The Acacia Strain
is a metalcore/deathcore band from Massachusetts that was started in 2001. "Wormwood" is their fifth studio effort. The album features 12 songs with a total length of about 48 minutes. The music consists of relatively straightforward hardcore/deathcore music with lyrical themes including misanthropy and nihilism, and a dash of technophobia.
Oh man, this album is an absolute crusher. From the get go, it's like a steamroller at full throttle. You can feel this album in your gut, and it's anger and loathing is palpable. Before we get into the tracks, I want to talk about the production value. The guitar tone throughout this album manages to be both tight and bellowing at the same time. I feel that the bass guitar is a good spot in the mix as well, as once those low notes hit, it melds with the down-tuned guitars to make an beautifully thunderous sound. The drums have a triggered sound, sure, and although they may come across as click-y, I think that a fuller, beefier tone may have taken away from what the guitars and bass guitars are able to do together. In short, the sound is big.
The album opens with "Beast
," which is an appropriate title. After a distorted voice let's you know what to do with anyone in your way the song begins the slow, nasty chug that makes up most of it's duration, the rest of which is occupied by a pretty big chorus section featuring Jamey Jasta
. The momentum picks up in track 2: "The Hills Have Eyes
." This song is a serious of nasty, slow tempo breakdowns, ending on the best of them complete with dissonant lead. Next
we have "BTM FDR" (Bottom
Feeder), which begins with a hollow intro before the instruments come thundering in, starting with a relatively bouncy chugging riff before hitting pretty great breakdown. The song then takes on a slow groove before getting to what I like to refer to as "bottoming out." This breakdown stands out from the rest on the album to me because it is big, dark, and BIG. There is a nasty lead overtop, and bring the vocals in and you have one of the best breakdowns I can think of. Next
, we speed it up again for "Ramirez," a song full of 2-step riffs, and chunky grooves. Then, we slow it down for "Terminated," with it's singular riff that is slightly altered throughout the song, at one point even getting as close to a djent section as TAS ever gets. Track
6, "Nightman," brings the tempo back up a little bit as it chugs it's way into the second big chorus on the album. "The Impaler
" is up next; and it has probably the best groove sections of the album. The first have has a great sliding riff, followed by a, you guessed it, breakdown complete with harmonic sweeps, before getting into another solid groove in the second half. Then, we get to "Jonestown," a slow chug in the same vein as "4x4" from previous album The Dead Walk
. Moving on, we get to "Bay of Pigs," A breakdown-fest with a few sections that would make for great arena/festival chants. Next
is "The Carpathian
," another great groove track that picks up the tempo once more before slowing it down again for "Unabomber;" another slower tempo chug. Finally, the album's closer is "Tactical Nuke
." This song is a pretty slow banger that only continues to get slower after every completion of the riff, until it finally ends after one more chug at a snail's pace, a fitting end to bring the energy down from the aggression of the previous tracks.
My opinion: I love the Acacia Strain
, if you couldn't tell from the introduction, I really enjoy this album. While there are those few things that could lead to wanting just a little more (such as the plethora of breakdowns), this album is TAS once again delivering exactly what they set out to, and exactly what you expected. They promised heavy and dark, and they delivered it. This album is certainly one of the band's best works.
Line: As usual when we talk about TAS, leave your desire for technical wizardry and experimentation behind. This is in-your-face heavy music that doesn't care what you think about it. This is a must have for fans, and definitely warrants a playthrough by the casual listener.