When I first got my hands on the long awaited third full length from The Acacia Strain, I can say I was a little disappointed. My expectations had been raised very high by their previous effort “3750″, and after my first listen all I could really think of the album was that it just sounded like an overly brutal, generic metalcore album. Thankfully though I took more time to listen to this monster and try and find the charm in it. And after about 5 listens, I found it. While it’s not perfect, “The Dead Walk” presents exactly what TAS have always been known for making; Brutal, intense metalcore. It might take a few spins to catch on with you, but “The Dead Walk” will eventually reveal its strengths to your ears.
So if you happen to be unfamiliar with the band, you basically just need to know that The Acacia Strain is heavy. Very HEAVY. If brutally heavy music isn’t your bag, then you should stay as far away from “The Dead Walk” as you can. However if you loved the band on any of their previous efforts, this record should have no problem satisfying your needs for some heavy tunes.
A problem that plagued the last record (“3750″) was that it was so short. This has been fully addressed this time. “The Dead Walk” delivers 10 devastating tracks (and a short intro). After the eerie effects of “Sarin: The End”, “Burn Face” kicks in with its pulsating riffs and sludgy breakdowns, letting you know that right out the gate the band means business. Ditching the three guitar gimmick this time around (as their third guitarist departed the band shortly after the last record), The band is still just as heavy as one would imagine. And also still just as technical (not overly techical though). “4×4″ and “Predator; Never Prey”, two of the standout tracks, both have over the top rhythms, yet technical solos and riffs keenly placed throughout. The drums are constantly pounding away, and there is no shortage of double bass work found. Vincent’s voice is still just as intense, and his bellows perfectly compliment the abrasive atmosphere the band creates with their music. No melodic sections here though. Vincent keeps his raging screams up with the brutality of the music. And once again the band gets points in the lyrical department for being able to go outside the typical metalcore standard and deliver song topics that range from society to religion and humanity in general. While there’s a bit of repetitiveness in “The Dead Walk” (some tracks seem to blend together due to their heavy nature), there isn’t really anything that a fan of the band won’t like.
After giving “The Dead Walk” some repeated listens, I’m really starting to fall in love with its heaviness. If you’re looking for a brutal, but yet somewhat repetitive album, then this record should be the perfect fit for you. I’m glad the band addressed the problems that the last record had, and that they still haven’t lost one bit of their heavy sound. “The Dead Walk” is a find addition to any brutal-metalcore fan’s collection.
Highlights : “4×4″, “See You Next Tuesday”, “Predator; Never Prey”