Album Review: The Acacia’s Strain’s Gravebloom Doesn’t Fully Blossom

  • Phil Boozeman

When The Acacia Strain release an album, one thing you can be sure of is that the tone is going to be heavier than everyone’s proverbial mothers combined, and their newest effort, Gravebloom, is certainly no exception. While the new effort tops Death Is The Only Mortal, though, it’s far from their best work; the formula of low-and-slow hardcore/metal/doom has become a bit dull after four albums of non-stop chugging.

Simply put, it’s hard to get excited about music that you’ve been hearing for the past seven years since Wormwood was released. Gravebloom isn’t all bad, but there aren’t that many standouts other than “Worthless,” “Bitter Pill” and “Abyssal Depths.” It feels as if this isn’t an album written by The Acacia Strain, but rather the B-sides to Coma Witch that came off of The Acacia Strain assembly line.

That said, my biggest issue with Gravebloom isn’t the repetitive nature of the music: it’s with vocalist Vincent Bennett’s lyrics. Bennett’s lyrics are usually hit or miss with me, and this time around the rhyme scheme of every song is basically just AA/BB/CC/DD. Sure, a track or two like that might be fine, but stretching that pattern out over the course of a whole album makes the songs feel like they’re running together. Not in the smooth song transition way but in the long, grating kind of way. In addition, one might think that the similarities between Gravebloom and Coma Witch’s album artwork would mean some similar lyrical themes throughout, but if there are I didn’t pick up on them.

Although all of that seems negative, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the album is bad; it just isn’t great. The Acacia Strain took a major step forward with Coma Witch after Death Is The Only Mortal, but they haven’t kept the forward momentum going on Gravebloom. There just isn’t a whole lot here that will make you want to blast this instead of what you’re already listening to. Maybe it’ll grow on me, but for now it just leaves me wanting more.

Gravebloom drops June 30 via Rise Records. You can pre-order it here and listen to “Bitter Pill” below.

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