The Acacia Strain
Coma Witch


3.5
great

Review

by Brett Tharp USER (23 Reviews)
October 21st, 2014 | 100 replies


Release Date: 10/14/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Brutality, but not yet banality.

The Acacia Strain’s career has been a perplexing one to say the least. As one of the early bands to join the deathcore wave of the early 2000’s, they were also one of the first to feel the wave of hate emanating from metal fans. The Acacia Strain were always on the simple side of deathcore, and as time and albums went by they seemed drop the few actual death metal influences they had. They don’t use blast beats, technical riffing, or tremolo picking. Their only real link to deathcore is the prominent use of breakdowns and an extremely bottom heavy sound, not to mention vocalist Vincent Bennet’s guttural roars and screams. The sound is one more trudging than blistering, encompassing massive down tuned and drawn out riffs meant to sound as heavy as possible. In fact, it is easy to look to the band as the influence behind the emerging wave of downtempo deathcore (Black Tongue, Traitors) currently. The Acacia Strain has made a career out of that style, doing it better than any of this new wave have managed so far. Coma Witch is virtually more of the same, in some ways better while in other ways worse, but ending with a big surprise.

The best way to think of this album is as one with two separate parts. The first part is almost interchangeable with The Acacia Strain’s last few records, opening with “Human Disaster” which in turn begins with an tense male voice sample that leads into a massive breakdown. It’s just The Acacia Strain doing what they've always done well. It’s heavy and somehow it keeps your attention like no other band attempting the style. Like Death Is The Only Mortal, there is a touch of djent esque compression and sharpness in the guitar tone. The riffs, a term I use loosely, are confined to the low strings with a bare handful of tension inducing yet simplistic guitar leads sprinkled in. The bass is, as you could guess, nonexistent except in solidifying the bottom end. The drum work is surprisingly the most technical instrument on display, not the usual wow factor for the band, with some nice fills and nifty patterns spread through Coma Witch. Songs like “Cauterizer” turn out to be the most fun tracks, with severely punishing drops and creepy buildups. A handful of guest vocalists liven up other songs, such as Sven de Calwe (Aborted) on “Graveyard Shift”, and Brendan Garrone (Incendiary) on “VVorld Demise”. Sadly, there are a number of forgettable tracks, fun at the time but nothing to really remember. Bennet’s vocals are attention grabbing and as angry as any vocalist I’ve ever heard, but his lyrics are not exactly poetic. They work for the band, with their nihilistic and violent imagery, but nothing really praise worthy. In “Cauterizer” they work, but in songs like “Holy Walls Of The Vatican” not so much, with lines like "Hallelujah, you won't be saved".

Now, the second part of the record, in truth, is just the final track “Observer”, where things take a turn for the surprising and interesting. The first thing noticeable is that it lasts for an overtly gigantic 27 minutes, nearly as long as the first ten tracks combined. It’s definitely a tentative listen at first, but it works in all the right ways. It has all the things The Acacia Strain is known for and a whole lot more. There are voice samples, notably a monologue from the TV show True Detective, doomy down tuned guitars, ambience in abundance, dare I say even beautiful moments, and then a final drop at the end. Most importantly, it fills in the blanks created by the first half of Coma Witch.

While Coma Witch isn’t the definitive Acacia release, it is a worthy one nonetheless. This can most certainly be called a triumph if not of epic proportions. If you feel the need for some slow, heavy, evil music this might be for you.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Gameofmetal
October 20th 2014


3764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Feedback plz, got a little rushed. Hope it turned out cool. album stream below

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKcGEIO7V0rUv4ckyrt5T1KQDesd6QIZ2

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
October 20th 2014


15315 Comments


If you've rushed a review, you shouldn't upload it until you're happy with it. That said, it's not a bad review, but it does need some work.

After a quick read I noticed all this:

As one of the early bands to join the deathcore wave of the early 2000’s,* they

In fact,* it is

opening with “Human Disaster” which in turn opens with

Maybe change "opens" to "starts" or "begins" just for a bit of verbal variation

a voice sample

You're gonna have to explain what kind of voice this is, because the way you say it, it could be anything

It’s just The Acacia Strain at their usual.

Their usual what? Maybe say something like "doing what they do best"

Like Death Is The Only Mortal,* there

djenty compression

What about the compression makes it "djenty?" Djent describes instrumental technique, not production.

simplistic guitar leads* sprinkled in

The drum work is surprisingly the most technical instrument on display

Why is that surprising?

Sadly,* there

are a number of forgettable tracks, fun at the time but nothing to remember them by

"Remember them by" implies the tracks are means to remember something else, not the tracks themselves. You could drop "them by" and it would read fine, though.

In “Cauterizer” they work, but in songs like “Holy Walls Of The Vatican” not so much.

You should probably explain why, or at least provide us with a line or two.

Now,* the second part of the record, in truth,* is* just the final track “Observer”, [is] *remove is* where things take a turn for the surprising and interesting

The first thing noticeable is that it lasts for an overtly gigantic 27 minutes

I doubt the first thing you're going to notice about a track will be that it has lasted for 27 minutes, unless it's the single most non-descript song ever made

tv show

"TV" should be capitalised

Most importantly,* it fills

Also "isn’t the definitive Acacia release" seems to contradict the notion that it's a "triumph,* if not of epic proportions"

As a whole the review reads like a series of dot points, lacking flow and expression. But take the criticisms people give you with good grace and you should improve out of sight. Pos for being a good sport.

Digging: Blaspherian - Upon The Throne of Eternal Blasphemous Death

Gameofmetal
October 20th 2014


3764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

My friend was pressuring me to jump on league of legends so I was in a hurry. I'll go ahead and edit these.

Towards your complaint about the djent compression thing, I figured it was common knowledge that the djent tone is a very sharp compressed sound. About the 27 minutes song, it was the first thing I noticed because I looked right at the track length and I figure anyone listening would be in a place that the track length is on display.

Thanks for the tips, I will remedy them.

Gameofmetal
October 20th 2014


3764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh and about calling it a triumph, it's still a triumph if it succeeds for the most part which is what I'm trying to say. It isn't their best album but it is a good one.

Gameofmetal
October 20th 2014


3764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think I've got everything fixed though.

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
October 20th 2014


21844 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

bleh album

Digging: Aspherium - The Fall of Therenia

Gameofmetal
October 20th 2014


3764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I wish it had bleghs tbh

accompliceofmydeath
October 20th 2014


4302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Has at least one sick "blegh!" I'm really digging this album. I like that you point out that they really aren't deathcore. Never really understood why they were labeled as such. Sounds more like Meshuggah and Crowbar if they listened to more Integrity or something. Anyway, good review.

Digging: Snapcase - Progression Through Unlearning

Gameofmetal
October 20th 2014


3764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks dude.

24gadjet
October 21st 2014


40 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review, decent album. Good songs and boring songs.

Gameofmetal
October 21st 2014


3764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thank you sir

Progger6009
October 21st 2014


1129 Comments


Nice review, personally feeling this albums has some great tunes, and some blowhard, tough guy hardcore, "as evil as possible" songs that really fall short. The Observer though, thats easily their best, most ambitious song to date.

Gameofmetal
October 21st 2014


3764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pretty much summed it up there, yeah

AtomicShane
October 21st 2014


1948 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The album really suffers from not having a "fuck" before a breakdown imo. I actually dug the lyrics of Holy Walls. It's the most blatant
attack on christianity by them i'd say. Plus "On your knees, worship the beast, the goat will be greeted with the swarming of bees"
sounds too badass haha

Gameofmetal
October 21st 2014


3764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That isn't bad but the "Hallelujah you won't be saved" makes me cringe hard.

YakNips
October 21st 2014


13345 Comments


does this go hard and slow

Digging: Jordaan Mason - The Decline of Stupid Fucking Western Civilization

Gameofmetal
October 21st 2014


3764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nothing harder or slower cept maybe one of their other albums.

accompliceofmydeath
October 21st 2014


4302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Meh, I'm kinda over "fuck" mosh calls. "Execution. On your fucking knees" is p cool though.

Gameofmetal
October 21st 2014


3764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Vincent is the most brutal dad like vocalist ever.

Betray
October 21st 2014


4823 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

and a beast live m/

good review game. not your best, but good.



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