Friday, 19 October 2012

Review: The Acacia Strain - Death is the Only Mortal

 It makes sense that I look at this album because I've found myself continuing to do what all stereotypical teenage guys do these days and going to metalcore shows. That's right, I'm off to see Architects in November, which is an extremely exciting proposition given the strength of Daybreaker and a frankly stellar back catalogue behind them, it's going to be a wicked night. So, in an attempt to make myself seem like I know what I'm doing I'm taking a look at the support acts and have discovered a recent release Death is the Only Mortal has come from opening act The Acacia Strain, an overlooked shaper of the more hardcore based style of metalcore that has formed some of the genre's best bands.

 If you're unfamiliar with The Acacia Strain, you should know that the Massachusetts quartet have never the cheeriest of people around. And it shows clearly on this latest album filled with fearsome deathcore performances that feel blackened by the band's sense of hatred and tiredness of life and even bleaker via the intense heaviness that comes through in a doom metal state of mind.

 And the heaviness is delivered effortlessly through a range of sluggish beatdowns from Daniel Laskiewicz and Jack Strong where the likes of Brain Death and Dust and the Helix are guaranteed crushers that with the brutal growls of frontman Vincent Bennett talking about his obsession with death will lure listeners into a realm of unending despair.

 Of course, The Acacia Strain always do go beyond the realms of deathcore and unlike your average collection of breakdowns that Emmure like to hand out, there's a lot more focus on structuring a range of vibrant textures to provide the backdrop to songs that make the performances of disturbing opener Doomblade and Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow really come to life. A highlight within this is the enthralling interludes and moments of gripping mellower passages heard longingly throughout Time and Death and God, which with Bennett's roars of "I wear a watch even though I don't believe in time" a more rounded mark of the band's devastation.

 This amount of bleakness and doom is highly effective in making Death is the Only Mortal a solid deathcore album. It's bleak brutal and will definitely create a storm at places like The Garage. It's no secret that nothing on this album could be considered new or innovative in any way, but the band make their playing of metalcore work in their own favour, just like the selection of artists they're soon to be touring with. And with that, one of the band's that helped shape the best names in the modern day "core" movement will open up proceedings to a selection of bands that act as their natural torchbearers.

The Acacia Strain's Death is the Only Mortal is out now via Rise. The band will tour the UK in November with Architects, Deez Nuts and Bury Tomorrow.

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