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The Acacia Strain - Gravebloom album review

Connecticut metalcore highrisers decide to hold the fort

Cover art for The Acacia Strain - Gravebloom album

The success of 2014’s Coma Witch was as surprising as it was enjoyable for The Acacia Strain. For a band who deal in guttural levels of sonic brutality to make a dent in the US Billboard Top 40 is some achievement. So you wouldn’t expect them to try any kind of grand reinvention on Gravebloom, and, to be fair, they don’t. What they do instead is what they’ve always done: write an album of fairly one-paced deathcore that is tuned so low it threatens to rumble the Earth’s crust. Sometimes, like on the fairly turgid Bitter Pill, it can grate if you’re looking for something challenging and revolutionary; on others, such as on the far more rhythmically interesting Model Citizen, the relentless march and power of The Acacia Strain’s music just feels so good it’s utterly seductive. As much as you might want to encourage them to stretch themselves, this is a band who know what they’re good at and are aware of their limitations.

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.