This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly pushed bands into an extra burst of creativity if they’re able to get something out there. But, whatever the circumstances, The Acacia Strain have a claim to be one of the most prolific bands around.
Just seven months after their ninth full-length, ‘It Comes In Waves’, the deathcore heroes are back once again with a new album, ‘Slow Decay’, and long-term fans will undoubtedly be impressed.
‘It Comes In Waves’ was more experimental by the band’s standards, but there’s more familiarity with the majority of ‘Slow Decay’. A band retreating to safer waters isn’t really exciting on principle, but with The Acacia Strain, you have a band whose modus operandi is being a thousand times better than a lot of their contemporaries.
‘Feed A Pigeon, Breed A Rat’ is The Acacia Strain at their best; pummelling drums, a fierce low end, and an almighty groove, and, every now and then, the sludge and doom elements from ‘It Comes In Waves’ still appear a handful of times across the record.
Thematically, this is very much real-world social commentary as opposed to the conceptual themes of ‘It Comes In Waves’, and ‘Crippling Poison’ has many chant-able lyrics that sum this up, holding up a mirror to the very bleak climate around us.
‘Solace And Serenity’ is also very much powered by Vincent Bennett‘s signature growl. ‘The Lucid Dream’ also has a lot of tension, and Jess Nyx (Mortality Rate) is one of a number of guest vocalists that are on board to really make for a sense of occasion, and Nyx certainly turns the energy levels up to 11.
But, as we know, The Acacia Strain aren’t entirely a one-trick pony. The spectacularly-titled ‘I Breathed In The Smoke Deeply It Tasted Like Death And I Smiled’ is a call-back to the sludge and doom leanings of ‘It Comes In Waves’, which serves as a definite highlight.
On the flip side, you have ‘Chhinnamasta’, which is one of the best offerings of their typical sound, with expertly delivered mosh calls all over the shop.
‘One Thousand Painful Stings’ has a melodic passage from Courtney LaPlante (Spiritbox), which makes for another highlight, and ‘Birds Of Paradise, Birds Of Prey’ is also another slower number, which also has plenty of emotional weight.
‘Slow Decay’ is by-and-large The Acacia Strain doing what they do best, but the more casual and curious listeners will also have plenty to get their teeth into.