THE ACACIA STRAIN are back with a vengeance on Coma Witch available now via Rise Records. This follows up their 7” EP release Above/Below and I will admit that it took me a long time to finally give these guys a chance; I had seen them countless times over the years and friends would always try to turn me onto them but one faithful show changed me and I was hooked. Needless to say 2012’s Death Is the Only Mortal really grabbed me but not as much as this current offering.
I’m a pretty content individual but I have to say that I just can’t get enough of Vincent Bennett’s negative, nihilistic, disdain for everything; anyone that knows me or my reviews knows that I’m not fussy or picky about lyrical content but when you can hear it as clear as he belts it out, it can’t go unnoticed. “Human Disaster” and “Cauterizer” open this beast up with a huge wall of sound. The arrangements throughout have a pretty common eerie guitar lead in the background that fits perfectly in every song. “Send Help” features a guest appearance by Max Cavalera and the guitars are super meaty with excellent tones and the 808 drops resonate fully, definitely the first stand out track.
My absolute favorite cut arose from the first listen of “Holy Walls of the Vatican” which should need no explanation with lyrics such as “A friend of the devil is a friend of mine” and the more Hardcore vibe set it off. Brendan Garrone (INCENDIARY) throws down guest vocals during the chorus of “VVorld Demise” which has a WHITECHAPEL feel to it and “Nailgun” is a straight forward groove jam that trudges through NOLA territory. The song that makes me want to smash someone’s face is “Graveyard Shift” and fittingly so because this one is mean as fuck and themed around dreaming which has recently become a huge interest of mine and also includes death fucking metal growls courtesy of ABORTED’s Sven de Caluwé.
“Bridgepainter” had me looking at my phone and stereo like, what the fuck? The intro has some pretty strange noises going on but this one has a nasty head-bobbing groove and breakdown coupled with some odd rhythms. Following up is the mid tempo creepy tune “Whale Shark” with some inverted and bent-out-of-shape riffs via new axe duo Devin Shidaker (ex-OCEANO) and Richard Gomez (ex-MOLOTOV SOLUTION). The fitting closer to disc one is the angry as all Hell “Delusionalisphere” that brings back that Hardcore feeling with some extra raunchy lyrical themes to accompany. This is one sick fucking record.
Disc two contains a single twenty-seven minute movement “Observer” that basically contains ten sections if you break it down the way I did and could honestly have a stand-alone review. I think that this is the best thing they could have done, even being risky. The overall theme is dreams, suicide and horror; a very chilling tale is contained within this opus. Some of the heaviest parts of the album are found here as well as the most serene and surprising by way of clean guitar parts and even string arrangements toward the closing. Very unexpected and moving stuff, also maybe even a first for this genre. Bottom line, you HAVE to check this album out, especially if you’ve never given THE ACACIA STRAIN the time of day.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Send Help”, “Holy Walls of the Vatican”, “Graveyard Shift”, “Bridgepainter”, “Observer”
WRITTEN BY JOR-EL