Album Review: The Acacia Strain - It Comes In Waves

Artist: The Acacia Strain

Album: It Comes In Waves

Genre: Death Doom

Review by Steve Jenkins

Whenever The Acacia Strain release a new album there's always a lot of hype surrounding it. But this time around we didn't even get a chance to get excited about it, because it was a complete surprise and out of the blue. Boxing Day 2019 saw the metalcore titans drop something that the band had been working on for quite some time, a project that they felt needed to be heard in order to continue their progression as a band.

It Comes In Waves is the title of this creative venture and it definitely showcases TAS trying new things, but also with the familiarity we've come to know from previous albums. Rather than a breakdown heavy release, the band focus on atmosphere, death/doom metal, storytelling, and of course pure and utter disgusting heaviness. For longtime fans of The Acacia Strain, the occasional breakdown is still there, just not as prominent as past releases. The album opens with "Our" which straight off the bat is one of the strongest offerings on this release and a clear indicator of what direction they're going for here. The track is merciless with it's speed and heaviness but ends with a sludgy doom inspired final moment.

One of the highlights on this album is the drumming of Kevin Botout with his outstandingly fast rhythms and fills met with precision. Whilst the rest of the members perform just fine, vocalist Vincent Bennett tries out some raspier almost black metal highs that don't quite hit the nail on the head or sound as barbaric as intended. One other thing that sometimes gets a little distracting are the voice clips scattered throughout the album. I realise it's a concept piece and there's story here, but I did find myself not being a big fan of those small moments. In saying that, there are very few low points on this release and it's hard to find flaws which is actually pretty surprising considering the change up to their overall sound.

The band produced and engineered this all on their own and they did a phenomenal job, you can tell that they spent a lot of time getting it to sound just how they wanted it. It Come In Waves album is an extremely solid album from The Acacia Strain. They've even gone on record stating that this is just a taste of what's to come i 2020 when the release a proper full-length, to which I'm very eager to hear how that turns out. I like that they are experimenting and trying different things, I think it was very much needed and this really does suit them in terms of the death/doom metal and atmospheric style they've gone for.

Almost 20 years into their career The Acacia Strain continue to grow and release crushingly heavy material which is what they do best. Sometimes artists need to let out their creative frustrations and make something for themselves no matter what their audiences may think. I feel that one this occasion their fanbase, including myself, are really glad that they did decide to switch things up a bit with the end result coming out super solid. I don't know how memorable this album will end up being or if I'll go back to it regularly, but right now I'm really enjoying it I do think this is a step in the right direction and a very successful thirty minutes for the band.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

It Comes In Waves is out now via Closed Casket Activities.

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