Following The Acacia Strain and their brutal & bombastic style of deathcore over the course of their short career, I began to listen to opening track "Beast" on their lastest CD Wormwood and was wondering if I was listening to the same band. Slow, heavy, and sludge ridden, "Beast" is somewhat of a departure from the normal fast & furious onslaught that we've come to expect from these guys. The textured and quite melodic "The Hills Have Eyes" also sees the band lighten up on the brutality, and you have to wonder, what's going on here? Sure, lead growler Vincent Bennett is just as devastating as ever, but the rest of the band so far sounds a tad restrained.
Fret not extreme metal fans, as The Acacia Strain bounce back with plenty of ferocity on "BTM FDR", complete with crushing breakdowns and lethal bellows from Bennett. Other examples of brutality include "Ramirez", the churning, massive sounds of "The Impaler", and the devastatingly heavy, yet almost symphonic "Bay of Pigs". There's even the experimental yet groove laden instrumental "Tactical Nuke", an interesting piece that almost sounds like Meshuggah on quaaludes.
Overall, there's plenty to like here, though whether the band has topped some of their more recent neck-breakers like The Dead Walk and Continent is up for debate. Wormwood should fit the bill if you are in the mood for some hate filled hardcore infused death metal.
02. The Hills Have Eyes
03. BTM FDR
07. The Impaler
09. Bay of Pigs
10. The Carpathian
12. Tactical Nuke