Review : THE ACACIA STRAIN – "Wormwood"

The Acacia Strain Wormwood
Release Date: 2010Jul20 (US)
Label: Prosthetic Records
Rating: 1.5/5

Empty emphatics, clichés, redundancy, and imitation:  the tools unashamedly employed by The Acacia Strain.  They are a band that instills anger for all the wrong reasons; catharsis for morons at best.  Now on their fifth album, the Massachusetts quartet(?*) opts for Meshuggah-miming to lull the listener into believing the band is capable of progression.

At least the relentless misogyny of old has taken a backset on this outing.  It gets masked behind real-life accounts of serial killers like “Ramirez” which, at 2:26, is the most efficient song on Wormwood.  I feel like they enjoy invoking artistic references like T.S. Eliot (previously with …And Life is Very Long, now with the lyrics “This is how the world ends / Not with a bang but with a whimper” on “Nightman”), but never raise above dilettante level.

They have matched the tone of Fredrick Thordendal and Marten Hagstrom, as guitarist D.L. dons eight-string guitars for the first time.  It is certainly a distinguishing feature of Wormwood, and one of its few redeeming factors.  Still, they stumble around in confused desperation track after track, trying to stitch tunes together, but are unable to create music that is truly memorable. And no, it is not enough to merely repeat lines over and over with an air of feigned brutality.  You want to hear something terrifyingly heavy, well written, and still named Wormwood?  Try the last Marduk album for comparison; plus there is nary an F-bomb in sight (while they litter the lyrics here).

Can anyone tell me how long until The Acacia Strain‘s contract runs out?  I know labels need to make dough, and this is the highest charting album of their career, but this string of mediocrity has to run out sometime… right?

FCC on ALL but 12

01. Beast
02. The Hills Have Eyes
03. BTM FDR
04. Ramirez
05. Terminated
06. Nightman
07. The Impaler
08. Jonestown
09. Bay Of Pigs
10. The Carpathian
11. Unabomber
12. Tactical Nuke

*founding guitarist “DL” has since left TAS, who currently have two touring guitarists at the time of this review

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