For Fans Of
The Acacia Strain have been kicking around their native Boston since 2002, and in that time the band has churned out a slew of well received releases, the most important being The Dead Walk (2006), an album that was (and still is) as heavy as anything else the genre has produced over the last five years. Suffice to say, expectations were high when it was announced that the mosh-friendly four-piece had a new record in the pipeline, and although Continent wasn’t as instantly catchy as its predecessor, it has grown into one of my favourite heavy releases of 2008.
Originally starting life with a trio of guitarists, it’s interesting to note that The Acacia Strain are now down to just one axe-man, yet they’ve somehow managed to maintain the same intensity and level of heaviness that their previous line-ups have afforded them. Put it down to a good production job and abundance of guitar cabinets, but Continent sounds absolutely menacing.
Opening blast “Skynet” sets an impressive precedent for the remainder of the album to follow, the band’s bludgeoning riffs and off-kilter beats forming a devastating wall of sound. Continuing in the same fashion is “Seaward”, a song that proves lone guitarist Daniel Laskiewicz is more than capable of holding down the fort, while Vincent Bennett provides his usual array of growls and screams.
A demo version of “Dr Doom” surfaced on the internet a few months prior to the record’s release, and I’m happy to report that the final cut is just as impressive, while “Forget-Me-Now” is a slightly more up-beat but no less aggressive number that ends with one of the record’s most intense passages. I have no idea what “Cthulhu” means, but who cares when the riffing is this good, a trend which is carried on throughout “Baby Buster”, which if you’ve been paying attention is yet another reference to the cult TV show Arrested Development. “Balboa Towers” is something of a lull and when compared to the rest of the material on offer, however “JFC” shows just how fucking heavy The Acacia Strain can be when they’re let off their leash. As its title suggests, “Kraken” is a slow and weighty number that will have dance floors across the country heaving under its weight when the band hits here next month, as will “The Combine”, which just leaves the epic “The Behemoth” to see us out, the classic guitar work and effect soaked quiet passages once again proving just how capable these musicians really are.
Compared to The Dead Walk I originally found Continent to be a little one-dimensional, however The Acacia Strain aren’t here to dazzle us with dynamics and sprawling song structures. Their one and only job is to repeatedly beat us around the head with riff after pummeling riff (the album’s outro is the obvious exclusion), something that they have succeeded in doing.
- Dr Doom
- Baby Buster
- Balboa Towers
- Kraken Towers
- The Combine
- The Behemoth