ALBUM REVIEW – The Acacia Strain – Slow Decay – Rise Records

The Acacia Strain is back with a new album, Slow Decay (Rise Records), are as pissed as ever despite their last LP being released (checks notes) just last Winter? If memory serves, It Comes in Waves dropped rather surprisingly at the end of December. Okay then, on to Slow Decay. Hold up, most of these songs have already been released in the form of singles throughout the year.

I’m not exactly sure of the strategy at play here with ten songs being available already for streaming or purchase, but it seems like other bands are perhaps following suit. Good Tiger has already unveiled eight singles off their upcoming full length, Raised in A Doomsday Cult, which should be available in early August. What I have learned from Slow Decay is that it continues the momentum and skull-crushing aesthetic of It Comes in Waves.

That album may have had a bit of a shock revealing and didn’t put up the biggest streaming numbers, but it had these Bay Staters sounding as vital and aggressive as they did on Wormwood or The Dead Walk. Wisely, The Acacia Strain keeps adding interesting new layers to their sound by investing heavily into suffocating Death Metal on ‘Feed a Pigeon, Breed a Rat’ and the cascading double kicks featured prominently on ‘Seeing God.’ But acting as an equally brutal contrast to the death is the dollops of Doom and Sludge that are spread equally on punishers ‘Solace and Serenity’ and ‘One Thousand Painful Stings’ which also feature creepy clean vocals from Spiritbox and former iwrestledabearonce singer Courtney LaPlante.

And it’s in small moments like LaPlante’s cameo or the tasteful acoustic guitars at the center of ‘Birds of Paradise, Birds of Prey’ that help put Slow Decay over as one of The Acacia Strain’s more complete efforts. But I would hate to conclude this review and not talk about the tech-guitar madness that dominates ‘Chhinnamasta.’ Think of prime Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza colliding head-on with New England Hardcore.

Unconventional release strategies aside, I’m genuinely curious if Acacia Strain is sitting on more of this good shit and when can the public expect it.

8/10

HANS LOPEZ