The Acacia Strain have morphed into non-stop material-churning juggernauts of late. Less than six months after It Comes In Waves ripped through the topic of manipulative deities and their impact on the human race, their 10th effort, Slow Decay, elaborates in their typical brutal fashion. Released as a collection of six seven-inches each named with letters that spell out ‘DECAY’, The Acacia Strain’s 2020 output tackles the omnipresent through the eyes of humanity itself, witnessing its failures in handling its earthbound problems, not least being death and our impending descent into Hell. As inescapable as the subject matter may be, confronting mortality brings out the contagious side of the Massachusetts deathcore outfit, littered with guest spots that take their trademark chaos to new depths.
The first half of Slow Decay plays out as a battering onslaught, leaving an uneasy feeling through Crippling Poison’s lethal groove and the unrelenting The Lucid Dream, somewhat softened by an ethereal guest spot from Mortality Rate’s Jess Nyx. However, once the quick-fire Crossgates closes, the chaos steps aside in place of swirling melodics and immersive cinematics, with Vincent Bennett’s vocals taking on a truly menacing tone while he plays off tight thrash riffs. Chhinnamasta’s blistering pace and the enveloping One Thousand Painful Stings completely steal the show, weaving atmospheric darkness through their signature chugging deathcore sound.
The prolific Chicopee-based five-piece have somehow landed on exactly the right time to drop an unnervingly visceral album cataloguing man’s ultimate weaknesses, just as the world battles a pandemic laying all those failures bare. Whoever conjured the ‘quality over quantity’ mantra never expected the boundless energy of The Acacia Strain that can produce such a tight, mature and timely record in such a short space of time, proving the future of music isn’t as uncertain as it feels right now.