As mentioned, Massachusetts metalcore vets The Acacia Strain are releasing their new album Slow Decay on July 24 via Rise Records (pre-order). It's made up of the five two-song singles that The Acacia Strain rolled out throughout the year, plus two new songs, and while you wait for the final two songs you can listen to a playlist of the previous ten below.

The album features guest vocalists from a few cool newer hardcore bands (Mortality Rate, Jesus Piece, and Left Behind), and before pandemic hit, The Acacia Strain were on tour with a number of other cool newer hardcore bands (Creeping Death, Chamber, Fuming Mouth, and the less new but in the midst of a comeback Rotting Out).

It's clear from both the album guests and the tourmates that The Acacia Strain are a veteran band who care about the next generation and keep their ears to the ground, so we asked Acacia Strain frontman Vincent Bennett about some new hardcore recommendations he may have, and he made us a list of some of the local bands that caught his attention on recent tours.

"So many local bands go unnoticed," Vincent says. "The stigma of being a local opener is a hard one to shake, and so many touring bands just ignore the local as an annoyance. I have been trying to actively be a participant in all the shows I play and watch the locals. I can tell you this. Local bands deserve your attention — they are getting better. We were all local bands once, pay it forward. Here are a couple who made my touring experience all the better."

Dredge (Las Vegas, NV)

When we had been told we had to cancel the rest of tour because of COVID-19, we were as far from home as possible. We played ONE show in Las Vegas for gas money, and Dredge opened. We were already in terrible moods, but this show and this band helped us smile a little bit. Powerviolence-esque hardcore with dance beats and a super energetic love show. EP: A Fantasy Can Be Deadly.

Fortune’s Fool (Colorado Springs, CO)

This band opened up for the Knocked Loose tour package we were a part of in 2019 and I made sure to check them out because there were whispers about them before the show started. The crowd was still shuffling in but everyone who walked through the door made sure to get in as fast as they could to hit the pit, and the pit was real. You can tell a local is loved when everyone in the crowd knows every word. The vocalist Phoenix has changed up her vocal style a bit since we played with them, but I think it’s a change for the better. EP: V K.

Primitive Rage (Springfield, MO)

I get a lot of direct messages and emails from bands asking if I would listen to their demo, and I try to as much as I can. Adrian from Primitive Rage sent me a message and I immediately listened because I thought the band was called ‘Primal Rage’ like the old arcade game. Well, I was wrong about the band name but I was right to listen. This shit is powerful. So obviously when I found they were opening for us and Left Behind on a routing date out to tour, I watched their whole set with a smile on my face and had a hard time not pitting. It was pure energy packed into a 200-capacity room. EP: Driven By Hatred.

156/silence (Pittsburgh, PA)

In another instance of hearing the band by suggestion before playing with them live, 156/silence is a band I liked so much I passed their EPs around my friend circle and even got them played on SiriusXM Liquid Metal. In a world where so many bands are trying the early 2000s spastic-hardcore-panic-chord-mosh and missing the mark, 156/silence hits it perfectly. A local had to drop a Pittsburgh show we were playing at 156 got added last minute and I was so happy I had to check out their whole set. I ran around the green room going, ‘Guys. Watch this first band!’ They recently put out a full length that is currently one of my top albums of the year. Proof that you should watch the local band. LP: Irrational Pull.

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Listen to 10 of the 12 songs off Slow Decay:

Slow Decay Tracklist
"Feed A Pigeon Breed A Rat"
"Crippling Poison"*
"Seeing God" (Feat. Aaron Heard)
"Solace and Serenity"
"The Lucid Dream" (Feat. Jess Nyx)
"I breathed in the smoke deeply it tasted like death and I smiled" (Feat. Zach Hatfield)
"Crossgates"
"Inverted Person"
"Chhinnamasta"
"One Thousand Painful Stings" (Feat. Courtney LaPlante)
"Birds of Paradise, Birds of Prey"*
"EARTH WILL BECOME DEATH"

*Previously unreleased