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CD Review: As Blood Runs Black – Allegiance

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Metalcore is still around, and in tremendously high volume these days. As Blood Runs Black is a post-hardcore band preferring to slant their sound toward melodic death instead of the by-the-numbers metalcore that we hear so much, a genre that has been flooded to the point of overflowing indifference by many old-school listeners.

But, as they say, out with the old listeners and in with the new-schoolers who simply cannot get enough of major label and headlining bands such as As I lay Dying, Unearth, God Forbid, and of course, Shadow's Fall. All these bands can be used to describe ABRB's sound, thick with power chords, chugging transitions, and guitar structures that have no problem using higher, more melodic tones that attempt to create a flow to the music, especially through all the hardcore breakdowns. Successful metalcore depends on that, and in this humble metalhead's opinion, ABRB does so, and without the clean vocals!

As much I have been one of the indifferent ones, I still flip the discs in and give them a chance to knock me upside the head, which is what happened with this particular release. The inevitable guitar intro, used appropriately in this case, supplies the atmospheric tempo that pays off beautifully with the fantastic opening track, "In Dying Days," surely the tune on which to hang one's hope for pancake sales and tour invites. Played at near-thrash speeds, this is the type of music that induces near-riot activities in the pit, punters gleefully surfing the ebbs and flows of the mighty mass of fellow sweat hogs.

The followups do not disappoint. "My Fears Have Become Phobias", and "Hester Prynne" thankfully do not pull a bait and switch by enticing you in with a great tune only to grow a gigantic pussy, and go all emo on you after that — oh no, these tunes are just as great. The latter probably dives off the stage as my favorite, considering that it's the closest to true melodic death on the album. In fact, the opening trifecta is about as good as this genre gets, and is a powerful and confident way to introduce yourself to the world as well,  a theme that is momentarily put on hold with a guitar instrumental that while interesting, serves only as an intermission. A physical break as well as a symbolic break, as the songs tend to wind down, inverts toward ordinary after that, with tempo changes that don't always work, but are full of life nevertheless. The final two tracks, "Beneath The Surface" and "Legends Never Die," cap off the album well, however, putting the finishing touches on a suprisingly interesting band.

RATING: 8/10 – Definitely worthy of your money, not only for the disc, but try and get out to see them live, as they are on tour right now. Although I have not seen them in concert, one listen through this album makes it apparent that to fully appreciate the hunger and the energy of this band is to see them in their own habitat. Which is something that is always better than you think, even if you have seen a hundred concerts, nothing beats the rush you feel when the lights go down, the metal musak drifts away and the bands you listened to and heard all about, one by one, hit that stage in a cloud of smoke and thunder. This band appears to be that type of band that is worth the wait.

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About Brian Gould

  • Guppusmaximus

    No Offense…

    Sounds like what all the hardcore bands do… Rip off the stuff they can’t produce themselves. Just like in the mid 90’s when Earthcrisis was ripping Death.

    Anyways, you confuse me with your review because you mention bands like Shadows Fall and God Forbid which haven’t released anything that comes close to what these guys are copying. Recently those two bands alone went down the tubes with the garbage they are releasing.

    ABRB are doing to Death Metal what Avenged Sevenfold did to Heavy Metal… Ruin it. The tracks sound over produced and the band sounds like they rely on a lot of effects especially the drummer(trigger central).

    I don’t see these guys ever pulling ahead of Necrophagist, Neuraxis,Arsis, Between the Buried and Me or Black Dahlia Murder in the way of concept or originality and I wouldn’t bother buying the CD nevermind seeing them live.

  • http://www.myspace.com/neonblak Brian Gould

    Hey, no offense taken, usually I am right there with you, throwing this and everything like it in the dustbin. But, something about stuck with me, on top of the fact that I am a sucker for the faster, thrashier melodic death part of hardcore. Which I thought I was successful in articulating, eh, oh well, what do you expect from an amateur…

  • Guppusmaximus

    Hey… I can’t put you down for liking it. I just heard way too much pretentiousness in their style. No real emotion or musicianship. The production was exagerated and I can sense that these guys wouldn’t hold up live.

    Other than that, your writing is great. I think what confused me was this: “In fact, the opening trifecta is about as good as this genre gets” not realizing you were still talking about Hardcore..

    Anyways, Keep up the good work and don’t mind the picky, Resident Metal-Head. I just get way too passionate about this stuff.

  • http://www.myspace.com/neonblak Brian Gould

    You know how any of us fans of a certain genre of music can parse and divide the music we listen to in all these sub-genres. So much so that I, and many other fans, don’t know where Metalcore and Melodic Death really separate, after bands of either genre have began to blur the lines. Before that it was hard to tell the difference between Melodic Death and Thrash, Thrash and Death, etc. So, to make a long story even longer, I lumped this band in with Metalcore, which I then lumped in with post-hardcore, which is still “hardcore”. ahh, well, maybe I shoulda just left Hardcore out of it completly. hehe

  • Guppusmaximus

    Well, there are definitely certain attributes to a particular style of music that makes it apart of a genre. Thrash and Death Metal were always easy to seperate because Death Metal had the Growling from the diaphram. That’s how you get that low and brutal. Thrash was more screaming. Death Metal had a slower crushing groove. Thrash was alittle faster.

    I could definitely go into detail about the whole transition but I think I will write that article later.

    I honestly think ABRB are just a crossover band but just not that good at it. Metalcore is just a new name so people won’t compare it to D.R.I. That’s because you can’t compare it. There aren’t any bands doing a phenomonal job at crossover. Maybe that’s why they call it Metalcore,so we can lump all the shitty bands together.

    Anyways, I just wanna say that atleast you are writing about bands that are heavy and granted I may not like these guys,I can appreciate your love of all things metal.

  • Guppusmaximus

    *BTW* When you idolize Chuck Shuldiner(Death)like I do then there aren’t any bands that can cross boundaries like they did and remain as brutal as they did… It’s a curse I tell ya!!

  • Abrb-Fan

    For the record the drummer doesn’t trigger watch em live.

  • Death Metal 4ever

    Dudes, As Blood Runs Black is awesome. And they arent post hardcore. Metal / Death Metal / Hardcore is more like it. Yeah no trigger affects. I Think your getting the wrong idea about them. I mean have u seen them live? He’s playing double bass that fast!!! Its soo insane. And its no rip off. They have it all. Im just stating my opinion but the mojortity of people would agree with me.

  • as blood runs black rules.

    I agree with the comment above..there amazing.

  • boblouis

    As Blood Runs Black fucking rapes. They are a breath of fresh air for sure. They could use a little clean up, but this is their first album and I believe it will only get better. 8/10

  • Maximusminimus

    ABRB is 1 of the best band I have ever seen perform live… Better than most international touring bands that I’ve seen. People just need to stop the jealousy and realize these guys are amazing.

  • http://Nah x-NameNameName

    Look up As Blood Runs Black on http://www.youtube.com—Then you just tell me how ABRB holds up live. Each member is talented in the instrument in which they play, I think this album blends well with todays music and the “scene”

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    “Better than most international touring bands that I’ve seen.”

    Yea…I’m gonna have to stick with what I said almost a year ago. These guys are basically boring and don’t stand a chance in hell against bands like:

    Quo Vadis
    Gory Blister
    Necrophagist
    Gorod
    Neuraxis

    And probably a ton more that I don’t care to list

  • cameron

    well i must say i enjoy abrb but i do believe that the drummer does trigger, and just because he can perform it live they do make these little things called double pedals, u can play that fast with those too so idk, its just not possible to really play that fast

  • cameron

    duelist pedals* i correct myself

  • http://www.myspace.com/platemail Senior Bobby

    As was said before; I have seen them live, been front row center, Talked to them, and watched them set up and tear down a set:

    They’re NOT triggered.

    As a drummer, you can use techniques, foot positioning, and leg warm ups that allow you to go that fast UNTRIGGERED.

    And on THAT note; They bring the fucking ruckus :)

  • http://www.myspace.com/thisbeautyismurder Wayne

    I can play such fast double bass…but) You know)) I don’t know any bass drumm which sounds on every time with one sound) It’s impossible) So i can hear just triggers there.
    But he is really good for his age!

    i’m not using triggers, i have no money for them)

    p.s.: i’m from russia.

  • http://www.myspace.com/thisbeautyismurder Wayne

    their song – My Fears Have Become Phobias – swith to 3:28 – what is it? the doyble bass doesn’t sounds like that) well i don’t know, i must see his playing with my own eyes!

  • DGAF

    I mean who the fuck cares about what the drummer does….IT rapes!!! Adrenaline rush is all i can say,,oh yeah and skull cracking!

  • ryan

    after listening to job for a cowboy, as blood runs black was a breath of fresh of air. To me it’s what bands like As I Lay Dying never achieved. They remained heavy but didnt have that stupid melodic, emotional bullshit halfway through the song.

  • preston

    I think more than anything this band resembles Black Dahlia Murder (who I love) than As I Lay Crying. Definately a gem in the pile of shit that is “metalcore”. I’m glad they don’t pull any of that whiney bullshit halfway through their songs in this album. I’ll definately be watching this band’s next release.

    As for the double-bass argument, it definately does sound a little too produced in parts of their songs, but the guitar is what I’m listening for, and it’s got that crazy thrash tempo and the melodic sound that I love.