I didn’t really like As Blood Runs Black’s first album when it came out. I’m just going to throw that out there. I heard about the release of this album and just passed it up as another “Allegiance”. Well, while I was relaxing during their set at the 2011 Summer Slaughter Tour, I was pleasantly surprised at how much they’ve improved in both creativity and musicianship. First of all, they have an almost completely different lineup, second, they sound slightly less generic. Although I do like generic deathcore, I don’t really like to see NEW generic deathcore bands pop up when I can just listen to the new Whitechapel album and be perfectly satisfied. But considering that As Blood Runs Black has been around longer than most other deathcore bands, this prejudice doesn’t apply to them. I know that there are a lot of people that are bigger fans of Allegiance than Instinct for some reason, so I guess this review can show opinion from a different perspective; being from someone who gave Allegiance a 9/20.
Because I didn’t really like Allegiance in the first place, I never took the time to sit down and get familiar with the records sound because I was way too busy with All Shall Perish and other much better deathcore bands at the time. Even now, after I’ve been impressed by Instinct, I haven’t really bothered to sit down and listen to Allegiance for more than a couple of songs because I just don’t get any entertainment out of that album. So why waste my time on that when I can be purely entertained and satisfied by Instinct? If you’re expecting something new for the deathcore genre, go away, this is a generic album we’re talking about here. One thing that I do know about Instinct is that it sounds a hell of a lot different than Allegiance (well, duh, it consists of a COMPLETELY different lineup of members with the exception of one).
But I’m not going to do any comparing because I don’t like Allegiance in the first place. Instinct consists of everything you would expect from your typical deathcore album: it has a mix of growls and screams that are sometimes done at the same time, it has an intro track that’s just a 30-second breakdown, it has plenty of melodic parts and brutal parts with roughly 1-3 breakdowns in each song. The drumming is better than average, the guitarists play with tons of metalcore influence, and the bassist does nothing but play the root notes of what the guitarist is playing along with the occasional power-chord with the two lowest strings.
The band seems to be fairly tight, especially during the less complex Veil of Maya-styled breakdowns. That’s something I consider to be absolutely crucial in deathcore music, tightness. If the guitars, bass, and drums don’t match up during breakdowns and complex parts, the music is going to sound like a muddy puddle of excrement. The vocalist checks out to be average. He didn’t do anything that amazed me or surprised me in any way, but he does show a very wide range in pitches.
But why did I give this album such a high score if it’s so damn mediocre? It’s not because of the skill and talent of the individual musicians. It’s the creativity in the songwriting that has caused As Blood Runs Black to be one of the most unique traditional deathcore bands out there. The generic deathcore scene has become very boring and monotonous, so anything interesting is something that I want to hear. Instinct is a perfect example of a generic deathcore album that has still managed to break some new grounds and explore new territories. I would give this album 14/20 for being one of the better deathcore records out there. Honestly, I would only recommend this to the diehard deathcore fans out there. If you’re looking for something new, go check out The Contortionist or something like that.