30 minutes of raw storytelling
With The Acacia Strain’s last release being in 2017, the release of It Comes In Waves on December 26 was a bit of a surprise. Rumors started floating around at the end of 2019 that the band wanted to release music before the end of the year. The metalcore band hits people with a 30-minute cohesive album that is meant to be listened to in order for the full effect of the story to be felt. The titles of the seven tracks spell out: “Our only sin was giving them names.”
Long-time fans may be surprised by the direction the band took towards doom and sludge versus the metalcore that they are known for. But, people should look at is opening possibilities and not them leaving behind where they started. And, after listening once through, fans will gladly welcome this shift. With what they were trying to accomplish with this release, the doom and sludge subgenres were able to tell the story through the creation of this dark and sluggish energy.
Of the seven tracks, “Was” is a stand out track in this short, disturbing nightmare laid before listeners. Near the middle of the song, people hear Mother Carmody’s chilling speech from the film version of Stephen King’s The Mist. This combined with the lyrics creates an overall hopeless feeling which is also felt throughout the whole album. In many tracks like “Sin” and “Them,” fans witness their experimentation and exploration they did with vocals. Also, their use of narration and protest-like yelling adds another dimension to It Comes In Waves.
“Names,” the final track, is almost one-third of the entire album at eight minutes and 43 seconds which puts emphasis on its importance in the album. It seals the deal with this dark and gloomy place that it puts listeners in.
Overall, while It Comes In Waves may be short and does not do anything groundbreaking, the overall thematic telling and mood instilled is astronomical. The band creates an atmosphere of horror and hopelessness through standard doom/sludge vibes. Whether people align with these views or just feel like this dreary mood is relevant at the moment, the album does not disappoint in bringing people there.