The Acacia Strain
It Comes in Waves


4.0
excellent

Review

by jbvwlin USER (1 Reviews)
December 30th, 2019 | 130 replies


Release Date: 12/26/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Creativity comes in waves.

I’m always amped whenever there’s a new The Acacia Strain album. Having first been introduced to the band with their 2008 album Continent, and since then I've always looked forward to indulging in one of the most comfort food bands currently making music. Each release brought beefy production, breakdowns-a-plenty, and laughably morose and icky lyrics revolving around deathcore staples like distaste for humanity, the Devil, and wearing a woman’s face as a mask.

I told you—funny.

Vocalist Vincent Bennett stated in multiple interviews a desire to freshen up the band’s formula and over the years we started to see some progression. 2013’s Coma Witch added some hardcore and doom elements (probably, in large part, to the addition of guitarist Devin Shidaker) to mixed results. Whereas 2017’s Gravebloom could be categorized as an above average metalcore album. Both albums showcased the band trying new things but ultimately relied very heavily on breakdowns to fill space or as transitional elements. Despite multiple member changes and an aspiration for more each album still felt incredibly similar.

So imagine my surprise when I get a text from a friend saying “You gotta give this new The Acacia Strain a listen. It’s so different and you’re gonna love it.” I was surprised because, firstly, I had no idea the band was releasing new music and secondly, it IS actually pretty dang different. Instead of every song being breakdown reliant, TAS ninth release, It Comes in Waves, is comprised of songs built around atmosphere, droning guitars, some absolutely stellar drumming, and the occasional breakdown. Progress is progress, right?

It Comes in Waves opens with arguably the album’s strongest track. “Our” starts off with some neat, kinda eerie female vocals and as you’re settling in the band spooks ya with an abruptly disgusting drum fill fill and shriek combo. The song is unrelentingly fast and heavy— maybe one of the fastest songs in the band’s discography— and ends with a sludgy, post-metally final third. It sets a high bar for the rest of the album and aside from a few hiccups it’s regularly met.

Drummer Kevin Botout is unquestionably the strongest member of the band, providing freakishly fast rhythms and intricate fills that never overshadow. The rest of the band perform admirably with guitarists Devin and Tom Smith providing suitably atmospheric picked chords in “Only” and some surprisingly bouncy riffs in “Sin”. Bassist Griffin Landa does what I guess most bassists do in metal only getting some time in the spotlight during “Sin”. It all sounds good too, having been produced and engineered by the band themselves.

The album is strong with only a few inconsistencies coming from Vince’s delivery and lackluster inclusion of sound clips. “Sin” sees Vince trying out some raspier almost black metal highs that maybe don’t hit quite as ferociously as I’d like and “Names” uses cleans that are… fine, I guess? I like the IDEA of the cleans but the execution was flawed, sounding satirical in their over-seriousness. “Was” and closer “Names” both feature voice clips that distract more than anything. Instrumental bridges can be plenty evocative on their own and modulated vocal clips saying things like “We are being punished… for going against the will of God!” and “All places, all things have souls. All souls can be devoured.” come off as trite and forced. But maybe that’s on me, coming to this band hoping for conceptual depth.

Despite a few nitpicks the album is pretty dang solid. The band has stated that this is a taste of a proper full length coming in 2020 and it did a great job getting me excited for that release. It sounds good and finally fulfills many promises of experimentation and growth. It’s nothing earth shattering or new, but maybe that wave is cresting and will be here in no time.


user ratings (220)
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
jbvwlin
December 30th 2019


8 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

First time writing in years, so feedback is welcome and appreciated!

oltnabrick
December 30th 2019


40020 Comments


defiantly a revving

Digging: Wave Temples - Isle Enchanted

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
December 30th 2019


12988 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Not a huge Acacia fan, but I'd like to go over some of this wording/phrasing/other context nit-pics with you if you'd like.



...Gravebloom could be categorized as an above average metalcore album.




Since you're offering opinion in the form of a review it's best to steer away from cop-outs like "could", "maybe" etc.

If you have an opinion on whether ]Gravebloom is a great record, say so. Don't hedge your bets and hide it under conversationalist tone.



Both albums showcased the band trying new things but ultimately relied very heavily on breakdowns to fill space or as transitional elements.




Strong sentence, but where's the back up? Provide some example as to where these albums 'tried new things' and then link it up with the following: "Despite multiple member changes and an aspiration for more [comma] each album still felt incredibly similar."

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
December 30th 2019


12988 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

So imagine my surprise when I get a text from a friend saying “You gotta give this new The Acacia Strain a listen. It’s so different and you’re gonna love it.”




If you're going to bring this much conversationalist tone into your review, embellish it. For example:



So imagine, while you sit in front of your laptop the surprise I felt while reading a text from a friend that said: "You gotta give this new The Acacia Strain a listen. It's so different and you're gonna love it!"



*You can see I didn't change much, but if your mate is excited to show you new Acacia tunes an exclamation mark and some interaction with your reader can go a long way.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
December 30th 2019


12988 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Instead of every song being breakdown reliant, TAS ninth release, It Comes in Waves, is comprised of songs built around atmosphere, droning guitars, some absolutely stellar drumming, and the occasional breakdown. Progress is progress, right?




There's a lot that can be re-done here.

"Compared to the band's other releases, on the The Acacia Strain's ninth studio effort, songs here aren't quite as breakdown reliant..."

TAS can go back to the actual name and needs some grammar work.

"The Acacia Strain's ninth..."



settling in the band spooks ya with




Ya? Seriously? I know we've already mentioned tone and embellishment, but you also need to choose when to write formally/properly.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
December 30th 2019


12988 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm going to stop there. Basically what I've got above probably sounds harsher than what it's meant but hopefully the points carry across just fine. This isn't a bad review by any means (I actually like the style quite a lot) but as you said "first time writing in years" and some proofing and basic tone checking would lift this substantially.



Welcome to writing at sputnikmusic[dot]com. The art of review criticism has fallen off the site these last few years - hopefully we can bring it back and read some quality reviews along the way.

DDDeftoneDDD
December 30th 2019


14551 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

You sure are making sure to do your job Nocte. Congrats! And welcome jbvwlin.

Digging: Antestor - Martyrium

jbvwlin
December 30th 2019


8 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Nocte thanks so much for all the feedback! Maybe some tough love but eh, that's how you get better. I normally have an editor/second set of eyes but I was so jazzed about wanting to write again that I kinda went with what I had– good to know I need an editor, hah.



All of it has been noted and I'll definitely use it towards my next piece! I want to become a decent (maybe good!) writer so I'm ALWAYS down to get feedback. Thanks for taking the time to write all that out! Means a lot!



And thanks to you & DDDeftone for the welcome!

botb
December 30th 2019


14148 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I liked this way way more than I ever could’ve predicted

trilo
December 30th 2019


3552 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

same. i've always been an Acacia fan but i really haven't been into their last couple records (sans Observer off Coma Witch). this caught me off guard. maybe my fav record of theirs.

Digging: Torrential Downpour - TwentyTwentyTwenty

outliers
December 30th 2019


1793 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

an acacia strain album trending at #1, what a time to be alive



albums very ok, good in comparison to their discog but not at all memorable imo

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 1st 2020


12988 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@Nocte thanks so much for all the feedback!




Thanks for taking it on the chin! and there's nothing wrong with be excited about a new album either. Like I said before, I very much like the style to which this was written, but a bit of fine-tuning would go a long way.

XfingTheSullen
January 1st 2020


4520 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Never thought I'd be 4-ing an Acacia album, but here we go



Looks like they're trying to be Converge now

snakesc
January 1st 2020


10 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Am I the only one who thinks 'was' is a fucking masterpiece?

TheClansman95
January 2nd 2020


2511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album is damn cool. I pos'd the review as well, nicely written!

TheClansman95
January 2nd 2020


2511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ps: yeah "was" slays!

fromtheinside
January 3rd 2020


397 Comments


LOL what sort of next level nonsense is this at #1?

You cannot convince me that this thing (band) created something worth listening to

Slex
January 3rd 2020


10653 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yep Was is the best track here

Also shut the hell up dork lmao

Digging: ManDancing - The Good Sweat

trilo
January 3rd 2020


3552 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

[2]

fromtheinside
January 3rd 2020


397 Comments


Lol who is slex?



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