6.) THE DEAD WALK
Ah, so here we are with the Acacia Strain. First of all, how badass is that album cover?
Although they had been releasing albums since 2002, one of the first deathcore bands in existence, 2006's The Dead Walk
was the first truly great album the Acacia Strain put out, and still stands out as one of their best. Not only is this album consistently headbang-worthy and chaulk-full of killer riffs, but it was incredibly important in shaping the entire genre of deathcore. It's fair to say that we wouldn't have Whitechapel, Winds of Plague or Suicide Silence in the same way we have them now without Acacia.
Right from the first crushing breakdown opening riff of "Burn Face", you can tell one thing: this band is pissed off beyond all regard, and transferring that energy directly into their music. They're not doing it to have fun, or prove a point, or show off their technical ability or songwriting. They're doing it as an outlet for their pent up hate, anger, and violence, encouraging the listener to partake in expending that energy as well. It's especially evident if you see Acacia live: Vincent calmly tells the crowd, "This is negative music. This isn't meant to make you feel good. This is is meant for violence. This is meant for hate."
The Acacia Strain are also one of the best deathcore bands out there because they are masters of the -core side of it. Basically, they're just a hardcore band, but the heaviest hardcore band out there, to a point where it crosses over into deathcore. You'll be hard pressed to find those fast, death metal inspired parts with tremelo picking, sweeps, and blast beats. What you got here is just very beatdown-worthy hardcore, with enough well-crafted breakdowns to put most other -core bands to shame. It's very prevalent in Vincent's voice, also. It's more of a hardcore scream versus a gutteral low (a la Phil Bozeman) or a demonic high (a la Mitch Lucker). Wheras for the most part, your traditional hardcore is the epitome of positivity in music, the Acacia Strain is the epitome of negativity, yet they manage to pull it off tastefully and believably to the point where it isn't just some kids trying to act metal, but some guys who legitimately have problems with our society, culture, and species.
"BEAUTIFUL DAY/YOU WOULD HARDLY NOTICE ALL THE DISEASE" kicks off the brutal "Angry Mob Justice", an anthemic tune calling for the death of mankind, blending riff into riff into a massive breakdown at the end in perfect deathcore songwriting perfection. "Everyone will suffer
" is the lyrical theme of "Woah! Shut it Down", a negative masterpiece in the same vein. "See You Next Tuesday" is the highlight of the album, and a live staple, focusing on throwing up a giant middle finger to... slutty women? Your enemies? Pretty much everyone. And that's why I love Acacia. The songs are catchy, the lyrics are brutal, and above all, an air of negativity pervades which makes it the perfect "mood" music when the energy needs pumpin'.
(Notable Tracks note: I'm not finding any good YouTube links to their songs, but I'd highly recommend the 3 tracks I pointed out above: "See You Next Tuesday", "Woah! Shut it Down", and "Angry Mob Justice").