Review Summary: Chugs and breakdowns galore, but may leave the listener wanting something more.
"The Dead Walk" is the third studio album from Massachusetts hardcore/metalcore band The Acacia strain. The lineup for this record consists of vocalist Vincent Bennett, guitarists Daniel "DL" Laskiewicz and Daniel Daponde, bass guitarist Seth Coleman, and drummer Kevin Boutet. This album features 11 songs with a running time just under 32 minutes.
If the listener has heard this band's previous efforts (2004's "3750" and/or 2002's "...And Life is Very Long), then said listener will already know what they are in for, albeit a more polished production and structured experience. The general lyrical themes to be found consist of anger, misanthropy, and misogyny. The lyrics themselves convey subtle metaphors, but are mostly straightforward. Lines like "I pray your broken family heals your broken neck - eat sh*t and live," and "There was a bloodbath [...] I changed her from her neighbor's wet dream into his nightmare," give a glance at the hateful, negative tone of the album. The music itself is full of aggression to accompany the anger portrayed in the lyrics. All songs, save for the first track (an "instrumental"), are made up of mid tempo, chugging riffs with a plethora of breakdowns scattered throughout. "-Core" genre fans love a good breakdown, but something is lost when they aren't executed in an exciting way. The listener is most often plunged into these sections throughout the album, with almost no time to absorb or enjoy what they have just heard before the next one begins. Now, that's not to say that the music is bad, in fact it's fine. But, that's all, it's only fine, and the album as a whole suffers from a lack of memorable moments.
The good tracks: "Burnface," which begins with a memorable, string-bending riff that gets that bounce going, and is then enhanced later in the song with a dissonant lead. "4x4," featuring one of the only solos (and it's a short one) on the album that manages to add some character to this crowd-mover. "See You Next Tuesday," a song with some great groove sections, and a catchy chorus section. "Demolishor" has a really eerie lead over its main riff, and a great bridge riff that stands out among all other on the album (and includes two seriously intense pinch harmonic bends). Finally, "Pity" is an almost 4-minute beatdown that ends with the albums biggest and best breakdown.
The bad: The other 7 tracks can get lost as they don't contain anything that particularly stands out from one another, nor from the 5 songs mentioned above. Riffs are lesser versions of others that were used multiple times in other songs, and the breakdowns are all very similar despite the large amount of them.
The bottom line: Despite it's mediocrity, "The Dead Walk" and The Acacia Strain as a whole still manage to stand out from their counterparts at the time. Hardcore fans of the band will enjoy this album, as I do. However, casual listeners may soon forget this album even after just one listen.