Shai Hulud - Reach Beyond the SunShai Hulud

Reach Beyond The Sun

01. The Mean Spirits, Breathing
02. I, Saturine
03. Reach Beyond The Sun
04. A Human Failing
05. Man Into Demon: Their Faces Are Twisted With The Pain Of Living
06. Medicine To The Dead
07. To Suffer Fools
08. Think The Adder Benign
09. Monumental Graves
10. If A Mountain Be My Obstacle
11. At Least A Plausible Case For Pessimism

[Metal Blade Records]

Shai Hulud have a history of always putting out some killer record of their signature blend of progressive metalcore and hardcore with those killer melodies that make any song memorable. This record has been in the making for quite some time now, and frankly, people were kind of starting to get restless. Did the album live up to all of the hype, or did it flatline and leave a sense of emptiness rather than purpose?

Coming into the record without a prior knowledge of their discography, they surely made a statement that will make anybody want to go and check out their entire catalogue of music, and makes an excellent case for the often hit-or-miss idea of “the comeback album.”  In short, Reach Beyond The Sun rocks. Songs go back and forth from fast-paced to slow and heavy, trudging their way through the piece like someone carrying a giant rucksack through battle. The album’s two opening tracks really get things off on the right foot, because those two songs are usually the songs that either will bore a listener to tears or make them go “HELL YEAH” and raise their horns. Some of the parts are even reminiscent of Leach-era Killswitch Engage, mostly on the vocal front. The entire album feels like it could’ve been A-grade KSE, no problem.

Aside from the vocals, which are absolutely stellar, the real trophy goes to guitarist Matt Fox, who’s intricate weaving of guitar around bass, drums, and vocals to create lush melodies and beautiful harmonies is surpassed by only Adam D. himself. There are times when you can tell he took some influence from D., for instance in the song ‘A Human Failing’, where the main riff resembles that of early New Wave Of American Heavy Metal bands. This does not make the record derivative in any sense, however, because you can clearly tell that the songs are Shai Hulud’s for the fact that it doesn’t follow an overtly predictable pop metal formula of harsh verse/clean chorus. Oh no, Chad’s harsh vocals are as evident as ever, and he has definitely not lost his touch. The vocals are vicious, biting, seething. They demand attention. Think Hatebreed and Converge meshing together and you have Chad’s vocal style.

Production-wise, this album is flawless. There has not been one record to come out in 2013 thus far that is as well produced as this album. If you think this is false, the when the record comes out, listen for yourself and then report back here with your consensus. Everything is evenly weighted, with the vocals being a little higher in the mix to accent Chad’s awesome vocal lines. The guitars and bass are superbly mixed, and honestly, there’s no tell-tale sign of any over-editing of the tracks on this album. Many modern metal records have a couple of spots where you can tell where a riff is looped or residual noise is tightly cut, but not here. This record is seamless, similar to Parallax II except not between individual songs, but within them. The drums are also very clean, and while sampled, they still retain a natural sound that is so hard to attain.

Overall,  Reach Beyond The Sun is a kickass record. It’s not a return for the band, but a continuation of a legacy paved for them since their 1997 debut. Shai Hulud have put out one of the most anticipated record of the year, and thus far, it doesn’t seem like they’ve lowered anyone’s expectations of what the band are capable of. Well done, gentlemen.

Shai Hulud – Reach Beyond The Sun gets…


– SS

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