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BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME, ACACIA STRAIN In Santa Ana, CA With Photos!

By Thomas Delgado, @forthehordeprod
Friday, April 12, 2024 @ 8:42 AM


April 8th At The Observatory

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All Photos By Tom Delgado/@forthehordeprod

THE ACACIA STRAIN touring with BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME. "Add to cart, check out." That's what I will do 100% of the time I see that combination. It's an absolute win in any scenario. Two fantastic, long-standing bands both playing full albums in their entirety. Playing a full album has been something that many acts have been doing recently. Many more bands noticeably so after the COVID-19 pandemic. It seems maybe bands are taking the opportunity to say thank you and show gratitude to fans by revisiting classic moments when there was so much uncertainty of the future only a few years ago. The best part for me is that many of these albums were the ones that I was listening to during the most formidable years of my youth at the end of high school and in college. I was excited for this show for months. Let's get to the action.

It took the crowd a little longer than I would have liked to have seen get moving and pay respect to THE ACACIA STRAIN. I guess it was a Monday night, and the headlining band has a commanding fan base, so it is somewhat expected. THE ACACIA STRAIN is a band that has been going strong since 2002, over 20 years, playing music that is way too loud, way too brutal, and way too chaotic to have that type of longevity. I've never liked the genre title of "Deathcore", and luckily neither has vocalist and founding member Vincent Bennette. He has been vocal in the past of his distaste of how this term has been used to attempt to define the band's sound. Yes there is the "Deathcore" heaviness and breakdowns, but it is equally infused with the sounds of Hardcore, Sludge, even Doom at times. There is also a sadness and melancholy to their melody highlighted by the lyrical themes of death, misanthropy, and nihilism. All of it makes for a damn fine cocktail of brutality.

THE ACACIA STRAIN has been playing their newest album Step Into The Light, in full on this tour followed by a selection of songs from their earliest years as a band to appease new and old listeners alike. Whether it's their new album or their classics, this band is absolutely undeniable. I will bet good money that any fan of heavy music who sees them live will be unable to resist headbanging along to the groove, heaviness, melody, that these guys throw at you. As stated before, I dislike using the term "Deathcore" precisely because it pigeon holes the sound of this band in particular. But if you were to ever have a Mount Rushmore of that genre, they would be my personal first entry. I've seen them several times live but this was the first time I had the pleasure of photographing them. I had a friend with me at the show who kept looking over, smiling, and nodding his head in absolute appreciation. These guys are veterans of the scene at this point, and their live performance shows that. They made a point of giving a shout out to Showcase Theater in Corona, CA "the greatest venue of all time". A great set by a great band, indeed. It was time for the headliner.

I knew the moment that this tour was announced, I needed to see one of my all time favorite albums, Colors, live in completion. Back in 2007 I was a college sophomore grinding out a degree freebasing black coffee and Metal. I initially wrote off BTBAM as just another flavor of the month "Metalcore" and even more erroneously "Djent" band that saturated the landscape of that time. Their recent new album in those days, Colors was my first real exposure to the band, and confused the hell out of me when I first heard it. This was nothing like what anyone else in the current scene was playing. This band was making music so far beyond their contemporaries, I was having trouble understanding how they would even be on tours with them. I was hearing hints of DEATH, CYNIC, KING CRIMSON, DREAM THEATER, pouring out of my earphones. But then I'd get hit with country, folk, and jazz. What the hell is this? You never knew where each song was headed or where it would end. There were literal twists and turns through each track.

Since 2007, Colors has been an album that I have revisited weekly. It is on my personal "Mount Rushmore" of albums that define me. I've used it many times as a measure of many other new and current bands and their peaks and progressions. "Yea, but is it, like, COLORS good?" Colors is the absolute perfect prog metal album for me. A defining moment in the career of the band, and a statement to themselves as well as fans of where they planned to go. Since that time, BTBAM have continued to experiment and expand their brand of progressive metal, and even found themselves revisiting the statement of this album with their newest offering, Colors II.

What was special about this show was that every fan there knew exactly what they were going to hear. They knew the track list, they knew the lyrics, and they knew they were in for an absolute treat. It was amazing to see the band flow effortlessly through such an insanely demanding performance. Blast beats, solos, jazz breakdowns, dance breaks, gang chants, littered the entire performance. There were multiple times where the crowd would erupt not only in circle pitting but dance offs and two steps. This album is so insane you could look around the room and see people smiling and laughing at the ease these guys played such complex parts. "How the hell do you remember each twist and turn when there are layers and layers of them in each song?" The energy coming off the band all evening was infectious. You could tell these boys were having a blast and the crowd gave it right back to them. As the final notes of the encore "Voice of Trespass" rang out, I ran to the merch booth in an attempt to snag the show exclusive print they had printed off for the night. I was just in time to grab one before they sold out. The absolute perfect end to a perfect show.

Check out some more photos from the show!
All Photos By Tom Delgado/@forthehordeprod


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