The Acacia Strain
Coma Witch
(Rise Records)

The Acacia Strain has had a multitude of member changes over the years, and maybe it is because of their two newest guitarists – Devin Shidaker (ex-Oceano) and Richard Gomez (ex-Molotov Solution) – that Coma Witch just doesn’t hit as hard as the band’s last album, Death Is the Only Mortal. Of course, this may not actually be the reason behind the album’s uninspired writing; but if it isn’t, then wouldn’t that suggest that the band, in general, has lost its spark in the game? If so, that would just suck, wouldn’t it?

Here’s the thing: Coma Witch doesn’t start strong or end strong. While “Human Disaster” (the opener) does have its memorable moments to keep it up on your radar, “Observer” (the closer) is just an ambitious mess that takes entirely too much effort to work through. In fact, the album’s best moments only show potential, without actually being explosive or engrossing. For example, “Send Help” features some waning guitar work and screechy vocal spots that work well together, but they don’t quite push the track to stardom. It’s with “Cauterizer” and “Holy Walls of the Vatican” that The Acacia Strain find themselves at their best.

But can just a few tracks really carry a full album that tends to just run the line of “mildly entertaining”? Unfortunately, flirting with greatness isn’t the same thing as finding it. Coma Witch may be a solid deathcore release, but it doesn’t compare to the band’s previous work. Diehard fans will probably still enjoy it enough, but those of us who aren’t metal worshippers will have a harder time getting lost in this one. (Nathaniel Lay)

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