Review Summary: The album where The Acacia Strain begin to find their sound (and where many other bands have as well, it seems...)
The album where The Acacia Strain begin to find their sound (and where many other bands have as well, it seems...)
The early-mid 2000s was an incredibly different time for deathcore. In comparison to nowadays, where every person's who picked up a guitar once in their life and can chug the bottom string is playing breakdowns in some deathcore band, there weren't nearly as many bands doing that style back then. All you had to choose from back then were bands like Animosity, All Shall Perish, Despised Icon, The Red Chord maybe, and obviously, The Acacia Strain. So it comes as no surprise that you can hear TAS's influence in a lot of bands today, such as Defiler, Shinto Katana and of course, Emmure. I'll come back to that last point in a moment, but for now, let's talk about 3750.
3750 was TAS's second album, after the very different sounding debut album "...And Life is Very Long". In fact, they don't even like to play material off that debut album anymore cause of just how drastically different it sounds to their later material. That is, it's not nearly as breakdown-laden as their recent efforts. Ask anybody about The Acacia Strain nowadays, and they'll probably mention Wormwood (probably as "that album with over 100 breakdowns or something"). Their debut album features a lot more traditional metal guitar work, whereas 3750 is somewhat of a transition album. The album begins with Carbomb, basically just a giant breakdown just to throttle you and warn you to what the rest the album is going to sound like; if you don't dig chugging, low growled vocals and pounding hard-hitting beats, you better stop reading not bother listening, because that's what the album is all about.
The best parts of the album start early; Brown Noise and 3750 are great examples of The Acacia Strain's sound, Brown Noise being a good example of their more common slower moshing songs, and the title track is their obligatory faster track that songs off later albums like Ramirez and Dr. Doom follow up with. Interestingly enough, there's a bit of melody at the end of 3750, something which isn't quite as common on later material. Smoke Ya Later continues with more melody mixed with the brutality TAS is known for. If you're an Emmure fan, you might that song sounding kinda familiar... that's because Emmure's song "Rusted Over Wet Dreams" off their 2007 album "Goodbye to the Gallows" has a lot of elements taken from the former, the opening section sounds pretty much exactly the same for crying out loud! So it's not to hard to see why TAS wrote Skynet two albums later, a song commonly believed to be about Emmure, with lines like "Plagiarism is the highest form of flattery. / Why would you ever want to be like me? We are all someone else's terrible idea." Regardless of what bands ripped off who, Smoke Ya Later is easily the stand out song off the album, with the memorable opening that was so good another band stole it, the catchy clapping section and the crushing ending that makes your ears ring.
The lyrics are a bit more interesting and varied than the lyrics on their later albums, which mostly involve misogyny and misanthropy in general. On 3750, the lyrics can be a bit more cryptic, such as on Brown Noise and Drawn and Quartered, with lines like "Fear the wounded for they walk the earth stronger. / Destroy the loathsome for they only weaken the machine." and "Documentation is useless. / A year later gone and forgotten. / Nothing makes sense after a year. /With no remorse we walked away. /The vulture made due with what was left. / This is an endless cycle of destruction and reformation. /There is no beginning, nor end.". Sometimes they can just be confusing and probably full of metaphors only the band understands, like on the title track... "Your number is going to double the pope's age. / Your method of losing weight is going to have to change. / Chivalry never felt so wrong. / Your acting needs work. / I suggest wheel of fortune, but check your spelling."
Then comes the bad parts of the album, the boring middle. The interlude "Extreme Wrath of the Jhiaxus" was pointless and could have been left off the album. Ater that, comes two songs that I struggle to tell apart. TAS by this point struggles to make the breakdowns interesting, with one song having a nauseating off-beat rhythm, and another featuring a breakdown that's just too ridiculously over the top slow that it just comes off boring as all hell. After those two tracks, you get an interlude that's much better than the earlier interlude, and proves (like the track The Behemoth off Continent) that TAS actually have some instrument skill and can do more than just being slow and heavy. My only criticism is that it feels a little out of place, but it brings much needed variety to the album.
Finally comes the ending track, Sun Poison and Skin Cancer, probably the longest song TAS have ever done. It does a decent job of bringing a somewhat epic feel to their sound, and the crescendo is pretty cool when it comes. Half of the song around the end is just more pointless sampled filler however, and like the other interlude could be cut as well to shave some time off the album, but I guess they wanted to make it seem longer without actually have more music on it though (the album is 29 minutes long, but you could cut off at least five minutes worth of those interludes and it wouldn't suffer). You could even cut off "Passing the Pencil Test" and "Drawn and Quartered" and make it a concentrated EP of excellence, worthy of a higher rating. But mostly for the first four songs and the last song, I'm gonna give it 3.75 out of 5.