Review of Coma Witch by The Acacia Strain

The Acacia Strain - Coma Witch [Full-length]
October 14, 2014 - Rise Records
8
8

Rating

Overall, I'll give the album an 8/10.

Lyrics

We've all come to expect a certain level of brutality from TAS. With this album, however, I think we can all agree that they have outdone themselves, lyrically. The songs are dripping wet with existential nihilism, Anti-Christian views, and a general hatred for all existence.

It's the angry honesty of vocalist Vincent Bennett that has kept TAS fans coming back for more and while even I was borderline offended by some of the lyrics, I have to objectively say that this album definitely delivers in that respect.

Songwriting

The songs are a rich mix of high energy hardcore and droning doom metal. With the recent loss of guitarist DL, there's a noticeable difference in the writing style of the music, particularly the guitars. It's not better or worse, just different. If you've been listening to TAS for a while, I think it's pretty obvious. Nonetheless, the music maintains the heavy hitting quality that TAS has cultivated.

Production

I have to admit, I think the mix and overall sound of the album is what is most lacking to me. The guitar tone is just a little muddy compared to previous albums and doesn't quite cut through the mix as well. While the drums sound incredible, they sit a little loud in the mix, compared to everything else and the highs (particularly between cymbals and vocals) seem to fight each other a bit.

It's a very dark sounding album overall, which isn't necessarily bad. It's just what it is.

My Take

Personally, I feel like DL (formerly the only guitartist) had been on a journey to finding his guitar tone which is clearly illustrated if you listen to the last albums back to back, culminating with DITOM - almost like he had a tonal epiphany of sorts. Now that he's gone it seems like they're back to square one on that journey, which, as a listener, is kind of a bummer. But overall this is still the same Acacia Strain, never selling out, never changing for anyone, always brutal as hell.

Comments

Thanks man! I appreciate the response!

I totally agree - it's one of those situations where it's just different, not necessarily worse. I love this album (Pre-ordered it on vinyl. The artwork is beautiful) and actually the more I've listened to it, the more I've been appreciating the production.

I agree with all your points especially the part about the mixing.. something about the guitars just isn't the same Sad

The sludgy drone parts make up for it though... its a refreshing addition to their sound