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Back in 2006, As Blood Runs Black released Allegiance, and it forever changed the deathcore scene. It was a very important album for the scene. With the melodic death metal influences and the metalcore/hardcore influences making it a really good album for everyone who's down with the scene. Anyways, enough about that album. In the 5 year span has ABRB made any progression? Yes and no. Yes in the fact that their riffs are more complex, technical, and progressive (the title track and the interludes), but they haven't really made much progression on the account that they are still stuck with the "0-8-5-7" sorta riffs from the first album.
The overall sound on the record is very similar to their first record 'cause, like I said before, they use a lot of the same open note chugging and "0-8-5-7" riffs, but I still think they are sick. The chord progressions on the record are more of the same on Allegiance, but they have gone out of the C-minor key with their riffs, making themselves stand out more. They also used material from their pre-production demo and put in a solo to make it flow (Echos of an Era). They also took one of their instrumentals, "Air Force One", and turned it into the song "In Honor". The breakdowns are crushing, but they are short ones in-between riffs, so after a couple of bars of a breakdown, it goes back into a fast riff. The intro track is a lot like their first intro from Allegiance as well, making it build up for what was to come, and the other instrumental (Tribulations) was also like an intro to Divided.
The bass plays what the guitars are playing most of the time, yet there are some bass sweeps here and there during the course of the record, but you don't really hear it accept in some of the breakdowns and when the guitars go into a higher register. The drums are less over the top with the fills, but Leche is still doing some interesting fills and is still really tight. Lastly, the vocalist utilizes a metalcore scream/growl and the hardcore shouting which works for what the music has.
The lyrics are more of the same from the first record, about rebellion and risking it all and whatnot, mostly "tough guy" lyrics, but they fit the atmosphere of the record. The album cover is also really cool 'cause it looks like a futuristic setting, maybe telling us how much they grew as musicians over the 5 year span.
Production of Instinct is quieter in a sense cause Allegiance seemed louder, but it's still crystal clear as you can hear every riff and drum fill and you can understand what the vocalist was screaming.
Vocals are a little generic -5
The interludes don't really help the music -10
It could have been a little longer -5
To conclude, this was a great record and anyone who liked their first record will dig this. One of the best records of 2011. Go buy it.