Review Summary: Monumental bands earn little more than monumental praise.”Come forth from darkness, though I promise you no light.”
In which Shai Hulud lives up to the monstrous name it took up all those years ago, Reach Beyond the Sun
is a culmination of all that Shai Hulud is, and has been: fast-paced, aggressive melodic hardcore that feels like it would shake the Earth to its core and reave all doubt in its wake.
”These lips are far from silenced.”
There’s no denying that this album has an inherent feel from the get go, in terms of the soundscapes presented, that this album is massive
. In comparison to former albums, Reach Beyond the Sun
is truly reaching for its greatest capabilities, the production just sounding larger, more spacious and like the band itself is breaking down barriers; as if you could play this album loud enough that it would tear down walls and truly flourish in boundless opportunity.
Breathing ferocity and new life into the music, original vocalist Chad Gilbert once again takes the music to another level as his vocals tear through the melodious guitar riffs, the juxtaposition of contextual intensities bounce between each other and build steam and reveal the natures of passion and emotional hardcore. The opening trilogy of the album, ‘The Mean Spirits, Breathing’, ‘I, Saturnine’ and ‘Reach Beyond the Sun’, open the record on a high note quite unlike any other: blasting out skull crushing riffs accompanied by similar song-structures used on the band’s sophomore album That Within Blood Ill-Tempered
, where the songs are always progressing, shifting and hearkening back to key moments and developing the independence and substantial essence of particular riffs and choruses. As ‘I, Saturnine’ ends, the finality of the closing riff is soon forgotten as a more evolved, or developed version of that riff blasts open the floodgates to the rest of the album and the title track. This is just the beginning.
”With just one spark, I can rekindle the Sun.”
Flowing with ease and almost instantaneous memorability, each song feels like a natural progression from where the band had come from with That Within Blood Ill-Tempered
. ‘A Human Failing’ seeing a darker, slow-paced, riff-driven ballad-of-sorts, contesting to be re-listened again and again as you make your way through the album. ‘Man Into Demon: And Their Faces Are Twisted With The Pain of Living’ being a soulful partner-song to the classic ‘Given Flight By Demons’ Wings’. Even the opening song ‘The Mean Spirits, Breathing’ has lyrical call-backs to Hearts Once Nourished With Hope and Compassion
. And as if to fully support the claim of Reach Beyond the Sun
culminating all of what Shai Hulud is, the song ‘Medicine to the Dead’ features three of the band’s former vocalists: Damien Moyal, Matt Mazzali and the ever-fierce Geert van der Velde.
”I would move a mountain, or see it crumble as I break it down.”
The album closes with the stand-out track ‘At Least a Plausible Case for Pessimism’, encompassing all of what Matt Fox’s guitar intricacies have to bring in their beauty, Gilbert’s vocals sounding as strained and as ardent as ever, the song feeling downcast and poignant in its style of melancholic progression. It’s at once immediate that the utter flair and engrossing details of this album are all over, so you reach over to replay. And listen. And absorb. After many years, have no fear, rejoice; Shai Hulud is back.
“Extend. Outreach. Reignite.”