The Acacia Strain
is a metalcore/deathcore band from Massachusetts that was started in 2001. "The Dead Walk
" is their third studio album. The album features 11 songs with a total length just below 32 minutes. The music consists of relatively straightforward hardcore/deathcore music with lyrical themes focusing on misanthropy and misogyny.
"The Dead Walk
" is a starting place for this band. The sound has evolved from their previous "3750" album, and they did away with much unnecessary filler (something that was painfully typical in the genre at the time of this album's release). This record also marks the last with guitarist Daniel Daponde, who had also contributed to the first and second TAS album. Additionally, this is the first album to feature present drummer Kevin Boutet.
The album flows relatively smooth, for better or for worse. The albums opens with "Sarin: The End
," an "instrumental" (and I use that term ever-so-lightly). The next track is "Burnface," a highlight of the album with it's string-bending opening riff that quickly introduces the listener to the breakdown-ridden experience that they've just begun. "4x4" is up next, and it brings the chugs into the mix, and features a mini solo in the middle before plowing into the breakdowns that conclude the song. "As If Set Afire" follows and looks to outdo the previous track in terms of how heavy the chugs are and how slow the breakdowns become. Then, we get to "Angry
," which has the listener start with some machine-gun speed chug riffs, before slowing it down for the middle portion, then bringing in the 2-step action and ending on a slightly higher tempo breakdown with a melancholy lead over it. "Whoa! Shut It Down
," comes in with a few catchy breakdowns with some good grooves in between. Then we have "See You Next Tuesday
," which features some okay chugging sections, with a good guest vocal spot that certainly makes the song memorable. Next
, a monster of a track in "Demolishor," with the likes of punchy breakdowns, spastic sections, and a absolutely nasty riff in the last third of the song (which includes one of the wildest pinch harmonic bends I've ever heard). Track
9 is titled "Pity," which I find appropriate, because by now you are sick of the same breakdowns, which is compounded by the fact that this track is so very overshadowed by its predecessor. Next
up is "Predator
; Never Prey
," which features not one, but FIVE guest vocal sections, although if you aren't paying close attention, you will probably only notice one of them towards the end. Honestly, if it weren't for the guest sections, this song would be almost forgettable as it features the most generic riff and most generic breakdown on the whole album. Finally, the album closes with the title track, "The Dead Walk
." The string-bending style of riff makes an appearance once again, and is followed by a pretty nice little solo in the middle of the track, before the album ends with just one more breakdown-ish section complete with fitting lead. Unfortunately, the overall experience is relatively enjoyable, but may leave the listener wondering where the last 30-or-so minutes went, but not in a good way.
My opinion: I love The Acacia Strain
. This is the first album of theirs that I ever listened to. I understand that this is their earlier work, and it comes before they really found their own sound, but, honestly it's just not that memorable. There are some cringeworthy "-core" tropes used here, specifically the "instrumental," which consists of noise followed by a few dissonant guitar notes. This is the record that got me into this band, so it holds some sentimental value to me. It's also one of the first albums in the heavy music genres that I ever listened to. However, nowadays, if I'm going to listen to the Acacia Strain
, there is only a slim chance that I'm going to pick this album for any reason other than nostalgia.
The bottom line: This is an average at best album from a now well-established band. It is typical as far as early 2000's deathcore/metalcore goes. Your going to get some dirty riffs, and chunky (albeit unmemorable) breakdowns, and some clichéd deathcore lyrics. For fans it is worth a listen, and may even hold a special place in ones TAS collection. However, the casual listener may want to pass on this one, and go check out their later work.