I seem to remember The Acacia Strain being an In Flames copy, but I think I must be thinking of another band entirely. Which means that I have no reference for these guys as I’ve never heard them before and I thought they were a metalcore band. Turns out, I’m wrong. Instead, they’re a deathcore band. Now, I try to not generalize about genre conventions while reviewing a band (I mean, it’s unfair to review an entire genre every time you review a band’s record), but I think that I’m starting to figure out what it is about endless breakdowns that I hate. And I’ll tell you. Oh yes, I’ll tell you.
OK, actually, I’ll tell you a bit later. Let me start out with what I think this band does well. You know, one should follow the same strategy with criticism that you do when you’re telling your friend that you think he’s being a douchebag: start with the positive. In this case, I think these guys are moderately capable musicians. Occasionally a really great chug riff comes through, and that’s awesome. But honestly, the best part about this album is the production. Wormwood definitely breaks against the mold of a lot of the modern production that’s out there. While the guitar tone is a bit boxy and mechanical for my liking, the drums aren’t as openly disgustingly replaced as they are on a lot of other records and that’s great. So, thanks The Acacia Strain, at least your record isn’t annoying to listen to.
On the other hand: this is so fucking boring I can hardly stay awake. Breakdown after mind-numbing breakdown. Chug riff after mind numbing chug riff offset only by a vocalist who screams the most cliche crap, littered with as many f bombs as possible in order to let you know how incredibly tough he is. Where’s the interesting here? What’s to like about these songs? It’s just a bunch of riffs linked together that all build a bridge between breakdown and (mind-numbing) breakdown. It makes my brain want to fucking break.
So yeah, The Acacia Strain? Boring. The sound is thick, stupid and booooring. It might as well be drone for all the inventiveness and excitement happening on this stuff. For example, in the song “Bay of Pigs”, the fucking retarded chorus (see how tough I sound when I write “fucking”?) of “Just because you’re breathing doesn’t mean that you’re alive / just because you’re human doesn’t mean you have to die” (a fascinatingly meaningless group of sentences in a song named after something that might have actually made for interesting song lyrics) is repeated ad nauseum for like 3 minutes. The same, retarded, boring and mind numbing riff for 3 minutes. Or then there’s the song “Tactical Nuke”, which is just the same riff for 5 fucking minutes half time and then half time again. Why even waste the listeners time? This pretty much sums up the band in short order.
Don’t buy this record. If you’ve really got a hard on for deathcore than you probably don’t read Angry Metal Guy as it is, but not only that, you’d be better off getting the new Whitechapel which is way more interesting and inventive than this. Buy that record. Avoid The Acacia Strain like the plague because they stink. And if you must buy a record called Wormwood, check out the new Marduk ’cause it’s way better. Bands like this make me miss the metalcore trend: because at least then the shitty bands sounded like In Flames or At The Gates and you could kind of enjoy bits and pieces.