Review Summary: "3750" was a significant step in blazing the trail towards The Acacia Strain's modern sound. At the time of its release, it stood out from its counterparts and continues to be a great album to many long-time fans.
The Acacia Strain is a hardcore/metalcore band from Massachusetts, and "3750" is their second studio album, released in 2004. The lineup for this album is made up of vocalist Vincent Bennett, guitarists Chris Daniele, Daniel Daponde, and Daniel "DL" Laskiewicz (the latter two also share bass guitar duties on this record), and drummer Benjamin Albert. The album features 9 songs with a run time of just under 30 minutes.
"3750" marks the beginning steps taken by the Acacia Strain that have led them to the sound of their modern releases. Musically, the album features more mid-tempo chugs and breakdowns (while trimming a fair amount of the metalcore influences and riffs) than it's predecessor, 2002's "...And Life is Very Long." However, the band still hadn't left behind as much of those metalcore sections as they did with this albums successor, "The Dead Walk." This record contains lyrical themes of malice, deviant behavior, and violence. The modern listener may also notice that Vincent Bennett's lyrics are not quite as straightforward as they are in later releases, and are more cryptic and metaphorical in nature. Lines like "Tonight she will be going to bed without her insides, never cross me," leave no question for the listener, but others such as "Your acting needs work...I suggest Wheel of Fortune, but check your spelling," may leave them pondering Bennett's line of thinking. At the time of release, "3750" ventured into territory that many of it's metalcore peers hadn't decided to visit yet, adopting a darker and heavier sound. The tracks are built around big, meaty breakdowns. These sections are amongst some great, heavy grooves and harmonized metalcore riffs. The whole experience is brought to the listener in a way that will be familiar, yet the songs are structured so that there are still a few surprises for the uninitiated.
The good: The album opens with "Carbomb," which is an appropriate title for this short intro track as it explodes into the albums first breakdown and will have the listener screaming "This is true crime" right along with the band. No time is wasted as the second track, "Brown Noise," starts out with a second breakdown before cruising through a metalcore riff. The title track, "3750," features a frantic chug as it begins before bringing the groove little later on. Following those track is "Smoke You Later," that brings a slower, atmospheric intro before breaking into the heavy stuff and also features the closest thing the album has to a chorus-type element that will have "I finally got to see the sky" stuck in the listeners head long after the album concludes. One more highlight is "Halcyon," an instrumental that takes a break from the aggression to deliver an inspired acoustic (mostly) guitar performance with the distorted tones returning near the end for a short solo.
The bad: There are several instances of what the listener may consider to be wasted space. Right in the middle of the album is "Extreme Wrath of the Jhiaxus," 1 minute and 32 seconds of noise with some distorted spoken word. "Sun Poison and Skin Cancer" is the album's closer and longest track that has some great riffs during it running time. However, the actual music makes up a little over the first half of the track, and then the remainder of it's over eight minute run time is spoken word that is made up of various excerpts from television and/or radio. In an album that is already only 29 minutes long, almost 5 minutes of precious time is wasted with non-musical sections that contribute basically nothing to the album and only serve to degrade the listener's experience.
The bottom line: Despite its few flaws, "3750" is a strong offering and has enough staying power to remain relevant in a fan's collection for a long time. This album is a must for hardcore fans of the band, and warrants a listen for even casual fans of the genre, whether it be an introduction to the band or an instance of nostalgia for early 2000's metalcore.