The Acacia Strain
Gravebloom


2.8
good

Review

by Gameofmetal STAFF
July 7th, 2017 | 54 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Acacia Strain slip into a coma and upon waking up promptly reissue Coma Witch, minus a certain thirty minute closing track.

For a band long associated with the often reviled deathcore movement, The Acacia Strain somehow managed to skirt the struggles that their brethren faced. Where deathcore bands are criticized for monotonous songwriting and an overreliance on breakdowns, The Acacia Strain rarely seems to get called out for embodying these exact qualities. As someone that took quite a while to come around to their brand of extremity, it has been an unsettling experience to see people praise The Acacia Strain as a “tolerable” deathcore act, while dismissing others with a more traditional approach. Considering that one common complaint, perhaps a dying one, hopefully, but one that existed nonetheless, was that deathcore isn’t “real death metal”, there’s a strange irony in seeing avid OSDM listeners have no issue cranking The Acacia Strain when they happen to actually have comparatively few characteristics of death metal. Rather, The Acacia Strain anchor their sound on a pissed off, nihilistic aesthetic and pounding, snail paced chug-a-lugs, breakdowns and two note rhythms in overwhelming abundance. It seems to me that The Acacia Strain is the purest embodiment of everything deathcore naysayers claimed was the problem with the genre, yet are praised for it. A confounding turn of fate to say the least.

To be clear, I’m not complaining. It took me a long time to find the value in The Acacia Strain’s music, but I do believe it’s there. Monotony and breakdown worship aside, the band has mastered the art of sludgy, hate-fueled fury and none of the copycats that have appeared over the years have come close to matching them. In some ways they thrive on a “dumb fun” approach, unfortunately like Emmure is to some, but over time they’ve shown some artistic ability. 2012’s Death Is the Only Mortal introduced some of Meshuggah’s mechanical syncopation to the mix, and 2014’s Coma Witch, despite retreading familiar territory, closed out on the thirty minute expansive, melodic and doomy epic “Observer”. Every record since Continent has shrunk the average tempo until it became the norm to roll at a sloth like speed. If the Acacia Strain know how to write a fast song then we haven’t seen it in quite a long time. It’s not necessarily a bad thing though, at this point it’s become a part of their identity. And though The Acacia Strain have never been known as particularly intelligent artists, there has been a clear artistic growth, at least since the 2010’s hit. Unfortunately Gravebloom halts that growth dead in its tracks.

Gravebloom is a fun album. Honest. But it’s also a rehash, plain and simple. Nothing done across its eleven tracks hasn’t been done on previous Acacia Strain records, and the record it most closely resembles, Coma Witch, has the aforementioned luxury of “Observer” to set it apart from the rest of their discography. Vincent Bennet’s vocals are full of menace and rage as per usual, and the riffs are undeniably heavy, but what’s it all for" Maybe it’s absurd to ask an existential question like that of an Acacia Strain record of all things, but goddamit I need something more than just another eleven slow as ***, pissed the hell off songs. Maybe I’m growing up and moving on, or maybe I’m looking for something I have no right looking for from a group of people who have never promised anything of the sort, but I’m discontent with this record anyway. Sonically it sounds good, the instruments are loud and crush precisely like they need to. For the most part I can hear everything in the mix, though the bass bleeds into the guitars until they become one entity but that’s nothing new. I can get down to stomping outro to “Plague Doctor” and I can give them props for trying to make another epic closing track in “Cold Gloom”, but it’s all so very uninspiring. So what is Gravebloom but just another Acacia Strain record, another pile of riffs and breakdowns and guttural roars and lyrics about how awful everything and everyone is" It’s just that, nothing more. For many, that will be just fine. For me, I can’t seem to stop asking questions that I’m pretty sure no one has an answer for.



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user ratings (82)
Chart.
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
PumpBoffBag (2.5)
JUNZ and repeat...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
July 7th 2017


10178 Comments

Album Rating: 2.8

Hi

DarthHideous1
July 7th 2017


188 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Not as good as Coma Witch but that solo in Gravebloom is sick and this has some of their heaviest songs imo.

zaruyache
July 7th 2017


17895 Comments


If there are osdm plebs jamming Acacia Strain then they're bigger posers than me.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
July 7th 2017


10178 Comments

Album Rating: 2.8

The exchange I most vividly recall was Snoxall saying he didn't mind The Acacia Strain surprisingly.

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
July 7th 2017


13290 Comments


band sucks and always has been a chugfest of dumbcore tropes

Digging: Slowdive - Pygmalion

ScuroFantasma
Contributing Reviewer
July 7th 2017


10872 Comments


Good review, this looks very avoidable (;

Digging: Russkaja - Energia!

dbizzles
July 7th 2017


10385 Comments


Sad. Didn't figure they had a great album in them anyway, but I was hoping there'd be jams to be had. I'll give this a once over at some point. Good review.

Digging: Summoning - Oath Bound

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
July 7th 2017


10178 Comments

Album Rating: 2.8

if you like any of their past work then you'll have a fine time here, I just wanted something more for no logical reason

SteakByrnes
July 7th 2017


4544 Comments


I liked Death Is The Only Mortal, but other than that album these guys just aren't my cup of tea

Digging: Ghost Atlas - All Is In Sync, and There's Nothing Left to Sing

trilogique21
July 7th 2017


1315 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

always had a soft spot for this band since they were one of my first heavier bands, but ever since they lost DL their music hasn't had the same dumb fun grooves.



spot on review pretty much exactly how I feel

lecolumbus
July 7th 2017


137 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

The songwriting's hasn't really changed much since Above/Below. maybe I'd bump this if I hadn't heard Coma Witch.

It's strange expecting The Acacia Strain to do something different but I didn't expect them to do something that was exactly the same.

At least the production is better this time around.



What's with Vincent's lyric patterns too? I think he's done this for awhile but it seems he rhymes every single word like AA/BB without fail.

Sinternet
July 8th 2017


14834 Comments


haven't heard all of this yet but sounded better than coma witch but not as good as death is the only mortal

XfingTheSullen
July 8th 2017


4093 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It's not really breakdowns if they're not breaking up the song fam



at least that's the way I see it

XfingTheSullen
July 8th 2017


4093 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Gonna listen of course, for some reason this band is tons of fun for me. Still, for some reason I really like wormwood and ditom, but not coma witch (except observer, world demise etc), so we'll see if i dig this

kingdedethefifth
July 8th 2017


4214 Comments


Yeah i dont get why people give The Acacia Strain any sort of pass. They're essentially a rehash of the most average tough guy Deathcore out there

XfingTheSullen
July 8th 2017


4093 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Listened to this album, horribly boring unfortunately. Their last really good album was death is the only mortal.

MO
July 8th 2017


22002 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

always had a soft spot for this band, just heavy ass riffage and good tuning. will check this

grandfather
July 8th 2017


124 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

It's kind of astounding how un-fun this album is tbh, one of my favorite semi-guilty pleasure bands

XfingTheSullen
July 8th 2017


4093 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Shit, there isn't a single riff that would even be as interesting as world demise. What a shame.

Spec
July 8th 2017


34815 Comments


never liked them but try each album anyways let's gooooo



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