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The Acacia Strain – Death Is The Only Mortal

Rise Records 2012
The Acacia Strain - Death Is The Only Mortal

As it turns out, fans of The Acacia Strain may have been right to approach “Death Is The Only Mortal” with caution. For while the album certainly weathered its unfair share of criticism following the groups signing to scene band stable Rise Records; few could have predicted that they would return with such a decidedly djent-laced affair.

If there was ever one thing at which The Acacia Strain have always excelled, it would be creating devastatingly heavy music. The band certainly keep up the status quo on this album. But the pervasive impact that Meshuggah‘s angular riffing and abrasive friction has had on them makes for considerable handicaps.

In blindly taking on a lumbering pace, the group quickly sink into a routine of polyrhythmic drudgery. It’s only so long before a groove becomes a rut and it doesn’t seem like the band have any interest in getting out of it. The warning bells begin to sound quickly after that. Especially once you are able to properly telegraph the arrival of the detached squeals and strums that constantly hover about.

Sure the punishing bellows of vocalist Vincent Bennett provide a worthy distraction—but given the tepid pacing of the material and his own limited range, there’s only so much he can do. That said, there are a few surprises; such as “Dust And The Helix” getting its A Life Once Lost snarl on; and a steadfast guitar solo temporarily lifting “Brain Death” out of the muck.

All in all, “Death Is The Only Mortal” isn’t the dramatic face turn that sees the band embracing autotune or radically altering their sound to appeal to the masses. But it does come dangerously close to repeating itself too often. A fierce listen to be sure, but one that even when at its most enraged seems incapable of expressing itself with its own voice.

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  • Aggroculture

    *close to repeating itself

  • stantheclam

    I am impressed with the album. Taxing to listen to straight as it is so one dimentional.

    That being said if I want to listen to something ungodly heavy at the gym I’ve been in a groove this songs off this record.

  • They Ate Their Macaroons in Silence

    At this last season, if I’d ask anyone, I’d ask you. If I’ve missed any band that hasn’t been given enough credit this year, speak now or forever hold your peace.

    Humorous welcomed, but not preferred.

  • Houmie

    I think 90% of Wook’s reviews have a paragraph that starts with “Sure…”

  • SpinSwimScream

    I was really impressed with this album. It was a lot less repetitive than ‘Wormwood.’ The layered guitars and even the eerie effects keep it from getting boring so fast. It sounds a lot like ‘The Dead Walk.’ Some of the grooves even remind me of Pantera, like in ‘The Mouth of the River.’ That alone makes it hard not to like. Daniel producing this on his own was a great decision. Not my absolute favorite band, but they’re definitely good at what they do.

  • rageofthemage

    It’s not terrible, but it feels like a distraction for them. They’re usually so focused and have a workmanship to their albums that I appreciate more than most bands. With that being said, I can’t help but feel like a lot of metal this year has been like this album; in that it’s been a “throw it all in a blender and make a metal smoothie!” sort of year. Also, my superfluous punctuation aside it’s been a decent year for djent. Stealing Axion was not terrible, Textures continues to exist and can coast on 2011′s “Dualism” for another year or so and I’m totally cool with that. Tesseract keeps somehow managing to make their sound work around their revolving door of singers, and Monuments put out a powerhouse album with Gnosis. I just didn’t think Acacia Strain would be in that stable.

    Oh well. Century still makes albums right?

    • Relentless_Beating

      That last Century album was a beast. Hope to hear something new from those guys again soon.

  • Relentless_Beating

    I was kind of worried that this album could possibly be worse then Wormwood was, but I have been pleasantly surprised. This is pretty much what I suspected from these guys, music direction wise, but I didn’t think it would be this enjoyable. Every time I need something just mind numbingly heavy, I toss this on. Great record in that regards. Not genre defining, but hey, this is Acacia Strain.

    • kturl69


      • Relentless_Beating

        Nope, suspected was what I meant. Sorry bro.

  • shiddyopinions

    i can never get enough acacia strain. they are the only band ive loved for years and every album impresses me and i like it. that doesnt happen with bands for like 4 albums straight. at least not for me, i suppose mudvayne too. but not hell yeah, sucky….sucky band…ok, steppin off the high horse

  • surroundedbydemons

    Sludge meets Groove metal is the only way I could describe Acacia Strain. Ever since they moved from the 3 guitarists to just one primary (which is all you need anyways IMO), DL’s riffs are brutal and will bury the majority of the so called metal bands out there. The fact that Kirk from Crowbar on here tells you the story of just where their sound comes from. Heavy isn’t a big enough word to describe any of AS’s albums. Devastating perhaps. The hauting like melodies of the guitar with the riffs shows the direction they have been doing so it’s not like they are trying to do anything spectacular. You don’t have to be technical all the damn time. They don’t change their style which is what the problem with alot of bands are. They have a formula and it works with some additional sounds to not only make them as heavy any of the bands out there, they may be one of the top 5. If I want to listen to techical stuff, I’ll throw on a DEP or the newer BTBAM album. There are plenty of thrash bands out there…some better than others but if you want straight up ass kicking music that’ll crush your face at the opening riff then all you need AS.

  • Stereotypical Evil Archer

    What a dumb fucking title for an album.

  • dagger666

    I quite like this album. For me it’s just a touch too “djenty” but I like that they are trying new things, but not too out there like a few bands these days that sound completely different to when they started. I really like all their albums actually, especially wormwood. I get some people don’t like it as it’s a little ‘samey’, but cuts like Beast, The Hills Have Eyes, Jonestown and Terminated are just plain fucking killers!

  • insanemusically

    Love the album

  • SevenIsMyName

    My favorite part about this band is Vincent. The reason I am not as fond of this album as I am Wormwood, is because the vocals are so smothered in the mix. The clarity just isn’t there. It’s often a struggle to pick out the lyrics, and the vocal approach just isn’t as powerful.