Your and my initial thoughts upon encountering this album are most likely "God damn that's a pretentious title." I personally think what it means is that the music and/or album abstractly represents the things one would find within "blood ill-tempered." Anger, sorrow, vengeance, and other abstract nouns that represent the emotions tied with blood ill-tempered inspire images of hatred and fit with the album's title, even if it is overwrought and confusing in its pretention. Ironically enough, Shai Hulud begins the second song on this album with the lyric "without pretention." We have a band making grandiose and lofty assertions about their musical style yet they defy their own concept within their lyrics. Even in writing out this paradox I'm becoming confused at the motives of Shai Hulud. However, despite the pompous insanity of their presentation and lyrics, Shai Hulud can't stop producing music that melts faces.
There is something visceral and brutal in every corner of this album. For those who have no familiarity with Shai Hulud, they play a form of hardcore that relies heavily on metal riffing (don't think Thrice, think Botch) and a song structure that most closely emulates those found in post-hardcore songs (think Trophy Scars). Every song is incredibly dense and powerful though their songs aren't completely atonal and painfully chromatic, which is what some bands do to make their music more brutal. Instead Shai Hulud, makes music that allows beautiful and interesting melodic gestures to peak through the mix at pivotal moments such that every song has a few moments that gives the listener the chills or incites them to throwdown (or maybe something less cheesy). This effect is not unlike what Between the Buried and Me would sound like if they blended their poppy prog sections and their death metal sections seamlessly instead of juxtaposed in a linear fashion. However, unlike Between the Buried and Me, everything here is in a minor key, and is [i]dark as fuck, which brings us full circle back to the lyrical content and presentation of the band.
They're absurd. They play as if they are making the most dark, profound, and insane music of all time (which they aren't) and it leaves their lyrics overdone and trite. However, this confidence in their importance leads Shai Hulud to play their songs recklessly and admirably. This album brims with fervor and passion for the music they create because they're very much into the fact that they're making music that [is] within blood ill-tempered. This produces an album of unforgettable presence and posture.
Aside from the x-factors of the album, Shai Hulud has some technically impressive moments in their music. As I mentioned earlier, the song structure is really interesting. I feel that they very rarely repeat ideas and sections throughout the whole album, unless it's on purpose, as in the invigorating refrain on "Scornful of the Motives and Virtue of Others," which brings the more brutal and brooding parts of the song back to where it started: impassioned, melodic and exciting. Shai Hulud will always use their most memorable and melodic moments as an opportunity to enrapture the listener without resorting to a cheesy turnaround or trite hook. In terms of the instruments, I am content. The instrumentals aren't meant to be the big feature of the music though they definitely have some presence here. Shai Hulud's riffing isn't speedy but it's strong and flavorful. The rhythm section isn't particularly oddball or anything like that but the rhythms are tight and well varied during breakdowns, which are often a weak spot in hardcore bands, mostly because they resort to banal beats for the brutal sections. Ultimately, the instruments are merely a means to convey the tight song structure and the amazing songwriting found on this album.
The endgame of Shai Hulud is that if you can never feel the album, you'll never like it. They're pompous and out of control but also incredibly refined and intelligent. They maintain so many paradoxes within their music that to truly love them it takes somebody who feels similarly about the importance of producing profound music to respect what they do, even down to their ridiculous, melodramatic lyrics. This album isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination but I think Shai Hulud knows that actions speak louder than words. So, though their lyrics may be a low point, what they actually do musically is potent and lovable, yet challenging and sharp.
Well, poor production doesn't neccessarily have to make or break an album....but personally its vitally important to the overall appeal of an album. Muffled guitars or vocals, distorted bass....these things might not doom an album into the pits of the dammed...but they can surely take it down a notch or two.
The production here, is exactly what it should be. The sound is crisp, clear and does its job in getting the package to the listener.
As a whole, I REALLY enjoyed this album. Sometimes lyrics which appear over the top to someone, make complete sense to someone else. But thats what individuality is and it should be embraced. Like you did, when you gave your opinion on them in this review.
Ya, it'll all mean different things to different people. But different people have different education levels, which can lead to differences in trustworthiness of opinion. I know a lot about creative writing and hardcore music. That's what Dancin' Man is implying.
And I'm a writer by trade as well as an English major. Writing something technically well and something that means something to someone, can be two completely different things.
Something can be brilliantly written....and yet have absolutely no meaning on its intended audience. Misplaced talent is not a virtue.
Again, while it IS over-done lyrically (and I never said otherwise) and they are not the kind I will nominate for any song writing awards....it is not missed upon me that there are people who like this.
To make a blanket statement like "people with a certain 'education level' like X and can see through Y. People with lesser education levels like Y and don't understand X", is just as ignorant as this album is overdone. The assumption that people with higher education levels, are then predisposed to a level of song writing snobbery, is flat out incorrect.
Who's flaw is worse? Those that can't understand, or those that think they do and judge because of it?
you seem to know your music and i gather that you have a good general intellegence but some of the comments i've seen left by you on other peoples reviews are well spiteful, chill out a bit it's music everyone likes everything different things and i resent people who can label anything as poor or otherwise. my album collection ranges from mindless self indulgence to mad capsule markets to the offspring and even to david gray. i think the variety is what maks music so great, surely you agree?
I agree that variety is nice. However that doesn't mean I should start listening to BS like Hawthorne heights just because I don't already listen to them. Writing a review is not just about saying whether you like something or not. It's qualifying the quality of an album. It's about analyzing it as much as it is about saying, "Hey I just like it." Of course I can label something as poor. The whole point of this site is to make comments on the quality of music. It's a review site!