The Acacia Strain
is a metalcore/deathcore band from Massachusetts that was started in 2001. "Continent
" is their fourth studio effort. The album features 11 songs with a total length of a touch over 40 minutes; add another 2 songs for about 6 more minutes if the bonus tracks are included. The music consists of relatively straightforward hardcore/deathcore music with lyrical themes including misanthropy and nihilism, much of which is portrayed through metaphorical misogyny.
The Acacia Strain
describes themselves as "hardcore music with metal influences," and I whole-heartedly agree. But, don't let that discourage you; this album has the breakdowns and grooves, sure, but there are some respectable melodies throughout as well. So, let's break this bad boy down:
The album starts out with "Skynet," which you'll find both punishing chugs, and a few grooves that will scratch your two-step itch. The next track, "Seaward," continues the chugs before rolling into two, back-to-back, chunky riffs before bringing in the breakdown around the halfway point, and then powers through the second half. Then, we get to "Dr. Doom
," which vocalist, Vincent Bennett, notes to be one of the bands favorite songs to play live. This song has a bit of everything; starts out fast, then hits you with a pretty good slam, and there's even the rare guitar solo. A note on the solo; your not going to see a lot of flashiness here, but it fits the song very well, in my opinion, especially before the inevitable breakdown that closes the song. Things slow down for "Forget-Me-Now," an another track that gets the groove going before an absolute crusher of a second half. "Baby Buster" follows with a slower pace and features a wonderfully melancholy, although simplistic melody. Next
up is "Balboa Towers
," which is essentially 4 minutes of various breakdowns. Then we reach "J.F.C." (Jesus F*cking Christ, in case you were wondering), The Acacia Strain
's version of an "anthem," if you will. The same riff is varied throughout, although it remains punishing all the way through until the surprisingly bright sounding bridge. That
is short lived though, as another huge "I am the end of the world" plunges the listener into the final breakdown. As we enter the home stretch, "Kraken
" delivers another breakdown-fest, before we get to "The Combine," arguably the heaviest chug-fest on the album. This journey closes with a phenomenal instrumental in "Behemoth
." This last song is a rarity for this band as it features some clean guitar tones, and some smoother (while still heavy) sections, with a solo section over the top. I feel that it is a great note to end on, bringing down the non-stop aggression of the rest of the album to a more somber tone.
My opinion: I'm a big fan of The Acacia Strain
. I see this album as a point where this band really found their sound, and made a way for them to stand out from where the previous records could have seen them lost amongst the droves of similar sounding acts. While, I don't think that this is their best work ever, it is a solid album with memorable tracks; a must have for fans, and one that shouldn't be overlooked by even the casual listener.
Line: You won't find any flashiness or anything pretentious here. This band aims to deliver straightforward, heavy, punchy music and they do exactly that. The album is full of chunky grooves and punishing breakdowns, so, if that's your thing, what are you waiting for?