Band: Shai Hulud
Album: Reach Beyond The Sun
Label: Metal Blade Records
Just like most other genres of music, hardcore seems to have a few distinctly different schools of thought within it. Two of the more prominent approaches are “hardcore punk” and “metalcore” (in the Converge sense, not the Killswitch Engage sense). Shai Hulud seems to float the line between these two quite precariously. Without a doubt hardcore to the very foundation, Reach Beyond The Sun is a fantastic display of just how versatile Shai Hulud can be.
Trading between furious riffs, beatdowns and gang vocals, Reach Beyond The Sun has all the building blocks for a very successful hardcore album. From the very first moment, this album is at full speed–not wasting a single second before getting down to business. Most of the album, however, switches between seething, mid-tempo sections and full out sprints, making sure to avoid any sort of listener complacency.
Most of the things that make Reach Beyond The Sun a solid album, setting it apart from rest of their hardcore cohorts, are pretty subtle. The most valuable of these subtleties is the guitar work. Rather than sticking to the styles, keys and chords that have been cemented into the hardcore canon, Matt Fox ventures into a number of different disciplines to adapt different styles of guitar into the hardcore sound. For instance, the opening of “A Human Feeling” is reminiscent of the sort of stuff that Converge has experimented with in recent records; the guitar main guitar licks in “Reach Beyond The Sun” are other great examples of Fox reaching just a bit outside the box.
At its core, though, Reach Beyond The Sun is a very earnest hardcore record with much more to absorb than simply the surface level. If you’re just trying to mosh, though, Shai Hulud still can bring it. Another strong release from one of the most consistently solid bands in hardcore. I can’t say it’s anything truly groundbreaking, but there’s no real need for that when you’ve dialed in your sound as well as Shai Hulud have.
Reviewed by: Jordan Munson