It is no secret (well, amongst people I know, anyway) that The Acacia Strain is one of my favorite bands. If only for their 2008 album Continent, which is, in my humble opinion, a masterpiece and archetype of modern metal. Ever since then, TAS has gotten progressively slower in tempo and heavier in sound, through their albums Wormwood and Death Is The Only Mortal, and now we have their latest album Coma Witch (due for release October 14th on Rise Records).
The one thing that TAS is good at is creating imagery. From Vincent Bennett’s over-the-top dystopian and antisocial lyrics, to the seriously downtuned and dissonant guitar work, to the jackhammer rhythm section, they are quite possibly the audio equivalent to your worst nightmare. It took some time to refine their sound, but they have seemingly perfected it on Coma Witch. “Holy Walls Of The Vatican” is a prime example: unadulterated atheistic anger set to grinding drums and minor keyed power chords, which opens up an ending that has quite literally one of the heaviest breakdowns I have ever heard in my life. The rest of the album is just as doomy, from opener “Human Disaster”, to the closer “The Observer”, an almost half-hour long song full of apocalyptic sound bites and samples.
One of the reasons I am such a big fan of their album Continent is because of the production (Zeuss), which should be a benchmark for all new metal releases: the right mix, vocals up front but not overpowering, compressed just right, prominent low end and drums, and perfect clarity. Will Putney has done an admirable job as producer on Coma Witch, and this sounds as good as all the recent TAS releases have sounded.
If you like your metal as heavy and antisocial as possible, then this album is recommended for you. Many bands have jocked TAS ever since they came out with Continent, but no one can come as hard as they do. Coma Witch is the best album they have come out with since Wormwood, and is one of the top metal albums of the year.