INSTINCT: AS BLOOD RUNS BLAH
The first cut on As Blood Runs Black’s sophomore offering, Instinct, is called “Triumph,” and it’s an appropriate title. The forty-one second long instrumental is an epic, Gothenburgian score to a horror movie that doesn’t exist — think the riff that begins and concludes The Black Dahlia Murder’s “I Will Return,” and you’ll have some idea of what I’m talking about. I enjoyed this brief intro so much, in fact, that I assumed I was about to listen to an album which, if lacking in innovation, would at least be a lot of fun. Maybe I’d finally become an ABRB fan after all.
Alas — “Triumph” is the best thing on Instinct, an otherwise fine-but-unspectacular effort.
The band seems to play two styles of music, often within the same song: modern death metal in the vein of bands like Through the Eyes of the Dead and the aforementioned Black Dahlia Murder, and standard deathcore. (I know there are detractors would argued that BDM and TTEOTD are deathcore bands; those people are entitled to their opinion, even if that opinion is incorrect.) When ABRB concentrate on the former style, they’re actually not bad; they’re not the most original band on the planet, but the music is enjoyable enough.
But the deathcore stuff is somniferous. I mean, we get it. You can play chug-a-chug riffs in a key low enough that it’s hard to even tell if you’re switching chords or just hitting the same note over and over again while your singer goes “BREEEEE-BREEE-BREEE-BREEE!!!” Your mother must be proud.
I’m sure ABRB’s defenders will argue that they helped invent this style of metal. That assertion is debatable, but even if we accept it for the sake of argument, it doesn’t really matter — in the nearly five years since they released Allegiance, enough bands to fill their own continent have made this exact same record. This shit is just tired, plain and simple.
You’ll hear worse albums than Instinct this year. But that’s not very high praise I guess.
(2 ½ outta 5 horns)