Artist: The Acacia Strain
Album: Death is the Only Mortal
2. Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow
3. Go To Sleep
4. Brain Death
5. The Mouth of the River
6. Dust and the Helix
7. Victims of the Cave
8. Time and Death and God
9. The Chambered Nautilus
10. House of Abandon
Death, abuse, murder, misanthropy, nihilism, global disasters, disease and the impending apocalypse:
Long time fans will know that these are recurring themes for The Acacia Strain.
As a title like ‘Death is the Only Mortal’ would suggest this sixth full length release is no exception to this,
and once again this album will be filled with cheesy, memorable and pissed off lyrics that will have you screaming along when you blast this in your living room or car.
As a fan since the first release i know The Acacia Strain does not aim for innovation and diversity, like vocalist Vincent Bennett himself stated in one their songs: ”I’m here for me and the few who care to listen, i’m not dressed to impress”. Knowing that this is a band who just likes to do what they do, which is to make heavy and easy-to-mosh-to music, i never have high expectations and try to keep an open mind when i blast one of their albums.
However I still end up dissapointed after the first listen, it’s been like this since every album after ‘3750’. So when I heard this album for the first time i thought it was mediocre at best and couldnt even finish the whole thing.
Later on I decided to give it another chance and thats when the heavy and creepy atmosphere started to become more noticeable and I started to love it more and more (kinda similar to Whitechapel’s release earlier this year).
Instrumental wise this album sounds alot like their previous release ‘Wormwood’ but with a sharper tuning, it has a better edge to it, adding to this are the occasional creepy and dissonant guitar tones that sound like they were taken straight from a Meshuggah album.
I can hear you thinking ‘oh god not another Meshuggah rip off’ but it actualy works quite well,
gives it all a bone chilling and psychotic atmosphere and i downright love shit like that.
Slow chugging breakdowns and down tuned guitars set the mood for the entire album and getting this sound across to the listener will only work when you have a good set of speakers set to high volume (metal should ALWAYS be played at high volume anyway!).
Vocals are the same like always, Vincent’s raw and constant grunting have become a staple in the hardcore and deathcore genres,
and there will be plenty of that on this release,
although sometimes the screaming can be overwhelmed with the massive barrage of breakdowns and drumming, it’s always there spitting agressive lyrics at your face.
also fans of the album ‘The Dead Walk’ will be pleased to know that the highs are back! Not used too often the high shreeches aren’t enough to really make the songs more diverse but it’s a nice addition anyway, and i hope they are here to stay.
A silence is heard, with a creepy guitar tone slowly fading from the background, you know something is about to happen soon, something intense.
Soon after one of the best intros i heard on a album is heard in the form of a phone call, I won’t spoil it for you.
Just when you think you know what comes next, the shit hits the fan on the highest setting and The Acacia Strain is back in all it’s chugging glory, the slow groovy riffs and breakdowns that set the tone for the whole album are introduced.
And with juicy lyrics such as ‘ This end your lying, face down in the dirt, i hope you felt it, i hope it fucking hurt! ‘ this song is an instant Acacia Strain classic.
Our lady of Perpetual Sorrow:
This song starts off on a fast paced beat then converges into a classic Meshuggah-like groove, and maintains a mixture of these two elements throughout the song.
Being one of the faster paced songs on the album, everything comes to a pause halfway through and soon after everything changes to a slow heavy paced breakdown style, a creepy outro follows.
Also a song that most people will fall in love with on the first listen.
With such a bad ass title this track promises to be one of the best on the album and it is just that.
Starting off in the usual heavy chugging matter as the rest of the songs, this doesn’t sound all that special at first.
Unexpectedly some metalcore-ish melodic riffs are thrown in, almost as if to throw you into a false sense of security.
At this point you are probably thinking this is one of the less agressive tracks but the mood completely changes towards the ending with hardcore beatdowns and lyrics such as: ‘If your life depended on me, i don’t know if i would save you, i would rather see the sadness in your eyes, as i let you die!’.
The end of this song will have you punching stuff and screaming along every single time.
The Mouth of the River/Dust and the Helix:
Very agressive lyrics and chugtastic goodness to be found here, a good follow up to the previous track and will give you even more motivation to destroy the first thing you set your eyes on.
Time and Death and god:
A good combination of the down tempo hardcore and creepy atmospheric sound is heard here, soon the chugging will fade completely into an extended instrumental part that reminds alot of a Meshuggah song.
That vibe is kept when the beat finally comes back to full force and punches you in the face.
House of Abandon:
Like Whitechapel’s newest release this last song is also one of those where the band tries to combine all of the elements from the album into one song.
With an outro and intro being heard at the end of the last track, you are immediately thrown into chaos when the song starts, this agressive vibe is being reinforced by some of the best written lyrics that can be heard on this album.
The melodic guitars that you heard in ‘Brain Death’ are back one last time, with a dreamy solo that follows, you know this album is coming to an end, when all is over all that can be heard are some distant guitars that will get progressively slower until it all ends completely. No repetitive breakdowns like the infamous track ‘Tactical Nuke’ from the last album, sorry guys! 😉
To the people that always seek diversity and progression in their music, this album is NOT for you, don’t even bother with it. Save yourself the trouble of listening to it and then telling other people how much it sucks, just look for something else.
This album did not reinvent the wheel, but that was not the point to begin with, this music was made by a band that loves putting their feelings towards this disgusting world out there, and likes nothing more than people who feel the same way to mosh along to their music.
So if you like mindless heavyness and lyrics that center around death itself in it’s most angry form, and dont mind a little repetition in the song structure, you should definitely check this album out!
Summer has come to an end, the days are getting shorter and colder with each passing day and slow but surely the coldness and darkness are getting stronger, i love the atmosphere that this brings and with music releases like this to go along with it, my mind will melt away into the late hours of the night.
And even if you dont fall in love with it at the first listen, just sit back, open a beer, turn the volume up to the point the neighbors can hear you, put this album back on and let it all just sink in, i can guarantee this album will mellow you out at the end of a hard day at work, you might even end up punching a baby or two in the face.
For fans of: American Me, Defiler, Emmure, Bury Your Dead, Doomsday Mourning