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What happens when you breed Meshuggah and A Life Once Lost, with an On Broken Wings gene? You get one crazy concoction. That Concoction is The Acacia Strain.
Based of Chicopee, MA, The Acacia Strain is known for their immensely drop tuned (Drop G#!) guitars and strange, but frequent and somewhat irritating breakdown patterns. Produced by the amazing Adam D. of Killswitch Engage fame, The Dead Walk
is a surprisingly good offering from what might be a disaster with any other band attempting the style I previously mentioned.
I walked into Best Buy this Sunday previous, with the intention of spending the fresh $20 bill in my wallet on something special. As I browsed through the loaded shelves of the outlet, I passed by many possibilities, however, deciding on this, I walked to the check out line, and gave a friendly “What’s Up, Man” to the cashier, who responded with an indecipherable grunt, and proceeded to ring up my purchase. So I got my receipt, and my change, and continued to leave with a “Have A Nice Day” to the cashier. Well, as I walked to the exit to the mall, I realized I had left my $6 change on the counter. So I went back, and to my dismay, my $6 was gone. Needless to say, I was pissed, but the moral of the story is to not leave your change on the counter of some jackass
who doesn’t greet you back. Anyway…
The Dead Walk
is quite an album. I think I can honestly say this album is one of the heaviest records to hit the hardcore scene. Songs like Burnface
just make me want to beat some children into a bloody pulp (Just Kidding). The bending strings and cranking rhythm section reminiscent to Nothing
-Era Meshuggah was new to my ears, coming from a Metalcore band out of Massachusetts. Tracks such as 4x4
and Whoa! Shut It Down!
are just straight-up meatheaded breakdowns, but have that little bit of substance needed to maintain the casual listener, not just the hardcore genre geek.
One thing I must say amused me, were the lyrics by vocalist Vincent “Vinny” Bennett. With lyrics such as “ The thought of your genitals makes me sick and I bet you could fit five c***s up that a**.Why don't you just strap a mattress to your back?
”, who wouldn’t be at least somewhat amused? Strong lyrics backed by a particularly boring vocals flood the album, my favorite being “ I need you like I need a f***ing hole in my head
”. Vinny’s vocals are quite standard and have absolutely no variation what-so-ever. I get very sick of them after the album is over.
The guitar’s on the album are nothing spectacular, but some standout areas would be in songs like The Dead Walk
. I am a total sucker for pinch harmonics, and the abundance of them on this record strike a chord with me. There isn’t much else to say on the stringed instruments of the album, except the bass is completely inaudible for 98% of the album, that 2% being the small bass solo’s in between verse and breakdown on Pity
, and the guitar’s are really all you need for the style, bordering on Technical
and just Open String Palm Muted Chugs
, and don’t sound forced or pushed.
Breakdowns are a major part of what The Acacia Strain is, and it shows, with 1-2 on every single track. The Drop G# Tuning makes these otherwise generic breakdowns seem a little bit more fresh. These breakdown leaden tracks are certainly the stuff of dreams for Hardcore Dancers all across America.
Overall, The Dead Walk
is a great album for 3 main things:
Impressing Your Girlfriend on Your Hardcore Taste In Music
For Fans of Death Metal and Hardcore hybrids to check out and possibly enjoy
The intensity level is through the roof. You feel the emotion in Bennett’s tortured grunts. You feel the pain through the demented riffs that Laskiewicz has constructed. You feel the power and control through the overused breakdowns on practically every song, with See You Next Tuesday
and Angry Mob Justice
being highlights of that aspect, and last but not least, you feel the anger expressed through those ear-searing lyrics. The main failing aspect to the album: It’s been done before…
. But to that I Answer like this:Not Like This.
Whoa! Shut It Down!
The Dead Walk
Angry Mob Justice
Overall, Good presentation of what TAS has to bring to the table
Breakdowns were ferocious
Heavy as anything you can find in the genre
Boring, Standard Vocals
A Few Songs are recycled-sounding Predator: Never Prey
and The Demolisher
Nada in the Bass Department
This album is graciously intriguing. I would recommend it for (as I said before) fans of Death Metal and Hardcore hybrids, but also to the listener of either genre. I wouldn’t use this album as your gateway into the aforementioned, however, seeing as there are far better and fresher albums to check out.