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The Acacia Strain vocalist Vincent Bennett has made it clear that he doesn’t wish for his band to be labelled as deathcore. For those of us who live by genre tags, however, this is precisely the category the Massachusetts band falls into.
Perhaps what he means is that they go beyond deathcore. If so, he’s right. ‘Death Is the Only Mortal‘, the group’s sixth full length effort and Rise Records debut, combines the sheer brutality of Whitechapel, the industrial precision of Fear Factory, and the rhythmic complexity of Meshuggah in a polished package, albeit with a strong deathcore accent.
This array of sounds heralds a welcome change from the apparently stagnating scene The Acacia Strain have attempted to disassociate themselves from. When melody is largely eschewed in favour of all out heaviness, rhythmic contrast and diversity must be utilised in order to maintain interest, and ‘Death Is the Only Mortal’ delivers on that front.
The eerie spoken word intro to ‘Doomblade‘ sets the album’s tone definitively. The track may not be particularly groundbreaking, but it is solidly executed. If the Meshuggah influence isn’t obvious yet, it will be in ‘Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow‘.
Not only are there huge polymetric riffs aplenty, especially in ‘The Chambered Nautilus‘, The Acacia Strain even go so far as to directly quote one of the sinister quiet passages from Meshuggah‘s ‘Catch 33‘ record in ‘The Mouth of the River‘. Is this a bad thing? Absolutely not. This is a band with a strong sense of humour and self-awareness, and would undoubtedly appreciate moments like this being recognised.
‘House of Abandon‘ rounds off the set with a colossal wall-of-sound style of production, a trait that contributes to the album’s overall heaviness.
It’s always interesting to see how far djent continues to permeate other genres, and The Acacia Strain give it a good airing here. However, they don’t let it define their sound completely. There are bits of thrash, bits of tech, bits of hardcore, and they even throw in a couple of epic melodic outros. ‘Death Is the Only Mortal’ is diverse as far as deathcore goes, and this puts it a step ahead of the rest.
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