Editors’ Notes Metalcore mainstays The Acacia Strain took a decidedly different approach in releasing their 10th album. Ten of its 12 songs were initially unveiled in pairs—as opposing sides of a series of 7-inch records (and digital singles) issued between February and June of 2020. The piecemeal release plan mirrors Slow Decay’s theme, which vocalist and lyricist Vincent Bennett describes as “the breaking down of reality around us.” With the addition of two songs exclusive to the full-length version, Slow Decay envisions the same event—the end of Earth—seen from different perspectives. “It’s just happening slowly over time,” guitarist Devin Shidaker tells Apple Music. “And near the end is where everyone is starting to realize it’s past the point of no return.” Below, Shidaker discusses the many demises of Slow Decay.

Feed a Pigeon Breed a Rat
“This is mainly about the people who are anti-vaccination and how that is going to bring back disease and famine and death all over the place. We’re seeing diseases that we thought were eradicated coming back. You're seeing this movement of anti-intellectualism where people just get on the internet and read Facebook posts and think they know what they’re talking about. When we actually get a vaccine for [COVID-19], I’m not looking forward to how many people are going to claim that it’s just the government trying to control you.”

Crippling Poison
“This is one of the tracks that wasn’t on a 7-inch, and it has almost a pop structure. Tom [Smith], the other guitar player, wrote this one, and I'm looking forward to playing it live if we're ever allowed to play shows again because it's the stage-dive song. There aren't many lyrics, so it's just like, ‘Come up, grab the mic, yell the parts, jump offstage, have fun.’ So it's got an upbeat vibe, but just like the theme of the record, it's bleak.”

Seeing God (feat. Aaron Heard)
“Aaron is a great friend of ours, and we’ve been trying to tour with his band Jesus Piece for a while. It’s just one of those situations where he's got so much stuff going on with Nothing [the other band Heard is in] as well, but we were thankfully able to get him on this. This song has a midtempo Morbid Angel-type death metal influence on it while still sounding like us. Topically, it's talking about all the things that are wrong that are happening that are basically our fault for ignoring things that we shouldn't have ignored. It’s basically saying it’s all our fault.”

Solace and Serenity
“This is a cool one because it has the main topic of Slow Decay, which even gets mentioned in the song lyrics—the slow decay of reality. It's about the inevitable collapse of our planet and people trying to be like, ‘Remain calm. It’s going to be fine.’ And it’s just not. The solace and serenity is false.”

The Lucid Dream (feat. Jess Nyx)
“This one has Jess from Mortality Rate, a really cool band from Canada. She has a very unique voice that we thought would sound cool here, and it works really well. The song is about thinking the world is ending, but really we’re being exterminated by some sort of inter-dimensional or extraterrestrial beings. They’re seeing what we’ve done to the planet and they’re like, ‘These creatures are fucking up, so we’ve gotta get rid of them.’”

I breathed in the smoke deeply it tasted like death and I smiled (feat. Zach Hatfield)
“This song is a little bit different. I wrote the music for this one, and it’s got an influence from a band called Warning. I think Vincent came up with the title in 2018 when the wildfires were going on and we were driving through Washington and the sun was almost being blotted out by smoke. So it comes from the perspective of somebody watching everything going down and being like, ‘Yeah, all right. It’s time.’ We’ve got Zach from Left Behind on this one—I actually manage Left Behind, so it was easy to get him on the song. His voice fits really well with doomy stoner type of stuff, so I think it gave this song a lot more emotion.”

Crossgates
“This is a really quick ass-beater that we put in the middle to kind of break up the album. A song like ‘I breathed in the smoke deeply it tasted like death and I smiled’ is slow and gloomy and emotional, and then it ends abruptly and you just get the shit kicked out of you by this song for about a minute. The whole message behind ‘Crossgates’ is just ‘We're fucked.’ There's nothing else to it besides that.”

Inverted Person
“This song is about boomers. A great percentage of them are just the most entitled people on the planet. They will not change their ways to better society in any way. They're still living like it's when they were kids, but the population has increased so much and society has moved forward so much but they just keep pushing back and contributing to the end of the world. There's a line in the song that goes, ‘Paradise was ruined by people who wore their cell phones outside of their pants.’ There’s no need to use metaphor there. That’s boomers.”

Chhinnamasta
“So this is named after a Hindu goddess. She's basically the goddess of contradictions. She's a life-giver and a life-taker. If you look at paintings of her, she's standing on top of two people who are having sex with each other. She's got a scimitar. She's cut off her own head and her neck is shooting blood into a chalice. It’s crazy. But basically the song is about witnessing all of this stuff happening in the world and your sanity is just breaking because you can't understand what's going on.”

One Thousand Painful Stings (feat. Courtney LaPlante)
“Courtney is a good friend of mine. My old band Oceano had toured with her when she was in iwrestledabearonce, and we’ve stayed friends. She has an amazing singing voice, but she’s also a talented metal vocalist, as you can hear in her band Spiritbox. This is the first song we all wrote together for the record, and it’s basically about Earth being ignored by the rest of the universe because it’s a failed experiment.”

Birds of Paradise, Birds of Prey
“This is the other song that wasn’t released on a 7-inch. Musically, it’s got a real Crowbar vibe—especially the intro, which kinda rips off ‘Planets Collide.’ This one is saying goodbye because you know the world is ending.”

EARTH WILL BECOME DEATH
“This is the last song, so you’re seeing the end of the world and everything is dying. We found the title online—somebody was posting some little kid’s schoolwork, and he just wrote ‘EARTH WILL BECOME DEATH’ in all caps, which is unintentionally really metal.”

SONG
Feed a Pigeon Breed a Rat
1
3:39
 
Crippling Poison
2
2:34
 
Seeing God (feat. Aaron Heard)
3
2:48
 
Solace and Serenity
4
4:37
 
The Lucid Dream (feat. Jess Nyx)
5
4:05
 
I breathed in the smoke deeply it tasted like death and I smiled (feat. Zach Hatfield)
6
4:44
 
Crossgates
7
1:08
 
Inverted Person
8
3:23
 
Chhinnamasta
9
3:50
 
One Thousand Painful Stings (feat. Courtney LaPlante)
10
4:29
 
Birds of Paradise, Birds of Prey
11
3:49
 
EARTH WILL BECOME DEATH
12
3:57
 

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