Careful what you wish for...
Unlike many other old school metalheads, I am not dismissive towards metalcore per se, and so I always give metalcore acts a chance whenever I have the opportunity to listen to them. In most cases, the music does not appeal to me, but every now and then, I come across some really good stuff.
Dr. Acula's Nation has not quite convinces me, I must say, but it has nonetheless made a more positive impression on me than most other metalcore releases I have come across. Many of the songs feature elements that are typical of metalcore, such as a generous amount of breakdowns and quite typical harsh vocals, combining growls, yells and screams. Those elements do not really appeal to me (I am probably too old to understand this new music trend, and the vocals just seem too hysterical and over the top to my ears), but there is one thing that I quite like about this album. As opposed to many other metalcore bands who take their music in a more poppy direction, often including electronica elements and very melodic clean vocals, Dr. Acula's style strikes me as being much more hardcore-oriented.
The more typical metalcore elements are combined with hardcore grooves akin to those mastered by Pro-Pain, and a couple of tracks even have the feel of modern thrash to them. I just stated that I do not care much for the breakdowns on this album, but that is only half the truth. A number of breakdowns on this album are more hardcore informed, and those make me want to rock out. There are a couple of very powerful grooves (and this also applies to the more traditional metalcore-ish grooves in this song) in the title track of this album, which is probably my favorite track.
As I said, I am not entirely convinced by Dr. Acula's Nation, but that all amounts to taste. Their music is solid and rocks hard. It has all the things that characterize metalcore, and so metalcore fans are likely to appreciate it. So, if you love metalcore, check it out. If you don't, check it out anyway, because, if you like groovy metal, chances are that you might like a lot of the groovy riffs in this album even if you are not that much into metalcore.
(review originally posted at seaoftranquility.org)