”, and some intense riffs and weird sound effects on closer “As If Bathed in Excellence”, it's hard to really point out a single track as being memorable in full. I do think “By Which We're Cemented” is probably my favorite here, with its slower paced, more sludge metal sound, while the second half of the album on the whole is fairly forgettable aside from a fairly solid closing track. Otherwise, it's hard to really say much about any of the tracks, as they all tend to blend together. Sometimes, that can work fine, such as on both full length albums by one man black metal band Aquilus, where everything feels like a cohesive whole and I'm constantly engaged the whole way through, but sadly this is an album where aside from a few memorable points throughout, I'm rarely all that engaged by the music, and it often passes me by largely unnoticed.

In the end, The Sum of All Fossils is a tough album to judge, because I think it is a very well made album, by a band who clearly has talent, and it's clear there's an audience for it, but on a personal level I find well over half of it simply goes in one ear and out the other. It's an enjoyable listen, but at the end of the day, I'm remembering very little of it even immediately after listening to it. The band has since split up, though Bussanick and bassist Eric Rizk have since gone on to form a new band called Aeviterne. Even after giving their full length debut, The Ailing Facade a single listen, it's clear their music is both more refined in terms of overall performance quality, and much more memorable when it comes to the songwriting. So, while this album in particular didn't leave me overly impressed, it did lead to me discovering a potentially great band with a very promising future.
Share this review

Review Comments

Post a public comment below | Send private message to the reviewer
Please login to post a shout
1 year ago
Excellent review although I feel differently about the album. Glad you found more enjoyment from Aeviterne, that's a potential AOTY for me.


Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
Buy this album from our partners
Paranoid Heavy Metal
Buy this album from our partners
Moving Pictures Hard Rock
Buy this album from our partners
Powerslave NWoBHM
Buy this album from our partners
Rising Heavy Metal
Buy this album from our partners

New Metal Artists

New Metal Releases

Le bannissement Atmospheric Black Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
Tarantula Heart Sludge Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
God Damned You To Hell Traditional Doom Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
The Absence Melodic Death Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
Unextinct Technical Death Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Metal Online Videos

Bosh66· 8 days ago
More videos

New MMA Metal Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions


Latest Metal News


More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us