Sunday 5 January 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: The Acacia Strain, "It Comes In Waves"

By: Chris Markwell

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 26/12/2019
Label: Closed Casket Activities

“It Comes In Waves” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). OUR
2). ONLY
3). SIN
4). WAS
6). THEM

The Review:

Longevity is a key factor to most things these days.  The ability to keep going, keep innovating, and keep enthusiastic about what you’re doing as the years drag on are difficult things to maintain, especially in this dark new millennium of ours. 

It’s heartening, then, to discover that US metalcore quintet The Acacia Strain are still with us.  Not only with us, but still creating music that shatters windows and brutalises your brickwork.  Nice to see that, even in these tumultuous times, some things remain the same.  

At the tail-end of 2019, Vincent Bennett and company released It Comes in Waves, through record label Closed Casket Activities.  This is their ninth album, following on from 2017’s “Gravebloom” (check it out as well, it’s great).  Unlike previous offerings, however, “It Comes in Waves” feels like the band casting off from the port of metalcore, and exploring the Seven Seas of Metal.  Intrigued?  You have every right to be.  

I’m by no means saying that The Acacia Strain have abandoned their roots: not at all, in fact.  What I am saying is that they’re taking their own style, and combining them with new elements, to create what feels like a concept album.  At seven songs and just about thirty minutes long, it’s designed to be listened as one piece of music; even the track names themselves spell out the sentence ‘Our Only Sin Was Giving Them Names’.  Your listening experience won’t be impeded if you just have one song on the go at a time – they all rip – but it’s better if you give “It Comes in Waves” the time it deserves to crash against your eardrums.  

After 19 years of the full-on, laser-guided metal attack that The Acacia Strain normally puts out, to have this piece of work created by them is not only surprising, but heartening.  It’s a piece that deals with the themes of deities, of quantifying the unquantifiable aspects of gods, and the overall belief that gods happily play games with the lives of humanity for their own twisted amusement.  

Throughout the album, elements of doom, death, and even prog metal are present in the metalcore mix.  The music created is that strange, invigorating blend of audio assault that makes you excited to find out what twists and turns your eardrums will be subjected to next.  If you’re expecting 2010’s “Wormwood” (like I was), prepare yourself for a shock.  A nice shock, at that.  

Invigorating and, dare I say it, innovative, “It Comes in Waves” is The Acacia Strain traversing new waters and finding fresh depths to not only their musical style, but also to their own creative abilities. 

“It Comes In Waves” is available HERE

Band info: facebook