MESHUGGAH. That’s what this CD is all about. Let me get it out in the open right now- if you don’t like MESHUGGAH and subsequently resent all the clone bands flying high the flag of polyrhythmic metal, turn back now. If you are indeed such a person, THE ACACIA STRAIN’s brand of blatant and I mean absolutely blatant MESHUGGAH worship is going to make you ill. As it stands, I’m in somewhat of a limbo when it comes to bands that adopt this sound. Some of them I can tolerate, yet some of them I absolutely hate (A LIFE ONCE LOST). It could be said that one of the things that pisses me off about this genre is the repetition that is inherent within the style. Lets face it; when MESHUGGAH pioneered the sound they dug themselves into an insurmountable hole. The whole ‘off-time polyrhythmic guitar’ riff can only be utilised in so many different varieties before it becomes irritating and they more or less crossed that line last century.
So what does THE ACACIA STRAIN bring to the table to freshen up this oh-so-tired sound? Nothing much. They play the MESHUGGAH loving riffs to death, employing them in every single song. The same riffs are rehashed continually and although this album is little over half an hour, you will be sick to death of it by the end. In their favour, they manage to create a sound that is undeniably heavy. Yeah, this music really knows how to pound. A fantastic production (by none other than Adam D. of KILLSHITWCH ENGAGE himself) lends plenty of weight to the low end. Another thing this album has going in its favour is the variety of vocal delivery. Whoever is lending their throat to this release sounds incredibly pissed and utilises several variations of a basic Hardcore yell meets Death growl, milking his lungs for every ounce of power they can produce.
There ultimately are two decisions you need to make if you’re considering purchasing this album. The first is whether or not you like the style. To give you a point of reference these guys sound like A LIFE ONCE LOST if ALOL grew some major balls and turned up the aggression. Just listen to the provided mp3, which basically sums up what “The Dead Walk” is all about. The second decision you need to make is whether you’re really in need of 30 minutes of what is virtually the same song presented in mildly different forms. I strongly doubt there is much replay value to this album, although for some people they may enjoy the style enough to want to hear this much of it. (Online August 12, 2006)