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The Acacia Strain - Step Into The Light review

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Band: The Acacia Strain
Album: Step Into The Light
Release date: May 2023

01. Flourishing
02. Calf’s Blood
03. Chain [feat. Jacob Lilly]
04. Fresh Bones
05. Teeth Of The Cursed Dog
06. Open Wound
07. Sinkhole [feat. Josef Alfonso]
08. Is This Really Happening?
09. Untended Graves
10. None Of Us Asked To Be Here

The Acacia Strain can thrive in faster songs.

The more core-ish sides of metal can often be a pretty difficult to navigate scene, especially with some of it only getting warmer reception from metalheads in retrospect. The Acacia Strain especially have been a deathcore band whose first couple of albums I'm still not very interested in, even though I respect them for having been at it for more than two decades. It's only around 2014's Coma Witch, an album that already followed two pretty good ones that saw the band dipping their toes more into sludge metal, that the band really pushed forward with the nearly half hour closer "The Observer". A couple of albums later, they finally really cemented their spot on my radar with the nearly EP-ish It Comes In Waves, one that I had to cover for how ambitious it was for pushing further into atmospheric sludge and post-metal. I wasn't that impressed with the follow-up comparatively, but now the band pulled a move by releasing two twin albums. I'm into that.

Step Into The Light is sort of the more straight-forward of the two, seeming more in line with the band's brand of deathcore. So you'll find plenty of chugs, gurgly core vocals, breakdowns, and pit worthy riffs, which is something one would come to expect from an album of this type. Even though it's the more hardcore-oriented of the two, the sound here is still very influences by sludge metal in its own nuance of bass-heavy crushing atmosphere, and even though I opened this review by mentioning how this emphasizes the faster tempos, a lot of it relies on slower tempos in the breakdowns, a lot of which taking a cue from the band's atmo sludge and post-metal touches, though not to the same length as the band's most recent material.

What seems to be a more concise direction is that the album is a lot more direct and less interested in patiently constructing a mood. Any atmospheric leanings are done purely through the heaviness of the overall sound, but the songwriting has a sense of urgency that feels renewed for The Acacia Strain, complete with some of the faster paces moments feeling the closest that the band has gone to grindcore / powerviolence in more than a decade. Which makes sense considering the album is even more EP-lengthed (I know that's not an actual word) at barely over 20 minutes of runtime. More distilled, and letting its hardcore focus also shine in the two guest spots (including Sunami's Josef Alfonso), Step Into The Light is a pretty good bite-sized taste of what The Acacia Strain is capable of.

But then again, The Acacia Strain can thrive in slower songs.

Written on 27.05.2023 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 58 users
28.05.2023 - 07:44
SoUnDs LiKe PoP

I'll give these guys one thing: their album art and titles are usually cool.

The music, unfortunately...
I lift weights and listen to metal
28.05.2023 - 18:14
A Real Mönkey

Written by SoUnDs LiKe PoP on 28.05.2023 at 07:44

The music, unfortunately...

…is equally as cool so I don’t know what you’re talking about.
"Change the world. My final message. Goodbye."

~Last words of Harambe, seconds before he was shot, according to child he shielded from gunfire

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