Deathcore, Doom Metal, Powerviolence, Sludge Metal

The Acacia Strain – Step Into The Light / Failure Will Follow (Review)

Bands: The Acacia Strain
Release: Step Into The Light / Failure Will Follow
Genre: Deathcore/Sludge
Country: USA
Release Date:12th of May, 2023
Released viaRise Records
Cover ArtworkThe Acacia Strain

The Acacia Strain are an interesting band. Or at least became an interesting band. Known for being one of the originators of the early 2000’s metal- and deathcore scene, the Massachusetts mosh crew around charismatic frontman Vincent Bennet never really managed to branch out of their stylistic comfort zone untill the release of their 2019 release It Comes In Waves. On that release, the fun but ultimately lesser interesting non-stop downtempo mosh attacks were reduced to a bare minimum and traded for a more atmospheric and genre-binding songwriting that translated a bleak atmosphere and resulted in their best album. Just one year later, they followed that up with another highlight record in Slow Decay, whose unique release tactics (fans were able to purchase 5 single EP’s revealing the second half of the complete title subsequently) and broader songwriting influences helped the band gaining further attention.

Now with the surprise release of two separate albums on the same day, The Acacia Strain further cement their creative peak that sparked in recent years. These two records could be described as Yin and Yang, working as complete counterparts to each other. While Step Into The Light is a pure and short-lived ass beater, featuring 10 tracks that are clocking in at just 23 minutes, Failure Will Follow offers the Acacia Strains first doom metal album, providing 3 songs that all exceed the 10 minute mark. While Step Into The Light definitely offers enough anthems to start violent pits all around the world (especially “Chain“, “Sinkhole” and “Untended Graves“) with its more prominent hardcore and even Powerviolence influence, Failure Will Follow certainly is the sonically more interesting one.

Here, the band mainly utilizes slow build ups and subdued melodies that put a stark contrast to Vincents guttural outbursts and emphasize the heavy chugging guitars in a great way. Thanks to that the impact of the climaxes (the “Pillar of salt” outro is massive!) that have been integrated into these songs are way more satisfying. “Bog Walker” for instance carries a strong Black Sabbath vibe with its bended riffing and semi clean chorus vocals making the tune a definite highlight.

With this release, the OG’s of Deathcore have once again shown their strength in finding creative ways of moving forward as artists. Akin to frontman Vincent Bennetts transformation from pure nihilism to a more life loving and thoughtful person, the same can be said for his band. It’s not often that you can teach an old dog new tricks, but when you do and it actually works, the result is extremely rewarding. Such as the Acacia Strains newer releases.

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