The Acacia Strain's over 15 year tenure as a band has been a roller-coaster tale of lineup changes and brutality. There's even a sense that the chaos of member changes has helped keep the band ticking over - rarely having the opportunity to settle on a lineup for too long. The blueprint for TAS' sound was seemingly found long ago, and with vocalist Vincent Bennett the only surviving original member - this won't be changing any time soon.
New record Gravebloom is a slogging kick to the jaw from start to finish, with a sound that falls within the slow, beat-down tone of Malevolence and the tearing vocal presence of Thy Art Is Murder, Gravebloom is a record that is very much set out for fans who like their metal as pounding as possible.
The album doesn't have room for much diversity and has even less room for rest-bite with every track being a none stop, heads to the wall assault of deathcore. The lack of fluctuation in style though works for the sound of the record, and by this point; fans of TAS should be going in fully aware of what to expect - and that's a good ol' bruising.
The slowing tone of tracks like 'Worthless' and 'Big Sleep' are an avalanche of downtuned riffs and demonic vocals while the elements of pace in 'Abyssal Depths' and 'Modern Citizen' add a sprinkle of extra headbang to a record that does absolutely nothing to mask its sheer violent nature.
While the record is somewhat of an A to B exploration of deathcore - it's done well, and with finesse. Things rarely get sloppy on Gravebloom, and if The Acacia Strain can be considered part of the veteran squad of extreme metal these days, this album speaks of their worth to the genre.
Gravebloom doesn't break new ground, open new doors, or experiment beyond its growth - yet it's a solid, compact extreme metal record which does exactly what it says on the tin. Fans of the band are unlikely to be let down here, and the record should give extra legs to a band that have been running hard for over a decade.
Check out our interview with bassist Griffin Landa here: http://www.noizze.co.uk/single-post/2017/06/27/Interview-with-Griffin-Landa---The-Acacia-Strain
Review by Kristian Pugh