By Jason Wellwood
It seems that the new trend in ‘live’ DVD’s is to use super quick cuts from guitarist to bassist to drummertosingertoaudiencetodrummertosinger… you get the idea. Within the space of a song, you’ve seen every single person on stage from 10 different angles, the audience from 3 different angles and you’re left feeling a little off balance. It’s more like a performance music video than a live documentary. The makers of The Acacia Strain’s The Most Known Unknown have taken this road for the main disc of this two disc set. Featuring two 45 minute sets live at the Palladium in Worcester, MA, for a lesser band, this would sink the DVD for me. Thankfully the career spanning set, and the talent of the band itself, more than makes up for unfortunate editing choices. The Acacia Strain have the dubious distinction of being one of the original ‘deathcore’ bands, spawning a whole load of crappy imitations over the years. Thankfully, The Acacia Strain are still head and shoulders above all of their competition and live they really shine. Yes, the editing is quite jarring, but at the same time I think it gives an accurate feeling to being at one of The Acacia Strain’s shows: loud, hectic, and effectively putting the viewer off balance.
It’s not every band that can go from three guitar players to one and essentially change every member of the band except the singer but still sound as ferocious as when they started. Seeing the band live even on DVD is an incredible experience, they are fierce. It’s the second disc that I found a lot more interesting though. The Waterfront Tavern in Holyoke, Ma. Is exactly what you’d expect to see The Acacia Strain play, a small, packed house. The set is tight, the band is solid and not a body is left unbruised. The extras also shine pretty bright here: the retrospective ‘behind the scenes’ give a pretty good look at the quirky guys who make up the band, and the video clips for ‘Skynet’, ‘Angry Mob Justice’ and ‘Smoke Ya Later’ also give a good look at the sense of humour that the band has about themselves and the world around them.
A great watch that won’t necessarily leave you feeling as satisfied as if you had actually seen the band live, but few DVD’s will do that for you. One word of caution for the kids out there though: just because everyone says that Vincent really truly means what he says on stage only means that they are all in on the joke too. Watch the DVD, you’ll understand.