Death Is The Only Mortal review by The Acacia Strain

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  • Released: Oct 9, 2012
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 4
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 6.8 (44 votes)
The Acacia Strain: Death Is The Only Mortal
2

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.

27 comments sorted by best / new / date

    EyesWideOpen
    If you look at the album cover from the corner of your eye it looks like Korns Follow the leaders. Fun Fact#379
    ChemicalFire
    Gonna wait for a decent review of this album... Ironically it's the long term fans, who aren't too fond of this album, that are then accused of "not listening to the band enough" and "obviously not getting it" by the new wave of Jock fans.
    EpiExplorer
    I'm thinking of some snarky criticism to go along with just how dull it is listening to this album, but its so dull that I've completely lost the will to even try.
    BwareDWare94
    I really just can't get into this band. Can I dig some deathcore? Yeah, I like Whitechapel, but most of it falls into this Acacia Strain category of fantastically boring with less than appealing vocals. Truth is, about the only reason I like Whitechapel is Phil Bozeman's vocals. The only thing Acacia Strain related that I was ever interested in was the guest vocals on Whitechapel's "Murder Sermon." This band just doesn't do it for me, and truth be told the only deathcore band that I ever get into goes in spurts. It'd be hard to listen to Whitechapel in something other than spurts.
    ironman316
    Like I said, the music is okay. I was more reviewing for the production, haha. I'm kinda surprised my review even got accepted.
    EpiExplorer
    I've written like, 80 reviews on this site, some of much worse quality, so you can be safe knowing that something along the lines of what you've already got will be accepted. Focus on the music first though, production second
    Disturbed_EMG
    "The best they've ever sounded" is going a bit far, I think. Not bad, but definitely not the best, especially the production. At first I was wowed, but I dunno. Something doesn't quite sit right for me.
    ironman316
    Musically it's okay, but I absolutely hated Zeuss's production on Continent and Wormwood. I'm super biased with the stuff Adam D produced, because he pretty much shaped modern metal, but I really gotta give it to DL. He did a great job producing.
    aarongtr18
    "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". Yeah, with each successive album they incorporate the use of one additional note. Hooray for variety!
    ironman316
    So, you haven't listened to them since they first came out.
    aarongtr18
    If "when they first came out" refers to Wormwood, then I guess you're right.
    ironman316
    Um. The Acacia Strain has been around since about 2004. There was 4 albums before Wormwood. I hope to God you're trolling.
    aarongtr18
    No, I'm referring to the fact that even in their newer releases (such as Wormwood, I guess sarcasm really is hard to convey over the Internet) they sound like teenagers playing an eight string for the first time in Guitar Center.
    Krauser
    I hope this makes sense, and I'm sure many will say it's ignorant or a cop out, but I don't listen to The Acacia Strain the same "way" I listen to, for example, BTBAM. I picked up this album and Parallax II, as they both dropped on the same day, and listened to them both multiple times. Parallax II is a masterpiece (in my opinion at least, don't want to start any wars) and this album, while not a technical showing by any stretch of the imagination (let's be honest, it's a down tuned chug fest with solid production the whole way through) is still very good. Here's the thing, I've been listening to TAS since 3750 and there's a certain time and place when listening to them is appropriate. I'm not going to sit and say the album is garbage because it's not technical or because it's just breakdowns and aggression throughout most of it. If you do that, I think you're missing the point entirely. The point of this album is to be recorded hate. It's supposed to be, to me at least, the audio equivalent of pure aggression, rage, and hatred; nothing more, nothing less. For this reason, I can't in good faith, knock it. I think the problem is that people want it to be something it never intended to be in the first place. I had no doubts, months before the first promo track even dropped, that this album would be, what many people are calling, a Wormwood II. It's supposed to be though. Would I have loved another Continent? Yeah, it would have been awesome, but this album has a place and a purpose entirely with regards to the rest of their work. If you wanna bash it for not being technical or being a chug fest or having every song be about hate and aggression, you're missing the point. It'd be like bashing a Nissan GT-R because the seats don't massage. It was never meant to and I think, if listened to without expecting more than what The Acacia Strain ever was going to give you in the first place (and let's be honest, the band themselves knows very well that their music isn't about technicality, it's about pure rage and hate) than I think you'll have, overall, a more enjoyable experience, and at the very least, an understanding of the true intention of the record.
    BwareDWare94
    Intention doesn't nullify boring. That's the problem. I can get my hate and aggression from different sources with much more interesting instrumental arrangements.
    ironman316
    My problem is that I started listening to them when it was a different kind of hate. The Dead Walk was more of a personal hate against other people. It just seems like everything after that was more political, religious, and overall worldly hate, which to me, is a little annoying. And no they haven't ever been very technical, but they used to be a lot more, as well as more melodic, and I think that's what bothers me the most. They used to be everything that people are expecting, and when you look at it that way, that's why everyone is disappointed now. Everyone liked them because of who they were, and it's hard to grasp the new sound.
    camc1214
    Wormwood is way better than this. All the songs sound to bland and the same. This coming from a big time TAS fan.
    inkrakenwetrust
    They honestly should've taken a few steps in the opposite direction once Wormwood came out. That's just me. They sounded unique with 3750 up to Continent, yet now like a grain of sand on a beach. I like a few tracks but I kind of wish Acacia broke up after Continent.
    kewe2280
    the acacia strain will never be able to top their album- the dead walking- however in my opinion this newest album is the best they have put out sence!! they blew me away at their cd release tour at the palladium
    grizzzzly_adams
    I was there too. It was awesome, but not the best performance I've seen from them. Not trying to downplay the performance for what it was though. Tactical Nuke as an intro
    grizzzzly_adams
    I really like this band, I see them live whenever they are within driving distance and have met them. Really fun dudes who love what they do. This album is just sexy to me. I am really happy with the production of what DL did... I'm sure he may be getting some phone calls asking for a favor or two after this album haha!