As Blood Runs Black

Instinct

Written by: AP on 27/07/2011 22:16:18

Caught in frequent membership issues that have deserved the band a revolving door reputation, it has taken As Blood Runs Black five years to complete their sophomore album, "Instinct". Meanwhile the band appears to have been too preoccupied to take note of the developments in the metalcore genre, as the sound featured on it is one that dates back to 2006, if not earlier, and one which the band already frivolously explored on their debut, the critically acclaimed "Allegiance". It was released in a time when the stipulated metalcore sound, featuring little else than derivative staccato riffs and ruthless breakdowns, was all the rage; a seemingly infinite number of bands tried their hand at it and most of them failed, while As Blood Runs Black remained as one of the few who knew how to extract its best elements.

Unfortunately, as "Instinct" proves, this remains As Blood Runs Black's lone talent. Rather than keeping with the day's trend, this California five piece never abandoned hope that this sound, the very essence of metalcore, has a future. Instrumentally thus, there is little to dig into: the riffs are decent, if uninspired, the breakdowns are typical and abundant, and the bass follows, and blends into, the drop-tuned rhythm guitar. All of this is executed with formidable precision of course, and with the aid of solid drumming the end result becomes rather proficient. It is hard to ignore how dated and customary the sound is, however, let alone that a host of still relevant bands use it with far greater success: All Shall Perish, The Black Dahlia Murder and Through the Eyes of the Dead immediately come to mind.

There are a number of songs on offer here that, in terms of their technical execution, sound rock solid (see "Angel City Gamble" and "Divided" for example), but even in their finest moments As Blood Runs Black never manage to shed the frustrating feeling that not only has this been done before by countless others, it has also been done before by As Blood Runs Black, and it sounded better back then (remember for example "In Dying Days", which featured simplistic, yet far more recognisable instrumentation than a song like "Resist"). Defenders of As Blood Runs Black will undoubtedly argue that the band helped pioneer this this style of metal, but even if we accept this for the sake of argument, it really doesn't matter: in light of the innovative and boundary-pushing acts that lead the genre toward brighter days today, "Instinct" just sounds tired, plain and simple.

Download: Angel City Gamble, Divided, Echoes of an Era
For the fans of: All Shall Perish, The Black Dahlia Murder, Through the Eyes of the Dead
Listen: Facebook

Release date 15.03.2011
Suburban Noize Records

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