Review Summary: While each member knows what they are doing instrumentally Allegiance is let down by a wave of monotony; namely in the use of highly repetitive and recycled riff work.
When listening to 'Allegiance' what is easily noticed is the rapid aggression shown for the most part over the length of the album. When the listeners’ attention is focused on the instruments backing the screamed and growled vocal passages, they are introduced to some excellent musicianship. The most noticeable includes the fast paced onslaught found on the drum kick. The stick work is clean and precise, while the double bass work is also highly commendable. Due to fast tempos mostly used over the length of the album unfortunately creates a repetitive feel to the tracks as the blast beats, bass, and fills all start to feel the same.
Lifting the albums overall standard (even if only slightly) is the melodic and instrumental track ‘Pouring Reign’. This track alone breaks the patterns of overused riffs, and commonplace breakdowns that occur on Allegiance. And whilst this track itself becomes slightly repetitive with its overall chord progressions the thinner texture this provides this album with a level of diversity that is greatly needed.
Amidst an album flawed by the bands overall and combined song writing skill lies a record that will stand by its own right in the some-what degrading genre of deathcore. This becomes a tiresome listen when listened end to end and over again. The breakdowns are typical and uninteresting; the riff work becomes grating by the third track, the drum work even though displaying huge amounts of talent (and the respective potential this creates). On a positive level the bass work when heard provides a steady level of musicianship and some semi-interesting fills, this does not become too much as the bass efforts are not heard constantly over the course of this album.
Other parts of the bands instrumentation include the talented works of the guitar. The technical ability shown on this instrument alone deserves some credit once the listener gets past the over used riff lines and recycled ideas. Listeners should be able to focus on the expressive techniques found in your everyday metal album i.e. the pinch harmonics, sweep melody passages (these are commonly found in the solo work) and some off-beat rhythm lines. The vocal works of one Chris Blair does not break any new ground in the genre and displays the usual shrieks and growls to compliment the music being played behind him; this does not simply mean he is aggressive because the music is. This means that whilst doing vocals he is rhythmically aware of the passages he is time with (this can be recognised in the breakdown work of the second track ‘In Dying Days’.
‘Allegiance’ is a record that whilst having the makings of a quality deathcore album is let down dramatically by the lack of thought put into the song writing. This lack of thought becomes highly repetitive and a chore for the listeners to get through. It also should be noted that ‘Allegiance’ is the band’s first full length album and whilst not breaking any new ground in metal does present a little hope for the potential that may be developed on in future releases. Overall As Blood Runs Black’s debut release ‘Allegiance’ is an album that whilst is a tedious listen does have some instrumental merit when considering the talent these guys have, but are not able to present in an interesting manner. Worthy of a listen but may not receive too many repeats.