Released: Jul 20, 2010
Genre: Deathcore, Heavy Metal
Label: Prosthetic Records
Number Of Tracks: 12
The use of 8-string guitars on Acacia Strain's latest CD Wormwood adds a whole new dimension to the Massachusetts band's sludgy, deep guitar sound.
UG Team, on july 23, 2010 5 of 6 people found this review helpful
Sound: On a recent press release for Acacia Strain's latest album Wormwood, there was one comment that stood out regarding the Massachusetts band's ability to embody anger. Certainly vocalist Vincent Bennett seems to be one pissed off individual with every vitriolic phrase he utters, but that aspect of the Acacia Strain shouldn't take away from the other unbelievable elements to the 12 new tracks. While the core songwriting is strong throughout, it is the forward-thinking guitar work of Daniel DL Laskeiwitz that takes Wormwood to a whole other level of creativity.
What you'll notice from the opening track Beast to the sludgy goodness of the instrumental closer Tactical Nuke is the astoundingly effective guitar tones. The sounds seem deeper and meatier than ever before, and apparently there is a reason behind it all. Laskeiwitz experimented with 8-string guitars on Wormwood this time around, adding a whole new dimension to the usual drop tuning you might hear on metal records these days. Laskeiwitz doesn't necessarily deliver the typical riffage, but instead uses his skills in a more cinematic fashion.
Wormwood certainly incorporates plenty of what you might expect in a deathcore sound, whether it be the guttural groans courtesy of Bennett or double bass pedal accents that are used sparingly (making their effective more intense) by Kevin Boutot. While there are tracks like Ramirez that are driven by their aggressive nature alone, the bulk of the tracks on Wormwood have plenty of interesting approach to song arrangement. In pretty much every single one you'll hear Laskeiwitz's bizarrely wonderful effects that range from sounding celestial to diabolic. Highlights include Jonestown, The Carpathian, and the groaning Tactical Nuke. // 9
Lyrics: By simply reading the lyrics alone, you may indeed agree with the comment that this is one band that does indeed embody anger. Bennett doesn't dance around a topic with generic ideas, instead goes right for the vein. In The Carpathian he sings, I am the white horse that death rode in on; I drove the first nail in the cross; Assume the worst and pray for the best; We are all the antichrist. Earlier in The Hills Have Eyes, Bennett immediately flings insults at one unfortunate soul (I can't take your fucking faces; Cut one head off two grow in its place). The lyrics aren't for the fainthearted, but his vocals are indicative of that point anyway. // 8
Overall Impression: As the frontman for Acacia Strain, Bennett has a commanding presence particularly because his groaned vocals are still fairly comprehensible throughout. There's something to be said for that quality, particularly when the anger-fueled lyrics are a huge part of the message. But what really stands out amongst everything are the textured, rich guitar tones and effects that are peppered underneath each track. Laskeiwitz doesn't get chained to monotonous riffs and that makes for an unpredictable and highly satisfying listening experience on Wormwood. His use of those 8-string guitars was a wise, wise choice on his part. // 9
VcOdMh, on september 17, 2010 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: This is by far the heaviest sound out there. On this album, the guitarist uses an 8-String ESP Guitar. This allows for the most heavy, brutal riffs and breakdowns possible. The drums can be described in one word. Pounding. The mix of the heavy down-tuned guitar with the thumping drums makes for a sound that is comparable to no other. In terms of bass guitar, there is not much to be said. The bass is super low, and ties the whole thing together. Don't expect technicality from The Acacia Strain, the sound is slow and heavy. But that's exactly what they want. It is the lowest, heaviest, and most heart-pounding CD out right now. The whole thing sounds like what I imagine hell would sound like. Chugging and open power chords run rampant on this record, and as much as I would like to hear a little different styling on this album, it fits. They have put together a unique sound for this CD, and have established themselves as a unique artist. The only real problem I have is that there is a lack of variety in the music itself. Most songs flow together just a little too well. // 9
Lyrics: This is not for the faint of heart. If you hate the world and all the people in it, welcome to your new favorite CD. The lyrics are personal and hateful. Vincent really put his heart into this one. With such lines as "I hate everything you love" and "Your blood will blanket the Earth" you can really feel his hate for people in general. I've never heard a better combination of music and lyrics. The music sounds brutal, the lyrics are brutal. This is not heavy music about girlfriends and heartache, this is heavy music about hate. Just the way I love it. The only problem I have is the lack of variety in Vincent's voice. I love his voice, but for once I'd like to hear some high screams. Not a lot, but just a little. Jimmy Jasta (Hatebreed) provides guest vocals on the tracks Beast and Nightman, and that is a nice touch. // 9
Overall Impression: The Acacia Strain to me has a sound of their own, and cannot really be compared to any other band. My favorite songs from this CD are Beast, The Hills Have Eyes, Jonestown, and Tactical Nuke. (Essentially a 6 minute breakdown) I love the hate on this album and the new sound. I don't really hate anything here. I don't LOVE the lack of variety in the vocal sound and instruments, but it is a little annoying. If this CD was stolen from me, I'd go out and buy two more copies. Overall, great CD. // 9