Videoclip of the Month!!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

As Blood Runs Black - Instinct

As Blood Runs Black - Instinct

Instinct is As Blood Runs Black’s second studio album, this album was released in 2011 by Mediaskare and can be labelled as being Melodic Deathcore. The anticipation for this album was insane, after seeing countless polls and hypes on numerous websites and blogs. I know that people were waiting for this release with high expectations and higher hopes. Some people were more sceptical about this album and think that this album will be not as good as Allegiance and I have to agree. Although this is that case, it is still a bloody good album and As Blood Runs Black should be proud of this release.

The main thing that people were worried about was the new vocalist direction. I can tell you that they have changed, a lot. Back in Allegiance the used a more deathcore or death metal style of vocals, on Instinct the vocals are a little different. The style they have adopted a style that is primarily used in hardcore or post-hardcore bands. It has little distortion and the words get carried out a long way before ending. But the good thing is that they have not only used this style, they still use their old style of vocals as well. Their classic high pitched screams as well as their awesome sounding growls are in there as well. The vocalist does an excellent job transitioning between each style and he uses them according to the tempo or style. Say of the tempo was going a quickly he would use his highs and if it was going at a medium speed he would most likely use if hardcore style vocals. He does use his growls but not very often, in fact it may be a little too rare in this album. Another thing they have done is electronically manipulated the vocals a fair bit as well, nothing over the top but it is still something that is easily noticeable. 

Another key change that they have made is the music itself. Firstly the music is not as filling for as energetic as in Allegiance but they do get fast at times and when they do it is awesome. Instead, they have changed to a more melodic style. They keep the pace of melodic death metal bands but twist the music into melodic deathcore with all the breakdowns and the song structure itself. Also, they have included a lot more guitar solos which make it sound even more like melodic death metal. So yes, melodic death metal definitely sounds like a major influence in this album, maybe even a little more than in their last album. Also the music sounds a little more hollow and directed at more emotion in the music. It really does have some kind of emotional attachment to the listener music wise, something that was not really evident in their last album. I have a feeling that not as many people will be head banging as hard as they were when they were listening to Allegiance. For some reason, the breakdowns don’t feel the same, they played in the same style but they sound a little hollow and unsatisfying. Actually, a lot of the music sounds hollow, I’m not sure if this was by accident or is part of their new direction.        

Musically they are still very tight but they aren’t as fast as their older stuff. Before anyone hesitates listening to this they have kept some of their vital elements to their music. As mention before, the vocals, yes they have introduced more of a hardcore style to their music but they have still kept the highs and lows from before and they sound better than ever. And to be honest, I think it suites the music better than on Allegiance, because on Allegiance they sounded a little out of place especially the highs. Also they have kept the same style of guitaring. They are still tuned to their seeming trademarked pitch and is practically played in the same way as before. As for the rhythm guitar, now that has had some changes, firstly the pace is totally different from their first album, it is a lot slow. Basically the only time really shines is during the breakdowns. Other than that, the lead guitar overpowers it a lot. Now the breakdowns, for people who were fans of their old breakdown style, don’t fret because they are still the same. The same speed, same style and practically the same frequency. Finally to the drumming, luckily the drumming is still the same as well. The blast beats are still there and he practically playes exactly the same as on Allegiance, also he still utilizes his super fast double bass that people loved so much which is something I bet people weren’t expecting. I also think that his blast beating is a lot better as well because when he does it, the music goes from being hollow to being full which cannot be a bad thing.

There is one thing to note, because they have changed their style doesn’t mean their songs are any bad, in fact there are some very good tracks on this album. They have chosen to open the album up with a musical, to be honest I think that the way they did this is a little pointless because the music is not any different from what you are going to hear in the album anyway so why waste a track. But it does give you a good feel of what to expect from the album. The first actual song is Legacy and it does a pretty good job on summarising the whole album. It demonstrates their new style very accurately and where they are going. It has their new vocals, some blast beats and their breakdowns. The next track is a little different, Resist seems a little more progressive sounding than the others and more melodic. Also it is not fast as the others either, but they still have some very good breakdowns featured in there as well. Also it seems like that track is suppose to have some sort of emotional attachment to the listener. It’s just a vibe I get because of fairly slow tempo, progressiveness and a slow guitar solo. Usually a slow guitar solo is a good indication on what the intended feel of the music is.

Angel City Gamble is probably the best track in the whole album. It has every good element of the album in this one track. From the awesome blast beats and super fast double bass to some really good sounding melodies as well as being very technical on top of it. Not to mention a very good breakdown as well. It is probably the most structured and organised song as well. They seemed to put a lot of planning into making this wonderful track. That’s why it is the best.

Ok there is one thing that bugs me a lot about this album. I know it’s not really a big deal but what is the point of having two instrumentals in an album. What’s even worse is that this album only has ten tracks on it which leaves less space for the real music. The track Tribulations in my opinion is a waste, I didn’t really see the purpose of it nor understood it, and it’s just a short piano musical and violin.  What was the message or its purpose of it, I’m not exactly sure. Not only that but I disrupted the flow of the music which was going so well. I think that two musicals are way more than enough for a ten track album. But I guess anything longer would have sounded repetitive so they must have had to improvise. The thing that would disappoint the most people is the different recording style they used. The new style makes the music sound extremely hollow which is a technical bands worst nightmare. This makes for some annoying gaps in the music and it sounds like it starts and stops all the time. But, there is a certain sense of freshness that is brought about from this which I cannot complain about.

 Make no mistake, just because they have toned their music down their music doesn’t mean that they have completely abandoned everything people loved from Allegiance. Although some of the tracks may not be considered to be as good as the stuff on Allegiance I have to say, they certainly gave it a run for their money. They still have kept their original structure and style and who knows, some people might like their new direction. Hopefully they won’t follow the same path as Bring Me The Horizon and go from a technical treasure to a dull generic band. Because usually when a band turns into something horrifically bad, there is always an alternative. Since As Blood Runs Black is fairly unique, who is going to replace them?  So yeah sure it’s a small step and they have exposed some of their innovation with this release, but is it in the right direction?

I strong recommend this album to any die hard As Blood Runs Black fans out there, it is sure to satisfy but don’t expect any miracles. I also recommend this album to anyone who likes deathcore and metalcore but fans of progressive and melodic death should at least give this album a go because it will only cost time. Furthermore, if you liked their old stuff you cannot go further than the track Angle City Gamble because it’s the closest you will get to their old stuff. If you prefer a more progressive feel to your music try the track Resist. It has a different vibe from the other tracks in the album. If you prefer more technical music and faster, there is nothing that is overly technical but the track Echoes Of An Era is fairly technical and it’s the closest to melodic death on the album. So overall I don’t think it is as good as Allegiance but it is still an excellent release. Put it this way, if this was their debut release these guys would still be a more than decent band. The fact that they have taken a small step backwards worries a lot of fans, which only makes people wait and builds more anticipation for their next release. Also it felt like I was left hanging at the end and wanting more. Overall Instinct gets a 16/20.     

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