The Acacia Strain – Gravebloom (Rise)

Monday, 17th July 2017
Rating: 7/10

To stay pissed…or not to stay pissed, that is the long-running question regarding The Acacia Strain. The band has built a career out of being arguably one of the most vitriolic metalcore bands around, with songs often built upon Vincent Bennett’s lyrics of angst, rage, hatred and so forth. It has done the trick in the past with 2006’s The Dead Walk and its 2008 follow-up Continent moving some units and cracking skulls along the way. But now well into the veteran phase of their career, the operative question is whether The Acacia Strain can keep it up on their eighth album, Gravebloom.

Musically, obviously, the band is still in the same spot as they ever were, recycling through the same chugged-up modes and palm-mute galores. (Someone should do a side-by-side comparison one day of the band’s albums to find the similarities.) The patented slow-death-by-beatdown angle of “Worthless” is classic The Acacia Strain, while the up-tempo thrash-bashing of “Bitter Pill” was striding along nicely until it descended into typical beatdown territory. With no real surprises jumping out of the bushes, the crisp guitar solo on the title track is certainly worthy, while the ominous ringing on “Calloused Mouth” gets in its dynamic kicks.

The Acacia Strain became so prolific at their own style that they’re forever boxed in by it. It’s not an uncommon happening; it’s happened to far lesser bands, that’s for sure. And in a scene that openly frowns on outside influences or sound alterations, The Acacia Strain are simply doing what they do best. In reality, you could have seen an album like Gravebloom coming from a mile away. Progression would be The Acacia Strain’s death-knell.

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