Review: “It Comes In Waves” by The Acacia Strain

Tracked and produced by The Acacia Strain in the Spring of 2019, Mixed and Mastered by Will Putney’s co-conspiritor Steve Seid of Graphic Nature Audio and with cover artwork by MFAXII, The Acacia Strain have surprise released a new album entitled “It Comes In Waves” via Closed Casket Activities. Vocalist Vincent Bennett, drummer Kevin Boutot, guitarist Devin Shidaker, bassist Griffin Landa and guitarist Tom Smith have been delivering Deathcore from Massachusetts since 2001. So what does their 2019 offering have to give us?

The song titles provide the sentence “Our Only Sin Was Giving Them Names” suggesting the album has a theme or concept. After the eerie Post-Metal opening of “Our” which features additional vocals from Kyle Rodrigues, you can sense something is coming. And when it hits, it hits hard and heavy. Bennett roars “Cover your face and smile” during a verse of pulverising Deathcore that lights the Molotov cocktail mid riot before it fades back to the eerie atmospheric Post-Metal programming. It’s a blindsiding moment that is a wake up call. “Only” takes a more traditional approach with hints of the kind material that Fit For An Autopsy have been producing of late and when the cut drops off for a gang chant moment accompanied by some Post-Hardcore atmospherics, it will no doubt be an epic call and response in the live arena. “Sin” continues the haunting eerie vibes with its introduction before bursting into a powerhouse onslaught of riffs and Bennett providing the lyric of the album theme “Our Only Sin Was Giving Them Names” suggesting that this cut is the title track. A spoken word sample as the clock strikes midnight plays tricks on the mind.

Stepping into “Was” continues the sample element with speech about windows into other dimensions becoming door ways through which Evil can pass. Flowing between the Post-Metal darkness and brutal Deathcore crush, it’s menacing creepy overtones are masterfully crafted. This cut features the album title “It Comes In Waves” in its lyrics so perhaps this too could be considered the title track and finest moment in the eyes of the band. “Giving” builds from a riff surrounded by programmed white noise before coming to life with a huge drum sound from Boutot. The hills have eyes and they are staring at us, but we’re too blind to see it. “Whatever walks there, walks alone” is the dark chorus of the slow brutal crushing unclean vocals. The Acacia Strain have created a brutal and captivating album of which this is one of the stand out moments in a swirling black cloud of darkness. “Them” steps up the energy with a groove laiden Deathcore cut that drives the steak into the heart of the vampire. It chugs and lurches as Bennett reaches some of his most Demonic tones on the album while we spiral towards the void.

At nearly 9 minutes, the final cut “Names” makes up nearly a third of the albums run time and given the nature of the album and the length of the track, something of gargantuan proportions of epicness, the epicenter of the black hole if you will, is what The Acacia Strain have created. A beast of a cut switches styles at the drop of a hat with seamless flow. One moment Post-Metal, the next Bennett touching the void to Slam vocals, riffs shifting like a snake in desert sands from Deathcore to Post-Death Metal with a slow crush. A spoken word bridge to the final verse is simply incredible. We’re left wondering why if this was recorded in Spring, we’ve had to wait perhaps 9 months for it to see the light of day. It’s brilliantly bleak because in space, no one can hear you scream [8/10]

Track listing

  1. Our (ft. Kyle Rodrigues)
  2. Only
  3. Sin
  4. Was
  5. Giving
  6. Them
  7. Names

It Comes In Waves” by The Acacia Strain is out now via Closed Casket Activities and available over at bandcamp

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