The Acacia Strain: Death is the only mortal
18/10/12 || jaimeviejo
I’ve always had a sweet spot for The Acacia Strain; they are a brutal hard/death core band that always managed to keep a good balance between very interesting ideas regarding soloing and melody, massive chugga riffs and breakdowns, kind of like Disembodied’s bastard son with a more modern production and a brocore attitude.
“Continent” was the most complete album to date, an almost perfect hybrid of metal and hardcore. Their last release, “Wormwood”, was a bit of the same but slower, not as dynamic and a little bit boring.
Now, there is an absolute fact in life: You can not use a eight string guitar and not sound like Meshuggah. “Death Is the Only Mortal” proves that and shows us that the band has created it’s own version of “Koloss”. The album is mainly based on groove, but a very very slow one. “Bleed” inspired bass drums, non stop eight string chugga chuggas, background atmospheric soloing and monotonous pissed off cookie-monster vocals is what we are going to find here.
The lyrics are, well, funny, to say the least; I’m not sure if the band is really this miserable or if they just think it is cool to feel disgusted with humanity, but there are some absolutely dramatically comical lyrics in “Victims of the Cave”: “As the leaves may fall and the dust may rise so then someday soon, even death may die” or brocore show off’s like: “I have the gun, so I am the fucking boss, you will rethink what you said when you realize how much blood you’ve lost”.
The songs are too long and too slow, and at times they sound as if DJ Screw produced the album trying to create a “chopped and screwed” version of a metal album. The use of eight string guitars has made the band lose their crunchiness in favor of a farting-like guitar sound that is heavy but also dull and boring after a while. The hardcore riffs are almost gone, the solos have just the function of providing atmosphere, and melody is missing in combat.
This is the first album produced by the guitar player Daniel Laskiewicz instead of Zeuss, and the truth is that the recording doesn’t have any flaws at all. It represents perfectly what the band wants to achieve; of course the sound of the album is completely compressed and oppressive, but that’s the nature of these kinds of bands. The album sounds brutal, and the bass frequencies just punish you with no mercy; there is an aura of malevolence that impregnates the whole album more than before. Weird.
“Brain dead” is the best song of the album, and the melodic chorus is very good; the main riff sounds like “Demiurge” from “Koloss”. Here we find one of the few proper solos of the album, and it is pretty well played and arranged. “Dust And The Helix” is probably the fastest song on the album and another highlight that takes us out of the monotony of the ultra low riffs. There are some parts here and there that stand out, some riffs that will bring some happiness, but the rest is just a slow and agonizing mid tempo open-string breakdown fest.
“Death Is the Only Mortal” is a guilty pleasure that can be better digested without worrying about the absurdity of some of the music contained here.
- Released: 2012
- Label: Rise Records
- Website: www.theacaciastrain.com
- Vincent Bennett : vocals
- Daniel “DL” Laskiewicz: guitars
- Jack Strong: bass
- Kevin Boutot: drums
- 01. Doomblade
- 02. Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow
- 03. Go to Sleep
- 04. Brain Death
- 05. The Mouth of the River
- 06. Dust and the Helix
- 07. Victims of the Cave
- 08. Time and Death and God
- 09. The Chambered Nautilus
- 10. House of Abandon