I have been given the grace of hearing a sampler from The Acacia Strain‘s Wormwood which contained 3 tracks: “Jonestown“, “The Hills Have Eyes” and “Terminated” all finalized and produced. Album versions, if you will. After hearing “Jonestown” off their MySpace a while back, I was impressed, so I had high expectations of the other two. What I did hear, though, shocked the hell out of me. The apocalyptic undertones of Continent are much more present here on both tracks, adding a truckload of sinister sounds that contribute to the already-demonic atmosphere. If that wasn’t enough, they seemed to have joined the recent trend of going with 8-stringed guitars. The low-end sound is amplified times a thousand because of this, adding layers upon layers of thickness that drives me nuts (in a good way). The Acacia Strain manage to somehow be fast (at times) yet maintain a slow, chugging tempo that feels like the end of the world is coming in slow motion. Vocalist Vincent Bennett only emphasizes this, with his throaty vox droning on over the slow passages. There is also some sexy punk-influenced drumming here and there, but it’s second-rate to how amazing of an atmosphere they seemed to have established. I despise the term brutal, but damnit that’s what it is. Just imagine dropping a slab of concrete on a puppy. Just imagine driving your car into an 18 wheeler at 100 MPH. Just imagine being punched in the face by Rambo. Actually, just imagine The Acacia Strain.

There are demos out there of “The Hills Have Eyes” and “Terminated“, but they do not do justice for these finalized versions. Seriously, if this is the mood of the whole album, I can see Wormwood being one behemoth of a release and easily becoming the best in their discography.

Wormwood. July 20th. Prosthetic Records. Fucking get it.

-MK

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