Sunday 30 December 2012

The Acacia Strain - Death Is The Only Mortal

The Acacia Strain shouldn't need any introductions now. They came along when the US metalcore scene was becoming over saturated and tore it a new one. They released some huge albums and gained massive momentum, before being snapped up by Rise Records after leaving their previous label, Prosthetic and Death Is The Only Mortal was their Rise debut, released in October.


2.Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow
3.Go To Sleep 
4. Brain Death
5. The Mouth of The River
6. Dust and The Helix
7. Victims of The Cave 
8. Time and Death and God
9. The Chambered Nautilus
10. House of Abandon

Opener Doomblade begins with a well-known sample before The Acacia Strain tear into the opening verse. The lead guitar adds melody to the thick, breakdown filled low-end. The vocals are suitably low as well, but sit at the top of the mix. Doomblade is more mid-paced than I expected, but the band hasn’t scrimped on the heaviness at all. Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow sees TAS explore more thrash metal elements, as well as some unique off-kilter textures. The use of electronic programming is also present in small amounts on the record, but unlike many other modern US metal bands, its not as prominent so doesn't detract from the music or the brutality that TAS spew forth.

There is definitely a djent influence creeping into their music, which is no bad thing. The riffs at the start of Go To Sleep are a good example of that. There also seems
to be a subtle hint of sludge too, which shows that TAS are not just a one-genre band. The production is clean and the song structures are good. TAS doesn’t overplay things and like to keep  to the same formula in the first half of the album. One thing they do really well, is the brutal breakdowns that are placed in songs. They don't overuse these and tend to place them alongside other elements, like vocal or drums refrains etc, to vary their sound. The melodic, introspective guitar during Brain Death does a good job of breaking up the song's obvious brutality. You get broad sided by some awesome twin guitar melodies too, that remind you that at the end of the day, these guys embody what heavy metal is about!

As TAS move into the second half of Death Is The Only Mortal, they sound well and truly bedded in and start to vary things. Dust And The Helix sounds more urgent than previous songs, with a real heavy undercurrent to it. Victims of The Cave sees them heading back into sludgier, more mid-paced territory. The sinister keyboard effects add intrigue and the crushing underbelly of the song provides you with ample opportunity to headbang your head clean off you neck! They hit a real thrashy groove as the song closes out, which really hits the spot.

As TAS settles into their final three songs, it becomes apparent that this is not just another metal album and that they are not just another metal band. The off-kilter sound of Time and Death and God brings modern flair to their sound, while the quieter more introspective passages build atmosphere. There's a stop-start aesthetic to The Chambered Nautilus, which is tempered by some brilliant melodic guitar leads. House of Abandon is one of the heaviest songs on the record, no further description needed really!

So forget what you though you knew about The Acacia Strain or your pre-formed opinions, these guys are huge in sound and personality. Their music may be more modern than I normally feature on these pages, but as a band that deserves recognition for bringing metal to new, younger audiences, they are worth the price of admission. Death Is The Only Mortal is a brutal album, full of different musical elements and should usher in a new, stronger future for both The Acacia Strain and Rise Records.

TAS have three tracks available for streaming on Soundcloud at

Rise Records has both CD and vinyl variants of Death Is The Only Mortal for sale in their store at

You can keep up to date the The Acacia Strain at both and at

No comments:

Post a Comment