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(16 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • When I downloaded the track “Smoke Ya Later”, by The Acacia Strain, I remember thinking about how awesome this one track sounded and how I wanted to find the CD to hear the rest. Well, I found it and I wasn’t at all impressed by this band.

    First, the guitars are very overpowering and eliminates the necessity for what is going on behind them (the drums and the bass guitar). I already know that this band has three guitarists, but if you are going to have three create a new talent and write some three part harmonies or something. Make use of a new element that you added and force others to step up. Instead, they have all three guitars play the same rhythm parts and kill the music. At times, one of the guitarists will add in some high pitched screeches with the strings to try and sound good, but it just doesn’t stack up. I would hope that, if they ever make another CD, The Acacia Strain would take something like that into consideration.

    Second, the sound is rather mediocre. The Acacia Strain sounds like every other middle of the road metalcore act, excessive heaviness across an entire CD with little to no variation in the way things are done. The distortion of their guitars and vocals just muddles things up even worse. If anything, this band was lucky this CD was allowed to go out the door with as poor an effort at recording as it was.

    A little advice to The Acacia Strain, put that third guitar to some better use. You have a unique element sitting there wasting away that could make you a stand out act. Start writing three part harmonies that will set you apart from the rest and make people take notice. Heck, if you have the ability toss in some nifty solos between the three axe grinders and really start some trouble. I think it would be worth your while.

    If you are a fan of common metalcore sound and fury, then by all means purchase this CD. I have heard many metalcore bands that are better and, for fans of all metal in general, I cannot in good conscience reccommend this CD. Instead, go after Winter Solstice’s “The Fall of Rome” or some Killswitch Engage, Darkest Hour, or The Agony Scene.

    Posted on December 31, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Ok so this cd has seen some controversial reviews thus far on this page. Far fans of pure “metal” ala Pantera and the like and especially those who hate the hardcore/metalcore scene and its trademarks, The Acacia Strain is probably not the band for you. Yes they don’t reinvent the metalcore wheel, but that doesn’t mean this cd is a write-off. In fact “3750″ is one of the most addicting and satisfying cds I picked up in 2004. Basically those who are comparing this band to anything like Korn, Bleeding Through, KSE or Everytime I Die are pretty far off base. However there’s still many things that The Acacia Strain gets right on this cd. And when they get it right, boy does it work.

    J. Doe has pretty much nailed their sound on the head. Basically TAS does sound like a heavier version of Cannae or Innovocation of Nehek. This isn’t that surprising since all three bands are on the same label (Prosthetic Records), and all share the same producer (Adam D. or Killswitch Engage). Yes, too big of a deal has been made about this band having three guitarists (probably the reason their third guitarist is no longer with them) but that has little to do with the quality of the music. For what it’s worth, “3750″ is a crushing slab of metalcore that will bombard you with the heaviest breakdowns and vocals you’ve probably heard in while. Listen to “Sunpoison And Skin Cancer” or the blistering “Brown Noise” and try not moving with the punishing rhythms. While the guitarists aren’t turning out amazingly complicated riffs, they do a nice job hitting the heavy notes and making music that has a lot of rhythm to it, particularly on “Smoke Ya Later” and “Passing The Pencil Test”. As far as the drumming being slow and boring, I don’t really know where that came from. Unless the previous reviewer was talking about the drum patterns during the breakdowns (which are designed to be slow) I don’t see how someone could arrive at that conclusion. And as for the vocals, they’re typical of the metalcore genre. Vincent doesn’t try to do too much, as he mostly concentrates on keeping his vocals as intense as the music. If you’re looking for singers who “carry tunes”, sing melodically or something of that nature, you probably aren’t going to get into TAS to begin with. His lyrics however are particularly thought provoking and inventive, when so much of the hardcore scene is concentrated on love and other crap. It’s nice to hear someone with some political and religious views whose not afraid to talk about it.

    The only downside to “3750″ (and unfortunately it’s a fairly big one) is that it is entirely too short. In fact if you take away the two interludes (“Extreme Wrath of the Jhiaxus” and “Halcyon”) and the short introduction track (“Carbomb” which isn’t really a song anyway, just a big breakdown) then what you’re left with is six new songs, or more or less a new EP. If they would have just dropped those three and marketed this as an EP, it would have worked a lot better. However since this is made out to be a full length, somehow I can’t help but feel short changed. Granted it’s not that expensive, and the band as well as their label could use the support (preferably the band, so buy the record from them at a show), it still just feels like they were trying to get a record out and maybe it wasn’t completely done.

    “3750″ isn’t going to change your mind about metalcore if you already hate it. It’s also not going to bring you anything amazingly new as far as the genre is concerned. However what it will give you is 29 minutes of solid listening, especially if you love metal in the vein of Cannae or Innovocation of Nehek. Despite what some have said, The Acacia Strain is not a band that should be written off easily. Yea they aren’t your typical Pantera metal or whatever (please stop this comparison, it isn’t even remotely close), but they know how to play heavy music, and that’s all that really counts. The guitars shred, the vocals are heavy, and the lyrics are better than most of the trendy metal/hardcore bands right now who are writing emo heartbreakers. While it is short, “3750″ definitely merits a listen. People shouldn’t get stuck on some typical view of metal, and should try to give other forms of heavy music the respect they deserve. This is the record to do that with.

    Posted on December 31, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Ever heard one of those idiot kids blaring something way too bassy in their japanese sedans? Yeah, that was probably me. My bad, sorry budz and dawgz. This CD is too much for words. Well, one of these words is ’short’ which comes after ‘too’ but oh well. It’s very creative and very original, the lyrics can get you all depressed, but they do have a certain comedic quality to them thats pure gold if your sense of humor is dark enough (for the crowd who loves evil dead and the like i’m sure they would enjoy this). I attribute listening to TAS like watching one of those horror movies that’s got parts that are genuinely creepy but is overall kind of funny and dark and ultimately new and enjoyable no matter how many times you see it. I think that about sums it up. DO NOT BUY THE OTHER BAND WHO SOUNDS SIMILAR (see any forum or angry youtube post about this) because they have taken parts from their songs and changed them slightly to sound slightly different, and they just aren’t as good. Get a subwoofer, crank this album, forget all of life’s problems for about 30 minutes, then play it again and listen to the subtext. This is poison (that was lame). One of the best albums i own (and i own too many).

    Posted on December 31, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • normally i don’t review albums…i just make lists and whatnot…but i was reading the reviews for this cd…and i had to say something. not a single person i’ve read a review from so far has said anything remotely accurate in describing this cd at all!! for starters…the one guy says they sound like korn…your first cues as to not taking him seriously is that he cites watching battle for ozzfest…a/k/a you are a poser who thinks Lamb of God and KsE are the greatest bands of all time and you need to go be trendy and wear makeup. second…there’s another comment about the screamer not being able to carry a tune…then he says that the band isn’t as good as lamb of god or burnt by the sun…neither one of those bands have screamers that sing or carry tunes and in fact, 90% of the time randy blythe is the biggest complaint ABOUT LoG…so think about what you say before you try to sound like you know what you’re talking about…the positive review i read compared this to blood has been shed and bleeding through…this is also a joke.

    Now, for someone who actually knows something about metal and hardcore to review this cd…

    as far as style goes…typical metal CT sound…a lot like Invocation of Nehek and Cannae…in fact…almost EXACTLY like a lower tuned version of Cannae…even on the same label…so if you’ve heard Cannae’s album Horror…i think it’s called…you’ve basically already heard this cd. The best songs on the cd are without question track 9 (Sun Poison And Skin Cancer) and track 3 (Smoke Ya Later). The first real song on the cd, track 2 (Brown Noise) is good too. All in all, this cd is nowhere near as good as their first release, which was actually original and a very worthwhile listen. It’s called …And Life Is Very Long (not And Life Is So Long, like the person below said). It’s not for sale on Amazon, but it’s available through Devilshead Records and you can buy copies on and, I highly recommend getting that cd. And you never know, you might actually like this one. It doesn’t blow you away…but it’s not terrible either. Produced by Adam Dutkiewicz of KsE (who also, ironically, produced Cannae’s new cd…which, as I said…sounds exactly like this one…Adam D. has a habit of making every metalcore cd he produces sound exactly the same…including KsE’s…which is why they suck now.) So get their first cd…if you want to…get this too. But don’t read the other reviews of this cd…because the people who wrote them were wearing football helmets and playing with their toes when they listened to this cd…if you catch what I mean.

    Posted on December 31, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Ok, not bashing don or anything, but TECHNICALLY The Acacia Strain origonated from Springfield, Massachusetts, but it’s close enough to CT. My friends brother has played in a band with every member of the current band except the third guitarist, but dang, these guys are really something in concert. They’re like, a kid with ADHD high on pixy stix and caffine pills. And their first album … And Life Is Very Long blows this one out of the water, it captures their sound much better.

    The three guitarists is probably one of the most innovative and unseen setups nowadays. And to whoever was saying their guitar is too loud and it drowns out the drum and what not, go to one of their concerts, cause it really doesn’t. But, sadly, their third guitarist quit recently, so they’re back to two.

    Sun Posion and Skin Cancer is definatelly one of the best track on the CD. The begining is just beastly. The slide is just hinting at whats to come, then it breaks into a long series of complex guitar playing.

    I like halcyon because i think it’s nice to have a break from thrashing about, yet still have it be a good song.

    Drawn and quartered is one of their more technical songs. The guitar is really cool, fast, and it’s constantly changing rythym. The whole song has odd beats and starts and ends, this song is a great song on the technical side.

    Posted on December 31, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now