AlbumsMay 11, 202310,353 views

The Acacia Strain Failure Will Follow

Failure Will Follow
1. Pillar of Salt (feat. Dylan Walker & iRis.EXE) 3. Bog Walker (feat. Sam Sawyer) 3. Basin of Vows (feat. Ethan Mccarthy)
2021 Rise Records
Our score 7

by Jake

When I heard that The Acacia Strain was making a doom album, I was kind of surprised—only kind of, though, because in some ways this makes sense for a band that’s done a few unexpected things in the past. One such twist was It Comes In Waves, which was a bit of a surprise release on Closed Casket back in 2019 that showed a bit of a style shift for them in some aspects. But a full-on stylistic shift to doom being released in parallel with a sister album that follows a more expected path for this band? Call it nothing if not ambitious. This album, and the context of knowing it’s from a band that normally doesn’t travel in these lanes makes it a little more difficult to review since this isn’t their normal approach. The point of discussing this album could quickly devolve into a ‘good for what it is’ discussion which doesn’t really do anyone justice: the band or the listener. So the questions should actually be about the album’s impact, emotional resonance, and performances.

Failure Will Follow is comprised of three tracks ranging from 10 to 17 minutes each for a runtime of close to 40 minutes. As far as doom album structures go, TAS are off on the right foot. The record takes its time opening up, kicking off with “pillar of salt”, a track that features the guest vocals of Dylan Walker (Full of Hell) who helps gives it a genuinely harsh edge. With plenty of dynamic counterpoints spread throughout the song, it feels as if TAS has spent plenty of time getting an understanding of how to create a lengthy composition that feels appropriately heavy but doesn’t get utterly repetitious, or that just sound like ‘slow The Acacia Strain’, for that matter. The heavy parts are punishing sludgey doom and all of the hallmarks that are in the recipe for that sound. There are lurching riffs, harsh noise, and thankfully there’s enough oxygen injected into this song that the truly ground-shaking moments hit, and hit hard.

One of the coolest parts of Failure Will Follow is hearing that the band not only tackled one side of doom but even went after a few other approaches to the genre. When “bog walker” kicks off, so do the bong rips, because this is a walk down the stoner path with a drawn out intro built on a single guitar pushing resonating riffs through what’s presumably a large Orange amplifier. A nice melodic riff settles in and the gang vocals, bells, and thick bass lines get the song fully underpinned; it shows itself to be the opus of this album. It’s a song that goes to all sorts of places by utilizing a progressive approach that allows the composition to sort of seep into whichever spaces it wants, and while it's hard to criticize doom for meandering, it does at times feel a little directionless.

Throughout multiple listens this is an album that really brings a lot to the table. While this is still indelibly The Acacia Strain, it is also a genuine doom album that ends up feeling more like a uniform for the band rather than a costume. It’s authentic. The final track is angry and pissed off, even more so than the rest of the record thanks to the guest spot from Ethan McCarthy (Primitive Man) and it also has some contrasting moments that lean into doomgaze which is a beautifully destructive way to end an album that has already employed a smorgasbord of ideas.

Bottom Line: The Acacia Strain have been a nimble band for years now, able to pivot to new ideas with relative ease, and it seems that whatever they set their mind to they excel at. This open-mindedness is what facilitates an album of sludge and doom by a band far more known for their accomplishments in another genre. To that point this isn’t a perfect record and it does at times feel like aimless experimentation. Even leaving all of that to the side, Failure Will Follow is a rich and compelling album in its own right that rewards the listener time and again with its dynamics, rich sonic textures, and some incredible vocal guest spots.


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anonymous 348 days ago

You guys have very talented writers. Most of your album reviews keep my interest solely based on the richness of the description regardless of whether or not I care about the band at hand. Kudos. Keep up the good work.

anonymous 348 days ago

Left out iris.exe on the track list.

anonymous 348 days ago

pillar of salt also features iRis.EXE?

anonymous 345 days ago

This and "Step Into The Light" are both great albums, but I prefer the slow jams in Failure. At times it reminds me of Russian Circles in drop Z tuning.