The Acacia Strain: Wormwood

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The Acacia Strain: Wormwood
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The Acacia Strain: Wormwood
Deathcore, Metalcore
Prosthetic Records
July 20th, 2010
Release length: 47:36
Myspace
While the three song digital promotion sampler reviewed earlier this month left a little more to be desired from The Acacia Strain as far as the music provided went, it doesn’t change the fact that their fifth full-length effort, Wormwood, is upon us. For a band that doesn’t like to be called “Deathcore”, there’s still plenty of that influence in here, ranging from all walks of life in the style, which still retaining a somewhat matured sound to the band that can often be heavier and more enjoyable then their past efforts. Is Wormwood the band’s most critical release in their career?

Well, there’s definitely some influence from various aspects of the “core” scenes, and not just Deathcore. Right off the band you have the slow, chugging song that sounds like it’s composed of nothing but a breakdown, like something you’d expect to hear on an Emmure album, after an intro that works for the album on some songs, but winds up not really bracing you for the remainder of this track. Given the space and how it doesn’t really have anything to do with the song it’s self, it would have been more beficial to have the track a seperate introduction track instead of part of “Beast”. Luckily, this track doesn’t make up much of the album, as the tracks that follow this one actually are pretty heavy and in the end really get the listener pumped about the album moreso then the lackluster, slow paced breakdown-composed track that kicks off the album that isn’t anything unique, or even feel like it led anywhere.

The problem with Wormwood is that much of the album is comprised of music like this, but it doesn’t mean all the tracks are as bad as “Beast. For instance, “BTM FDR” is another track much like “Beast”, except it actually does go somewhere with the music, and there’s obvious differences between what is the normal verse for the music, and the backdowns that set up the chorus. The track is also a lot heavier and, in the end, feels like a song that also has a little more to offer from it as far as the atmosphere of the track goes. “Terminated” is yet another track, but this one also brings in more elements to the song that make for actual Death Metal int he background of the song, instead of music that just goes along at a breakdown pace. Of all, this is perhaps the most enjoyable one of them because of the variety that is put into play, as well as the spoken word section that breaks up the monitony compared to the rest, and even has moments that will have you headbanging along.

While some of the breakdown heavy songs on here are alright, the rest of the album just doesn’t do much either. The first track that shows some difference in musical composition and comes at you like a normal “core” songs is “The Hills Have Eyes”, but that’s just the problem here. The song is normal. There’s nothing all too fantastic about it, and it honestly sounds different compared to the rest of the album, as if it were a track recorded for a different release in the vain of Metalcore with different volumes then slapped on to the album instead. The next track that shows any difference in the composition is “Nightman”, which really takes a jab at bringing in a technical Groove Metal aspect int he vain of bands like Meshuggah and even A Life Once Lost, which winds up working out better for the band and setting this track ahead of basically everything else on this album except “Jonestown”, which is another technical Groove heavy track in the same vain, just much heavier, faster, and intense. Of course, these tracks all have their breakdowns, but these wind up working well with the sound and don’t feature any moments where it either doesn’t feel like a song, or that the song simply won’t end thanks to extreme repetition. “Carpathian”, however, is also a Groove based track, but flows like many of the breakdown composition songs that make up Wormwood, and is a very dull track much like “Beast”, except it has just a little more structure to it. Even with the added structure, it’s just tnot all that intense until the very end of the song, as much of the song comes off lighter then what the band is able to create when working with this musical palette.

Unfortunately, there’s really just not much on this album that is actually all that interesting. The album is essentially the same with a few out of nowhere songs thrown in to mix things up, like “The Hills Have Eyes”, “Nightman” and “Jonestown”. Other then that, the music is technical on many tracks, but really just doesn’t do much and sound very repetitive due to how slow the guitars are being played to a mid-tempo song, and the quickly growing stereotypical haunting background guitars that end up played at the same pace. Many of the tracks prove hard to find where the real breakdown begins, and what is even the breakdown of a song composed generally of breakdowns that share quite alot from previous songs made available, with the only real differences being how much an impact the songs have and how heavy they can be. There’s some potnential for the band here, but in the end the album winds up just being overkill on repetition and carries only a few tracks that will have more then a niche of dancers into tracks composed of breakdowns enjoying it. If you’re not one of those kids, then this proves to be a release worth stepping back from, especially with the closing track “Tactical Nuke” being the same breakdown played for five minutes with off-beat timing to close the album, as well as sum up your entire experience with this album by putting you to sleep.

01. Beast – 4:04
02. The Hills Have Eyes – 4:21
03. BTM FDR – 3:51
04. Ramirez – 2:26
05. Terminated – 3:14
06. Nightman – 2:52
07. The Impaler – 4:35
08. Jonestown – 3:18
09. Bay of Pigs – 5:18
10. The Carpathian – 3:18
11. Unabomber – 4:48
12. Tactical Nuke – 5:34
Overall Score: 4/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Prosthetic Records.