Eight albums into their career, the Acacia Strain know where their strengths lie: tune low, play slow. On their latest album, Gravebloom, the Massachusetts deathcore crew pull together another gloomy, droned-out collection filled with loads of crushingly heavy breakdowns and brutal, gurgling vocals.
Opening track "Worthless" begins with all of the typical elements found on one of the deathcore originators' albums, from the ominous, atmospheric build-up to the enormous sounding guitars and drums to vocalist Vincent Bennett's harsh, guttural voice. This track is a no-frills beatdown of a song built on aggression, much like the rest of the album. The band savagely unleash non-stop, downtempo riffs that pummel away mercilessly, providing the perfect backing track to Bennett's grim lyricism.
The band pick up the pace on tracks such as the pinch harmonic-laden "Bitter Pill" or "Calloused Mouth," creating a much-needed contrast to their beatdown-centric sound. Although these faster moments are few and far between, the band's ability to craft new and interesting grooves keeps the album from turning dull.
Gravebloom is a strong album driven by ruthless and violent mosh-inducing breakdowns, which will suit their fanbase just fine. While this album isn't likely to draw in a lot of new listeners, it's a well-crafted record that provides a fresh soundtrack of ultra heavy, doom-based brutality. (Rise Records)