Alright, I know in the diehard metal world, any genre with the word "core" is detested by a good chunk of people. But hey -- I'm a fan of metal other than types with the "core" stigma, but you know, I do enjoy a good chunk of deathcore once in a while.
So onto the album : It is straight up deathcore ; you won't find these guys bending genres. But make no bones about it -- while The Acacia Strain
, does play bare-bones deathcore, they do it well, and their brand is a lot heavier than most of the deathcore/metalcore scene.
is a great listen. I love almost all of the songs on it. They certainly aren't the most technical or difficult (my band could probably play most to all of these songs), but they are smart enough to know that when you aren't the most skilled out there, you have to focus on other aspects of the music. Listen to the opening of "Brown Noise". It is extremely simple, consisting of a slow, one-note chugging riff accompanied by equally simple drums. But it manages to be an interesting intro to the rest of the song because of the heavy production and spot-on timing.
I love the band itself, the three guitarists do create a ton of brutal atmosphere (it's like a wall of sound ; not once during any of the real songs does the intensity let up) and though they use leads sparingly, when the do break out from the heavy, low riff-to-riff structure it sounds respectable. Vincent Bennet has one of the best voices in the metalcore scene. His vocals are incredibly low and undeniably the most brutal in the genre. The bass is basically unnoticeable, so there's nothing to talk about there. And
the drums, while at times overpowering and almost always nothing special, are nonetheless good enough that they're fun to listen to. Because this band's talent isn't always there, their songwriting had better be up to snuff, and they do deliver in this department.
The Acacia Strain
has a knack for writing memorable riffs and breakdowns and putting them together to create awesome and incredibly heavy songs. Songwriting is solid throughout pretty much the entire album (on the real songs) and is always entertaining. They receive bonus points for great usage of a Charles Manson quote near the end of "Passing the Pencil Test".
Now for the disappointment -- The actual songs on this album are always stellar, but that's just the problem : a lack of actual songs. The album bosts nine new songs, but not all of them are full length songs. "Extreme
Wrath of the Jhiaxus" is literally a screwed up quote from Star Wars : Attack
of the Clones. "Halcyon
" is an acoustic interlude before the final track, which is performed well, but it belongs absolutely nowhere on the album. And
finally, the opener "Carbomb" is an entertaining one-minute pseudo-song with a memorable chugging riff. Its one riff is actually so good that it pisses you off that they didn't develop it into a full song.
What we have here is a handful of perfect deathcore songs, a cool intro, and two pointless interludes. The six real songs are good enough that I'm awarding this a 17/20, but the lack of actual material here is slightly alarming.