With literally thousands upon thousands of metal and hardcore bands that having been popping up since 2002 and the many that continue to surface today, it’s becoming even harder for a band to distinguish itself in this overcrowded scene. There’s one of two things a band has to be to truly standout in the field : either one extremely talented, or two extremely innovative. As Blood Runs Black definitely falls into the first category. While there’s plenty of bands out there playing this style of tech metal meets hardcore well (Parkway Drive, August Burns Red, Through The Eyes Of The Dead), ABRB ranks up alongside any of the heavyweights of the genre. And thus far this year there hasn’t been an album of this sort that can even match “Allegiance.”
Like it’s been stated, “Allegiance” brings together all the best elements of metal and hardcore. For the metal fans there’s plenty of blast beats, intricate metallic riffing, and full on shredding speed. For the hardcore crowd there’s also an array of 2-step parts and breakdowns. The musicians of the band though are highly talented at what they do. The guitarists are more than capable of writing complex, dazzling solos as well as heavy, chugging breakdowns. The drumming is top notch, as it is with most metalcore of this type, as shows that the man behind the kit not only knows his double bass, but also understands the importance behind creative fills and time signatures. The vocals stay in the shriek range most of the time, occasionally reaching down for a death metal growl. There’s no emo clean singing of any nature, which is definitely a plus for ABRB because it wouldn’t fit in at all with their style.
As far as the songs go, every single one is absolutely an enjoyable listen. When they shred, they shred, and when they chug, they chug. After the short “Intro” track, which is more or less a small breakdown to get the listener in the mood for the album, “Allegiance” takes off with the soaring “In Dying Days”, which is full of powerful riffs, throaty screams, hammering drum work, and heavy breakdowns. The songs don’t have the greatest diversity among them (except for the nice interlude track “Pouring Rain” which has clean guitars and atmospheric effects) but that doesn’t really affect any of the listen, because the 8 tracks are so good. Picking favorites would be difficult because every song is equally as good as its predecessor. “Hester Prynne” and “Beneath The Surface” are right up any metalhead’s alley, and the hardcore elite will feel right at home with songs like “Strife (Chug Chug)” and “The Beautiful Mistake.”
“Allegiance” has really set the standard for all metalcore albums of this type which might hit the shelves this year. Its musicianship is top-notch, the song writing is dead on, and the intensity is all any fan could ask for. This is really an album that any fan of metalcore should not be without. Other worthy recommendations to go along with this would be Parkway Drive’s “Killing With A Smile”, Through The Eyes Of The Dead’s “Bloodlust” and August Burns Red’s “Thrill Seeker.” Other than that this is definitely a metalcore fan’s wet dream. Blast it as loud as it gets.