Acacia Strain Continent

The Acacia Strain turned more than a few heads two years back with their pummelling third LP, The Dead Walk, a thoroughly breakdown-oriented offering that fused the down-tuned polyrhythmic slaughter of later Meshuggah with more traditional mosh metal influences. The standard setting production from Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutciewicz certainly didn’t hinder that album’s appeal either, although Zuess’s exceptionally flat, lifeless mix here likely will. The songwriting on Continent, however, retains much of what made the Acacia Strain so compelling in the first place: breakdowns and lots of ’em. Granted, there are substantially more leads and a more direct, metallic feel to the release — the group have lost much of the erratic, spontaneous sound of their prior efforts. The focus and uncompromised aggression are admirable but unfortunately are held back by the aforementioned streamlined song structures and production pitfalls. Regardless, Continent still wastes the majority of the rest of the genre without batting an eye, presenting an all-around solid band a few steps away from delivering a full-blown classic. Next time around, with improved recording (read: go back to Adam D.) and more memorable tracks that stand proudly on their own, the right balance could very well be struck. (Prosthetic)