Album Review: The Acacia Strain – “Slow Decay” 8.6/10 (Deathcore)

Written by Zax

The Acacia StrainSlow Decay
Deathcore from Massachusetts, USA
Released July 24th, 2020
Via Rise Records

The Acacia Strain are a deathcore band that have staked their career on making some of the most bleak, negative, and skull smashing music of all time. They also happen to have been one of the bands that got me into heavy music. They’re one of my favorite bands, and their 2014 effort Coma Witch is easily one of my favorite albums of all time. These guys have been around since 2001, and to see them still going so strong to this day does warm my heart. Needless to say, this was one of my most anticipated albums of the year.

Spotify / Merch Shop

The band employed one of the most unique album release strategies I’ve ever seen for this record. In late February they released a 7″ simply titled “D.” This perplexed fans greatly. A few weeks later they dropped another surprise 7″ titled “E.” So, now it was clear they were trying to spell something out. They ended up spelling out the word “decay” and announced the full album upon the release of “Y.” Most fans had put the pieces together by that point, but this odd release strategy set the tone for the record very nicely.

The Acacia Strain really have perfected their signature blend of deathcore, metalcore, doom metal, and sludge metal, kinda like a craft beer, but like, not shitty. They combine the stylistic flares and song structures of metalcore and deathcore with the riffs and atmosphere of sludge and doom, it’s a combination that is lethally heavy and pretty unique to them and them alone.

The themes this record covers involve, well, the slow and real decay of our earth, for multiple reasons, including general human ignorance and global warming. The track “Inverted Person” serves as a massive middle finger to boomers which is always nice. In typical Acacia Strain fashion, the lyrics are ultra nihilistic and incredibly hateful, just how I like it!

Musically this album is devastating. The production is spot on, and the guitars are simply monstrous. They are no strangers to crushing riffs, but they’ve stepped up their game yet again on this album and It’s more rattling than ever before. The snares and kicks on this album sound so massive as well. Vincent Bennett on vocals serves up an absolutely ferocious performance with his guttural growls. Everyone is on point here honestly.

Full artwork

I also find it interesting how, the further you get into the record the darker it gets. You feel the atmosphere and the music start to sour as the band dives into a doom metal sound with heavier riffs, slower tempos, and a lot darker atmospheres, as opposed to the deathcore bangers that kick off the album. Take the two tracks “Seeing God” and “EARTH WILL BECOME DEATH” for example, the differences are pretty staggering.

While I do hold a lot of positive bias towards this band, I think I can almost objectively say this is a damn fine piece of metal that all types of different metal fans could get something out of. There’s a lot to like here, and I expect to see it somewhere on my album of the year list.


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