As Blood Runs Black – Ground Zero – 8.25/10
– Like Abysmal Dawn, it has only been three years since the release of Instinct, yet it feels so long ago. This album seemed like it wasn’t going to happen due to periods of inactivity, controversies, and the possible threat of breaking up. Still, through all that, it finally happened. I have a special attachment to this band. They are from my area. I have watched this band grow, from being local heroes to being a name known world wide. I have stuck with them, despite the fact that it seems that they are constantly being hated on for new members and an allegedly new sound. I on the other hand have nothing but praise for Ground Zero. As Blood Runs Black has a signature sound. It is a mix of death metal, melodic death metal, and deathcore. Many bands utalize this sound, but ABRB has always done it right in my opinion. From slightly improving and adding more diversity with their 2nd album, to the addition of clean vocals on this album. They have progressed, which is what I like to see. I feel that it is good that they are adapting with the times because they are still writing catchy, memorable, and heavy songs, but now there is a higher emphasis on the melodic moments of the band. The album starts (like the previous two have) with a track called “City Limits” that is short, straight, and to the point before going into “Insomniac” (featuring a prominent slapped bass tone and clean vocals in the background) and “Ground Zero” which feel like they both could have fit perfectly on Instinct. “Vision” is the first surprise with a Hatebreed like chorus and clean vocals in the forefront during the bridge. “All Or Nothing” and “Chapters” show great clean and lead guitar tones coming from both players. “An Oath” is a ballad featuring most clean vocals and might be the most controversial song for people who think that the band are “selling out”. It is also my personal favorite song on the album and the vocal delivery is very emotional and well done. “Eulogy” contains a fantastic chorus, and they end the album with a pair of songs called “Surrender” and “Survival Rites” that both contain chants and group vocals that ensure that the album leaves off on a very strong note. My only complaint is how short it is. After all this time, it feels like ABRB should have so much more material. I would love this album to allow them to continue releasing albums more consistently. Time will tell if they are able to do that. But this is an excellent addition to their catalog. For those who haven’t given them a chance since Allegiance, listen to this with open ears. I guarantee that you’ll find something that you like.