California deathcore outfit As Blood Runs Black's sophomore outing doesn’t stray too far from the frenzied, double kick/breakdown-heavy, post-hardcore brutality of their 2006 debut, but the band’s familiar, everything-in-its-right-place approach is executed with such precision that it’s hard not to get swept away in all the rote fury. At just over 30 minutes, Instinct hardly wears out its welcome, blasting through 11 tracks that bring to mind the Black Dahlia Murder, peppered with moments of Protest the Hero-inspired, tech-heavy flash. Stand-out cuts like “Legacy,” “Restrict,” and the brutish but melodic title track hold up well against the tight, beefy production, and the mid-album keyboard instrumental “Tribulations,” which tries to insert a much-needed breath into the proceedings, is reliably atmospheric, even if it does comes off like the cue for a late-'90s horror game cut scene.
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AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger