Sound — 9
For those who've listened to The Acacia Strain since their inception, you know that their style has changed quite a bit from album to album. As an avid listener of the band, I've always been excited to hear their new material and see where they push their sound to next. One common element shared between their albums that increases exponentially, is their earth moving heaviness. Being somewhat of a production nerd and audiophile, quality of production is unfortunately too much of what influences my personal opinion on an album. Songwriting is obviously a huge part, but if the production work doesn't fit the songwriting, it just won't hit me right. For the first three albums, Adam Dutkiewicz of Killswitch Engage handled the production duties. For the next two, Zeuss of Planet-Z Recording handled the production. But on "Death Is The Only Mortal", TAS' guitarist DL took care of everything all on his own, and I've gotta say, this is their best production yet. And coming from the biggest Adam D fan on the planet, that's truly saying a lot. Guitars are heavy and crunchy, thanks to the Strictly 7 brand 8-string guitars DL's been using, as well as his new DAR amp. Kevin's drums sound awesome, though I feel the snare is a little weak for this style of music. I'm not sure how they went about recording drums, but I would assume triggered and drumagog'd, or something similar. Jack's bass sounds ridiculously heavy - which is quite a feat mixing a bass with 8 string guitars, and Vincent's vocals are... Well, Vincent-y. Overall, incredible sound and production, and easily the best they've ever sounded.
Lyrics — 4
Lately I haven't been a huge fan of Vincent's vocals. There's not really much I can say about it, and I really can't stand his "End Of The World" style of writing. He's quite depressing in that area, but I'm sure there's people that can relate, or just enjoy them in general. But since the lyrics are screamed and not sang, I really don't pay attention to them. I'm a guitarist/drummer, and those two things are what I focus on in music anyways.
Overall Impression — 8
"The Dead Walk" will always be my favorite album from them, and nothing will ever compare to that in my eyes, but I much prefer "Death Is The Only Mortal" over "Wormwood", or "Continent". The stand out song for me has been Track 4, called "Brain Death". I'm still a sucker for punishing breakdowns with an epic lead in, and towards the end of the song, this track definitely brings a beat down. Heavy, punchy, and earth shattering. I use Rdio, so I wouldn't ever have an issue with it being stolen or lost, and honestly I never use CD's anymore because of Rdio. However, if I had it on vinyl and it were lost or stolen, I'd definitely buy it again.