Shai Hulud

Reach Beyond The Sun

Written by: PP on 18/03/2013 23:38:16

Pioneering metalcore veterans Shai Hulud return with their fourth album called "Reach Beyond The Sun", their first one since 2008's "Misanthropy Pure". It's also their first album in 16 years to feature original vocalist Chad Gilbert (New Found Glory, believe it or not) handling the vocal duties (studio only), but given the revolving door this department of the band has experienced throughout their career, it has long ago ceased to matter for other than nostalgia purposes who's lending their pipes for a Shai Hulud release. Seven different vocalists have performed with the band live and in studio to date, five of which are found guesting on "Medicine To The Dead".

If "Misanthropy Pure" was a powder-keg style demonstration of relentless power and intense soundscapes after the more moderate and intricate structures found on "That Within Blood Ill-Tempered", then this new album is somewhere halfway between the two in terms of its aggression levels. Nowhere near as punishing as for instance "Venomspreader" from its predecessor, the songs on "Reach Beyond The Sun" draw primarily from the twisted and quintessentially Shai Hulud style riff work by only original member Matt Fox, who is considered to be one of the utmost pioneers of metalcore in the mid to late 90s. It's less about maddening tempo and hardcore/punk rooted instrumentation, and more about adding subtle melody lines within the angular riffs that were the driving force behind the original Shai Hulud releases before their hiatus. But at the same time, it stays consistent with the band's recent shift towards a more hardcore rooted stance, so it's a fairly middle-of-the-road release when compared against their (admittedly brief) discography.

Jonathan Vigil of The Ghost Inside guests on "If A Mountain Be My Obstacle", and Jay Pepito of Reign Supreme offers help on "A Human Failing". These are relatively uninteresting guest appearances in that without looking at the liner notes I wouldn't even have noticed they were on the album. That's also something you can say about the remainder of the album. While it stays true to the original Shai Hulud sound, aside from a few select highlights such as "Man Into Demon: And Their Faces Are Twisted With The Pain Of Living", the songs offer intricate metalcore in unusual hybrid structure with 90s style hardcore vocals on top, but fail to stick into mind in the same manner as Shai Hulud releases have done in the past. There's still quality musicianship and solid songwriting present all-around, but individual tracks don't have as huge of an impact throughout the album. Then there's also the ongoing problem of metalcore - no matter how original or different - being saturated well beyond the breaking point, so even the mighty veterans can't escape sounding a little bland at times. Still, Shai Hulud is still Shai Hulud, so if such measly criticisms don't matter to you, then "Reach Beyond The Sun" is comparable to the rest of their discography on albums even basis.


Download: The Mean Spirits Breathing, Man Into Demon: And Their Faces Are Twisted With The Pain Of Living
For the fans of: Earth Crisis, With Honor, It Prevails, Most Precious Blood, Life In Your Way, Patriarchs
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Release date 15.02.2013
Metal Blade

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