2014’s ‘Coma Witch’ saw Massachusetts metalcore giants The Acacia Strain achieve more than anyone thought possible charting in the Billboard Top 40 in the US. Follow-up album ‘Gravebloom’ looks to continue that success in a style not usually synonymous with mainstream charts and audiences.
The approach seems to be “if it ain’t broken don’t fix it” and from the opening notes of ‘Worthless’, The Acacia Strain are as ferocious as they have ever been. Guttural, trademark vocals from Vincent Bennett and heavily de-tuned guitars create a menacing and dissonant sound. There has been no big reinvention or stepping outside of the box but instead songs like ‘Plague Doctor’ and recent single ‘Bitter Pill’ sit well within the realms of comfort for a band that has become the benchmark for metalcore. ‘Big Sleep’ is terrifying in the best way, with big chugged guitar lines punctuated with eerie lead lines playing with the concepts of conventional melody and key.
Although there are no wild surprises to be found here, that takes nothing away from ‘Gravebloom’. The song of the same name is utterly harrowing in a way guaranteed to incite circle pits wherever The Acacia Strain decide to lay waste to. ‘Model Citizen’ does offer something slightly more progressive with a more melodic feel and some clever rhythmic trickery in places. But, on the whole, right through to a send off in the shape of the ten minute epic ‘Cold Gloom’, this is an album designed to deliver everything that has pushed The Acacia Strain to the dizzy heights they are at.
Powerful, angry and full of attitude, ‘Gravebloom’ offers an insight into how The Acacia Strain have garnered such success. Clearly talented and immersed wholly in their art, those traits show throughout an album that will surely see The Acacia Strain continue to raise hell as their metalscore machine grows exponentially.
‘Gravebloom’ by The Acacia Strain is out now on Rise Records.
Words by Jay Harrison @Just_Jay_89)