Its the year 2014, and miraculously the genre of Deathcore is still a thing. Although you don't typically see that genre being thrown around too much, the defining bands are still very much active. Kings of internet controversy Emmure continue to pump out albums with obnoxious and offensive song titles, as to detract the listener from the fact they're listening to a 40 minute long breakdown. Ironically, most Emmure related discussions that took place during the rise in their popularity were interrupted with "The Acacia Strain did it first." And truth be told, they were right.

The Acacia Strain may not be pumping out material at the frequency of their peers, but are none the less onto album number 7. The Acacia Strain hit my radar back in 2006, when I first heard "Whoa! Shut It Down!" off their album The Dead Walk. The band has kept a steady release schedule of new material every 2 years or so, and the newest offering is entitled Coma Witch.

I've always seen The Acacia Strain as the lower tuned Hatebreed, in that the band's sound never really changes from the beginning of their discography to their latest album, and you already know what product you're going to get. Pending on the genre, this can be great or it's Achilles heel. When the basis of your sound is breakdowns, there is only so much you can do to diversify yourself as you progress. Sadly, the biggest progression I can address regarding the band's sound is using more open string breakdowns and incorporating some sludge riffs, rather than palm muted open chugs. Regardless of lineup changes, The Acacia Strain still definitely sounds like The Acacia Strain. Original member and longtime guitarist Daniel "DL" Laskiewicz left in 2013, leaving the band to recruit ex-guitarists of both Oceano and Molotov Solution to fill the void.

The first single released, "Cauterizer" is a great representation of what to expect on the album. The production is fantastic and handled by Will Putney of Fit For An Autopsy fame. The most interesting track on Coma Witch is the album closer, "Observer". The 27 minute epic takes cues from Sunn 0))) and Pig Destroyer's newest sludge EP. There are moments of heavy chugging riffs, clean interludes with samples, all at a slower tempo then what's present on the rest of the record. With where I am as a listener of heavier music, I found this track more enjoyable compared to the rest of the album. Some people are uncomfortable with change, and if that's so, this band is for you. Coma Witch is out now via Rise Records.