The Most Known Unknown

by: The Acacia Strain

The Acacia Strain sums up the first eight years of its career on the 20-track live album The Most Known Unknown (which is also available in a CD/DVD package, the DVD containing video versions of 11 of the songs). The band's nihilistic attitude is on display early in the dedication of the opening track, "Whoa! Shut It Down," "for the entire f---ing human race," which also gets across the expletive-strewn vocabulary of lead howler Vincent Bennett, when his words can be made out. But the band's audience seems to share its scorn, and the listeners turn participants to chant along with Bennett. The tempos vary from plodding to breakneck, sometimes in the same song, as if waves of energy were passing through the players, at times filling them and at others draining them. Bennett actually adopts some conventional stage mannerisms, introducing songs and saying, "Thank you," an odd juxtaposition from the rage he expresses otherwise. The editing of the disc is sometimes curious, with a track fading out on the introduction of the next song, only to have that introduction repeated in the next track. It would have been better to let the show run in continuous fashion, the better to build its force. But then, the Acacia Strain rarely lacks for forcefulness, and whenever things seem to be lagging, Bennett instructs his bandmates and his listeners to "Wake the f--- up!" ~ William Ruhlmann

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