The Acacia Strain

Wormwood

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

Well… Wormwood. Where to even start? It’s hard to put my thoughts into words after what a letdown this album is. The Acacia Strain may be the only breakdown-centric band that I enjoy (hell, I even own a physical copy of Continent), but what Wormwood has bestowed upon the world is something sub par.

I suppose the best way to start would be to list the things I do like. For one, the production is pretty good. The triggers are a little ‘bouncy’, but as a whole everything is much crisper and evokes the dread feeling they were going for. I also like Vincent’s more diaphragm-heavy vocals. His lyrics, while totally abysmal (“Time to suck today’s dick, I hope you choke on it”) and a complete step down from Continent, are clearer which leads to some memorable moments (“Bay of Pigs”). After that, well, there isn’t much else I like. There are so many problems here. I love djent, but going 8-string here grinds every last nerve of mine. The guitar is extremely downtuned and all the “jun jun jun” gets old when you pair it with the breakdown-to-breakdown song structure. Wormwood = a boring breakdownfest with too much djent. There you have it guys. Review is over. No need to go on.

…if only that was the case.

What Wormwood truly lacks is diversity. The great guitar undertones from Continent are too low in the mix and need to be more present. There is just way too much overpowering low-end sound that leads to songs meshing together. We call this bass-y approach heavy for the sake of being heavy. But I digress. If it weren’t for the addition of choruses, the songs here would be similar to the point of listening to the same song 12 times. There’s something wrong with that. Anyway, Wormwood needs speed as well. Sure, tracks like “The Hills Have Eyes” are upbeat, but there is something inherent about the album’s atmosphere that could turn 200 BPM into 20 BPM. It’s upbeat without actually being upbeat. A strange contrast that works by itself, but when you’re listening front-to-back you’ll find yourself praying for something a little more antsy. In other words, playing in half-time is some kind of patience test. And I failed miserably. The filler tracks are grating, the music is annoyingly repetitive and “The Impaler” has an outro that sounds like something off Meshuggah‘s obZen. Pro or con? You decide. Also, who the fuck decided Jamey Jasta was a good idea for a guest vocalist? As if “Beast” wasn’t the most generic, tepid breakdown-infested song ever, they shit things up even more with Hatebreed‘s vocalist who is totally out of place.

Speaking of awful songs, “Tactical Nuke” is one of the worst ever conceived. It starts off with marching-influenced drumming before busting out the slam breakdown crap. Repeat for 5 minutes. I really wish I was not joking. All “Tactical Nuke” is is a 5:34 breakdown. A complete exercise in tedium. The same breakdown that gets slower and slower. The idea for a breakdown finisher is fine if it was about 2 minutes long and didn’t slow down. In fact, I ENJOYED the first 2 minutes. Despite not liking the album, I could see its purpose as a finisher. An epic way to end the album. But, it isn’t. It progressively slows down until it’s the most unnecessary and completely FUCKING pointless song ever made. Think the last song off Emmure‘s Goodbye to the Gallows… Part 2. In fact, Wormwood is The Acacia Strain‘s equivalent of Emmure‘s past two releases.

Ultimately, Wormwood lacks a spark. It’s trying to be aggressive and heavy, but it fails to do either one. It sounds angry, it sounds fierce, but I don’t get the feeling it is. All I feel is a cop out. Seems like Wormwood was made solely for the purpose of having new live material and watching as all the br00tal kids gather around for some moshan’.

Listen to “Jonestown”, “The Hills Have Eyes” and “Bay of Pigs” and ignore the rest.

Wormwood is, without a doubt, one of the biggest disappointments of 2010.

The Acacia Strain – Wormwood gets…

2/5

-MK