The Acacia Strain
Death Is the Only Mortal


2.5
average

Review

by Michael Snoxall USER (47 Reviews)
October 10th, 2012 | 216 replies | 14,900 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Death Is The Only Mortal finds The Acacia Strain just barely attempting to progress their sound, rather than regressing it.

20 of 24 thought this review was well written

2010’s Wormwood saw The Acacia Strain quite literally breaking down their sound. And by “quite literally breaking down their sound,” I mean they almost completely made an album comprised of breakdowns. None of which sounded very different from the other. It brought forth a very monotonous sound for the band, who had previously been pretty grating with their monotony already. At least albums like 3750, The Dead Walk and Continent showed signs of melody and it seemed like the band actually knew how to write enjoyable songs. They showcased a knack for melody and musical decency with Continent’s closer ‘The Behemoth’. The song showed the band didn’t need to rely on trying to sound “heavy” to sound good. It was a sign of natural progression for the band.

And then Wormwood showed up, bringing with it no real redeeming qualities. The album had some memorable vocal hooks and had one song, ‘The Hills Have Eyes,’ that saw the band attempting to blend melody with brutality. The rest was a waste of time, after it was roughly forty-seven minutes of the exact same breakdown just played in half-time or quarter-time. Hell, the album’s closer ‘Tactical Nuke’ was nothing but a five minute long breakdown, a horrible regression in every sense of the word. So, with their new album, where would The Acacia Strain go? It was up in the air. It could have been Wormwood II: Breakdown Boogaloo, or it could have found the band returning back to form and focusing on legitimate song-writing.

Sadly, Death Is The Only Mortal sees The Acacia Strain roughly honing the same sound found on Wormwood, but with an attempt to add more substance. The album begins off almost exactly the same as their previous effort, with a phone call recording run through some vocoder-esque distortion in an attempt to make the album seem daunting or scary. Let’s take note that the band seem to pride themselves for thinking that they make “heavy” music, and people seem to fall for this false representation of what “heavy” really is. The band isn’t heavy, be it emotionally or musically. That’s not a bad thing; it’s just a false ideal that a chug a day keeps the softness away. The Acacia Strain creates a form of music that doesn’t really weigh down on you. This doesn’t make you want to headbang or mosh, and it’s mainly because it doesn’t have enough substance to do so. Back to the album at hand: what we do see the band try to do as to deviate from their previous work is add atmospheric and even ambient elements to the music. By god, maybe this band has found the key to being heavy after all.

But unfortunately not, the ambient element isn’t enough to alienate The Acacia Strain’s fanbase, and is a weak attempt at progression altogether. It seems like a tacky effort the band threw in at the end. What’s gone from this new record is Vincent Bennet’s vocal hooks from Wormwood. Rather than creating anything memorable this time, he just sort of drags his voice along with the chugs. He seems to have developed a range since their previous album, being able to screech some highs as well as his signature lows, but it’s not enough to turn heads. Bennet’s lyrics seem to be more focused this time around, while still being ultimately cheesy and uninteresting, he doesn’t come up with anything quite as terrible as “You spread disease when you spread your legs, time to suck today’s dick. I hope you choke on it.”

While the album is just as generic and breakdown laden as Wormwood, there are occasionally some moments of the band bringing back lady melody into their repertoire, ‘Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow’ opening with a neat lick, the song ‘Brain Death’ has a quiet enjoyable riff about halfway through the song and, lo and behold, a guitar solo. And it actually sounds good. Ha, now the band’s actually getting somewhe- oh, never mind, another breakdown. The next time the band find themselves in new territory is on ‘Time and Death and God,’ when the band actually bridge into what could be called a drone or even ambient section that goes for over two minutes. I know what you’re thinking, “a two minute ambient section? That certainly couldn’t hold the attention of the band’s fans!,” and you’re right, it probably couldn’t, but the band make sure to repay their loyal customers with a breakdown and a, uh, “creepy” spoken section that I guess is another attempt at being heavy or brutal.

All in all, this album is regular fare and doesn’t really try anything new, even though it will try and have you believe differently. The band gets really cheap and cringe-worthy when they bridge to a breakdown with a distorted clipping of the guitars and vocals a few times during the LP. Death Is The Only Mortal closes on a high note (or as high a note you can take with this) with the six minute ‘House of Abandon,’ which once again features a guitar solo, some nice riffing, melodic picking and even piano (blasphemy! That’s not heavy!) before closing with about a minute or two of edgy-ambiance. Which, in essence, leaves the band in a higher place than they were with Wormwood. If you were unimpressed with their previous work, chances are you’ll be unimpressed with this as well. This album merely stands as some fresh chugs for angsty teens, and that’s about all we can ever expect from this band, and it’s foolish to ask for more.



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3
good
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Comments:Add a Comment 
MichaelSnoxall
October 10th 2012



12163 Comments


Review probably doesn't read like a 3, but I have a slight soft spot for the band and I'm being as objective as possible here. Plus, I wanted to give them credit for at least trying to be different.

DarkSideOfLucca
October 10th 2012



3273 Comments


I lied I read it and am now late to class lol

Never heard these guys, but once again well written review bro

DarkSideOfLucca
October 10th 2012



3273 Comments


Doesn't really sound like my type of band though

MichaelSnoxall
October 10th 2012



12163 Comments


They probably aren't, overall they're not a very likeable band.

ChuckyTruant
October 10th 2012



15707 Comments


Good review. Reads like a 2 though

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ViralOblivion
October 10th 2012



7679 Comments


Good review pos'd

MichaelSnoxall
October 10th 2012



12163 Comments


Ha, I wanted to give it a 2.5, but I didn't like being so harsh because I really dig their other stuff and this is an improvement on the last record.

ChuckyTruant
October 10th 2012



15707 Comments


Lol idk all their stuff is zzzzzzz's to me

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 10th 2012



19461 Comments


I guess slightly attempting to progress their sound is better than regression?

haha good review pos'd never heard this band though

Digging: The Who - Tommy

MichaelSnoxall
October 10th 2012



12163 Comments


yeah, I agree but I still managed to enjoy them

ChuckyTruant
October 10th 2012



15707 Comments


Just forgetta bout em an listen MS bro

MichaelSnoxall
October 10th 2012



12163 Comments


Yeah, this album was too much a snooze fest to listen again, needs more Mis Sigs.

MichaelSnoxall
October 10th 2012



12163 Comments


Brought review down to a 2.5

ChuckyTruant
October 10th 2012



15707 Comments


Hell yeah and yeah that's better

And wtf why does my phone always change 'hell' to he'll'

This is annoying

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 10th 2012



19461 Comments


yeah listening right now pretty average.

Shuyin
October 10th 2012



11170 Comments


the last album had 100+ breakdowns m/

Digging: Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars

ChuckyTruant
October 10th 2012



15707 Comments


lol

Uranium
October 10th 2012



7050 Comments


damn i might listen to this but my drive for this band has gone down

breakingthefragile
October 10th 2012



2943 Comments


I live literally right next to the town these guys come from.

Digging: Glassjaw - Everything You Ever Wanted To Know...

Calc
October 10th 2012



12006 Comments


Your summary reads wrong. Although I think I get what you're meaning.

Digging: Kashiwa Daisuke - April. #02



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