Artist: The Acacia Strain
Album: Death Is The Only Mortal
Label: Rise Records
The Acacia Strain is a hard band to review. One of their mottos is “Hype Free”, so it almost feels like I am going against their wishes to review their new album. I’ve been listening to this band for nearly a decade now, and it is not a stretch to call them one of the heaviest bands in the metal scene. Every new album they release takes low to a new level, and leaves no survivors. Death Is The Only Mortal is no exception.
Stylistically Death Is The Only Mortal is the most mature and cohesive effort the band has produced. It takes elements from everything they have created in the past and fuses them together into the most heavy album they have released. It feels like pieces of every album have been stitched together to form an entirely new kind of monster that is completely unstoppable. The guitar parts are full of string bends and more “chug chug chug” than a college party, and the thunderous drums pound out at a perfect pace. In addition to that, there are new things that have not been heard from The Acacia Strain. This time around D.L. (their guitarist) has vocal tracks, which adds a new element of depth to the vocal assault. Vincent’s death growls are still the most prominent thing on the album, but D.L.’s higher, more raspy screams really add balance and help to break up the songs in to more defined elements.
Death Is The Only Mortal marks another first in The Acacia Strain’s career. The album was produced and engineered completely in house by D.L., the band’s guitarist. D.L. recorded the band’s demos in the past, but this is the first time he has taken full responsibility of their brutal sound, and he was right on the money. The 8-stringed guitars are gut-wrenchingly low without sounding muddy or getting lost in the thundering drum track. Vincent’s vocals stand out perfectly, rising above everything else but not so much that they take over. D.L. nailed their sound, which is even more impressive when you consider The Acacia Strain’s last two albums were produced at Planet Z Studio by Zeus. This proves that you do not always need the best in the business to sound amazing, you just need the right people with the right motivation.
The topics covered on this record include murder, cannibalism, nihilism, and existential crisis. It is the perfect thing to listen to when you are having a bad day and need to let out all that extra aggression, or just want to hear something heavier than a dying star. The songs “The Mouth Of The River” and “Time And Death And God” take you on a journey to the darkest recesses of the human psyche while tracks like “Victims Of The Cave” explore what it is like to exist in a place where existence is useless and full of suffering. The lyrics on Death Is The Only Mortal can be thought provoking at times, which adds to the overall intensity of the album.
Listening to Death Is The Only Mortal is like dragging a corpse through a swamp at night. Slow, deliberate, and full of pure hatred, this album is exactly what I have come to love from The Acacia Strain. If you consider yourself a fan of metal, you need this album. Nothing else approaches this level of brutality. This record has taken an already epic band and raised them to new heights.
Written By: Justin Proper