DEAD ON ARRIVAL: As Blood Runs Black’s New Album Runs Dry
Wednesday, May 11, 2011 4 Comments
I’ll give them this: As Blood Runs Black has somehow found a way to make deathcore watered down enough to appeal to a mainstream audience. But what you’ll find in Instinct is an unoriginal, uninspired, and breakdown-dependent excuse for an album, with a laughable Tron-like album cover.
As Blood Runs Black emerged in the deathcore scene in 2006 with Allegiance, the album that will forever be remembered as that album with “Bring the Motherfuckin’ Ruckus” (the actual song is called “In Dying Days,” but what does it really matter?). It was a hit to gym-short-enthusiast bros everywhere. Eventually, the hype fizzled out and everyone kind of forgot about these guys. Well, after five years and only two original members, As Blood Runs Black is back to well… bring more ruckus?
The thing about Instinct though is that I’ve heard it all before. Every riff seems tired, every breakdown has already been broke down before, and there’s just so little that jumps out at me throughout the album. To be honest, I felt similarly about their first album. I don’t get a sense of true musicianship from this band; it feels like these guys just make music that’s easy and predictable. Sure, tons of people like music that’s simple enough to mindlessly mosh to, but I for one expect a little more out the music I’m going to spend my hard-earned money on.
This album has all the right pieces: blast beats, breakdowns, and a pretty decent vocalist, but it doesn’t come together as anything more than everything else that’s already out there. The riffs aren’t catchy, the guitar solos on the album are decent at best, and there are only so many fucking open-note breakdowns I can sit through before I want to smash my head against the wall. A lot of the riffs on this album had me wondering if anyone in the band knows anything about basic music theory, or even scales. For those of you who haven’t heard Dead to Fall’s (RIP) incredible anti-trend anthem “Stupid?,” go listen to it now. The song’s lyrics describe As Blood Runs Black’s approach to songwriting on this record in a nutshell.
While the lyrical concepts of the first album were mostly forgettable death-metal themed woes, I’ve got to give the new vocalist Sonik Garcia credit for his positive approach, which I can always respect. That being said, however, the lyrics often straddle the line of being ultra-cheesy, like in the song “Resist,” where Garcia notes “perception is reality,” a phrase my old boss at Gamestop was often mocked for. I cracked up when I heard it. I wouldn’t be surprised if more cheesy boss-sayings will end up on future releases.
So if you hardcore-danced to the many breakdowns of Allegiance, I’m sure you’ll karate kick and two-step right along to Instinct. If you hate both of those things like I do, you’ll probably feel the same way I do about this record. Though the album was only written with two original members, it feels just like its predecessor, but in all honesty, this album could have been written by anyone. It’s trite and unoriginal, and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. These guys are still young, so maybe we’ll see development in songwriting on future albums, but I wouldn’t count on it. For any that are still interested, you can catch these clowns on the Summer Slaughter tour these next few months.
“Instinct,” “King of Thieves,” and “Tribulations,” (which is an instrumental song I chose here just because it’s the only track on the album without a breakdown)
If you want to see how a band can use breakdowns creatively, check out Brad’s review of the new Born of Osiris album.