Thursday, 24 August 2017

The Acacia Strain "Gravebloom" (2017)


Way back when in the days of the burgeoning Deathcore scene, Massachusetts outfit "The Acacia Strain" gained waves of popularity with their 2008 release "Continent". They were previously a rather uninteresting Metalcore outfit, their atypical sound slowly evolved into a Djenty Metalcore Deathcore hybrid. At that point longtime vocalist Vincent Bennet found his style, a blunt tonal scream on this record which has become a staple of their sound and now he is the only remaining original member in the band. I haven't heard from them in about seven years despite still actively releasing records and touring.

"Gravebloom" Is immediately identifiable as their sound however listening to the older records retrospectively you realize how far along the fidelity of record production has come in ten years. Their guitar tone is now the apex of what they have always strived for. Big and chunky, bouncy dense blocks of tonal distortion to groove and bludgeon with. It sounds gorgeous, very Djent with the flexibility for discordant palm mute chugging and chord plucking which you get a plentiful variety of across the eleven pummeling tracks that make up the forty eight minutes of churning brutality.

Not all of the run-time is dedicated to the metallic onslaught, the band have a keen ear for atmosphere with occasional foreboding, unsettling atmospheric breaks where more obvious melodies are plucked on the high notes over brutal syncopation that's slowed down to a menacing, avenging crawl. These breaks in pace keep the interest amounting on a crisp and lively sounding record. Vincent is as sharp as ever, his flat, blunt forceful shouts very audible and present and even some of his lyrics have stuck in my mind "Mentally slipping, physically drifting", an oddity given my difficulty with lyrics.

There is little to fault here, its a finely tuned record making the most of modern recording techniques. All the instruments cohesively come together, the drums especially punchy, bold and present with complimenting tones that fit snugly into the wall of sound. The album starts of strong with its faster, mosh friendly numbers and slowly evolves to its more atmospheric side, the last three tracks slowing down their pace significantly. There's no bones to pick here other than a lack of something special. Its a sold, decent record but there is nothing at work here to smash your expectations or suprise.

Rating: 6/10

4 comments:

  1. I am really enjoying diving back into the metal scene again through you. I haven't listened to metal as much as of late and I really apparently missed it a lot. I fell in love with it in the first place because of the guitars and this didn't disappoint. I'm so glad you are sharing your love of music on here. I'm really loving diving deep into music I never heard before. You are incredible at capturing music into words keep up the great work on here!

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  2. I would recommend "Ritual" by In This Moment. Its from 2017 and Hard Rock/Metal.

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