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The Acacia Strain - Gravebloom

thespeaker   (2 reviews)

Posted: 08/11/2017 | Comments: 3 | Rate:

It is fair to say that The Acacia Strain has been a no holds barred force to be reckoned with since their inception in 2001. Their latest release through Rise Records, titled "Gravebloom", delivers an absolutely punishing sonic experience. From beginning to end this album delivers a raw organic sound that seems to be so sparse in today's industry. This album possesses a sense of gravity that is not only crushing but melancholically gorgeous.

Worthless -
The album opens with that old familiar noise of the guitarist inserting his 1/4 inch cable into the guitar and allowing the feedback to take control and then the punishing begins. The combination of the opening riff and the drums slams you head first into the song and gives you the perfect taste of what kind of ride you're in for. Vincent does not hesitate and begins to do what he does best and deliver the vocal onslaught that we all know and love.
The droning melody that ebbs and flows in the back helps to create the perfect tension that The Acacia Strain is known for and then is later relieved when a clean melody accompanied by an audio snippet from the movie "True Story" plays and we begin to see a little more clearly just how emotional this track really is.

Plague Doctor -
"Plague Doctor" continues the vibe that was set by the track previous, however, it speeds things up a bit and delivers us a brief 2-step section that's sure to get all the kids in the pit windmilling away. As short lived as that 2-step section may be, a breakdown immediately follows it and it becomes clear that the brutal nature of this song is sure to be an absolute crowd pleaser.

Bitter Pill -
Continuing to pick up the pace "Bitter Pill" feels like an ode to The Acacia Strain's previous record Coma Witch. Groovy riffs coupled with skank beats and a seemingly dissonant melody in the back creating yet again that air of tension.

Big Sleep -
Possibly the most notable track on the record is "Big Sleep". This song, very much like "Worthless", creates an immediate sense of unease and melancholic gravity. With the help of fellow Rise Records label mate, Matt Honeycutt, the song is given an extra sense of anger and rawness that is untouched. Vincent and Matt make the perfect vocal pairing. For fans of Kublai Khan this song is sure to excite.

Gravebloom -
"Gravebloom" follows suit with the rest of the album by taking the backing melody from the track previous and applying it with a little twist. However, the thing that sticks out most in this song is the killer bass tone. In today's guitar centric metal world bass often gets overlooked. The Acacia Strain does their bass player a service by allowing him to be a main focal point on the track. There is something uniquely special about the vocal style for this track as well; Rob Fusco from Most Precious Blood makes an appearance on this track and you can hear the exhaustion in his throat from how demanding his performance was.

Abyssal Depths -
Starting off with a single slow clean guitar that has delay, reverb, and modulation, we're quickly put in a somber calm and then immediately ripped from it by the massive slamming of eight string guitars. "Abyssal Depths" is the perfect dichotomy of somber beauty and repulsive heaviness.

Model Citizen -
There is an immediate and demanding groove that opens this track and it doesn't let go. It hits a stride and keeps going. This is certainly another crowd pleaser and yet another ode to older Acacia Strain material.

Calloused Mouth -
"Calloused Mouth" makes the most use of the droning melody and is consistent in its abusive riffs. The song is an absolute force of sonic assault. With vocal rhythms matching that of the guitar melody, the song is given an extreme level of directness.

Dark Harvest -
Rich with aggression, and thunderous double kick and powerful riffing, "Dark Harvest" is a masterpiece in its own right. Breaking away from the droning melody that the tracks before it show cased, this song incorporates a bit more movement in its lead section and is achieved very tastefully.

Walled City -
Capitalizing on dissonance, "Walled City" has a very Meshuggah feel to it. The rhythms even seem to scream Meshuggah, and it's glorious. The song immediately comes to a calming lull right before slamming back into another disorienting dissonant lead re-introducing the Meshuggah-esque rhythms. At the close, the track seems to recapture the same mood as the opening track "Worthless", and allows the feedback to take a more prominent role.

Cold Gloom -
At 9:14 "Cold Gloom" is the longest running track on the album and in true fashion, The Acacia Strain sends it off with a bang. The opening riff almost acts as a reprise of the opening riff from "Worthless" really tieing everything together and completing the overall thematic element of sorrow and violence. Slow meandering melodies accompany the arpeggiated chords as the lowest string of The Acacia Strains guitars beat relentlessly against the drums. "Cold Gloom" is the perfect ending to "Gravebloom" and in order to enjoy it, it should be played loud.

Pop into your local record store and pick up Gravebloom today, and remember "Tune Low, Die Slow."

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