The Acacia Strain

Death is the Only Mortal

01. Doomblade
02. Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow
03. Go To Sleep
04. Brain Death
05. The Mouth of the River
06. Dust and the Helix
07. Victims of the Cave
08. Time and Death and God
09. The Chambered Nautilus
10.  House of Abandon

[Rise Records]

There are always going to be records so unbelievably heavy that being still whilst listening doesn’t seem like an option. Every new riff introduced sends chills up your spine, every lyric is a call to scream along at the top of your lungs, and every single moment of the album from start to finish is an adrenaline rush that beckons some form of violence. If these records were cans of gasoline in an arsonist’s garage, The Acacia Strain’s Death is the Only Mortal is the Enola Gay’s atomic bomb.

Stylistically, it seems like Death is the Only Mortal went out in the backyard with a shot gun, killed Continent and Wormwood, and then stitched together all the good parts in a ”Dr. Acacia Strain’s Monster”-type ordeal. There’s plenty of riffing going on for those who hated the more simplistic, rhythmic approach of Wormwood, but not without its fair share of chugs and breakdowns. Where Death is the Only Mortal differs from the multitudes of dime-a-dozen metal bands that attempt that formula is in the sheer variety of the writing. Look to start off with a homicidal head-charge and end with a sludgy, 300-pound body bag? ‘Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow’ is the way to go. What about some badass guitar leads over a mid-paced skull crusher? ‘Brain Death’ is right over there, sir. Oh! What about something reminiscent of breaking every single bone in someone’s body and just sitting there as the lights finally go out? ‘House of Abandon’ might sate that appetite.

While Vincent Bennett’s vocals have always been more than enough to get the point across, guitarist D.L. contributes the added layer of screaming-bloody-murder highs to Death is the Only Mortal that take it to a whole new level. This is also the first release from The Acacia Strain that was all D.I.Y., courtesy of D.L.’s home studio, and damn does the production do this colossus justice. All the instruments have their own seat in the mix and bring their own bombastic voice to the chorus of violence. Despite being tuned to subterranean depths, the guitars mesh well with Jack Strong’s bass to create their own swirling abyss of distorted strings that almost seems to play out as one instrument. Then there’s the drum mix, which does Kevin Boutot’s kit some serious justice in sounding just as huge as it should.

Death is the Only Mortal seems to take a step back from its quicker predecessors and takes its time in getting where it needs to go with some fairly trudging qualities. As you can imagine, that takes it to a whole new level of heavy. This isn’t one of those “genre-exclusive” records that’s subjectively good to a handful of fans and tepid garbage to everyone else. The Acacia Strain accomplished an immensely heavy record that never resorts to filler or repeating itself that deserves all the praise and recognition it gets. Praise aside, don’t take the record too lightly — it’s still slow moving mass of nihilism, blank stares, shallow graves, broken bones, shattered homes, and inconsolable grieving.

Death is the Only Mortal will fuck you up.

The Acacia Strain – Death is the Only Mortal gets…


– GK

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