Album Review: Shai Hulud - 'Reach Beyond the Sun'

10 March 2013 | 4:03 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

A key album in 2013.

More Shai Hulud More Shai Hulud

Enduring New Yorkers (by the way of Florida) Shai Hulud were a breath of fresh air when they first emerged in the mid to late 90’s and that renewed spirit is thankfully still present in 2013. Forget line-up changes, the musical continuity remains.

Fourth studio album – and first in five years – ‘Reach Beyond the Sun’ is the reflection of a band still unashamedly doing things their own way. Sure, that’s a general and obvious way of putting it, but Shai Hulud remain honest, humble and evidently driven. Those three qualities are always recipes for success when put into the musical melting pot.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

Featuring New Found Glory’s Chad Gilbert on vocals (also serving as album producer), ‘Reach Beyond the Sun’ feels a little closer aligned with the hardcore range. Yes, this has been the band’s ballpark, but the sound has always swayed in between the punk and also metal styles. It comes as no surprise though, with Gilbert merely pressing the play button again and resuming formalities. In the same manner that made debut ‘Hearts Once Nourished with Hope and Compassion’ so well received, Gilbert again slots in with the rest.

The Mean Spirits, Breathing’ is assertive and features some well-placed background vocals. This is a passionate album if nothing else. ‘Reach Beyond the Sun’ and ‘A Human Failing’ are the staples. At times heavy, at times melodic – Shai Hulud contrast well.

Man Into Demon…’ is strong and feels (or rather, sounds) like a song that will easily make the addition to a live setting on any future set lists. ‘To Suffer Fools’ yet another punchy track. What ‘Reach Beyond the Sun’ achieves is a neat balance. The abrasive points are not overwhelming and the melodic points are not deterring. The album is mapped out and hits all its points. Each track transitions into the next.

A decent album by a musically sincere band. That says it all really.

'Reach Beyond the Sun' should feature heavily in the 2013 playlists of hardcore kids and metalheads alike. Agressive, decisive and confident - another Shai Hulud gem.

1. The Mean Spirits, Breathing

2. I, Saturnine

3. Reach Beyond The Sun

4. A Human Failing

5. Man Into Demon: And Their Faces Are Twisted With The Pain of Living

6. Medicine To The Dead

7. To Suffer Fools

8. Think the Adder Benign

9. Monumental Graves

10. If a Mountain Be My Obstacle

11. At Least a Plausible Case for Pessimism