Review Summary: A varied but consistent compilation featuring a pleasing mix of hard-to-come-by material; In this case, the 'quality' and the 'quantity' balance out.A Profound Hatred Of Man
is a title that would serve well as an alternative label for Shai Hulud’s later release, Misanthropy Pure
. The idea of a hatred being ‘profound’, particularly a hatred that is aimed at an entire species, seems to denote a wish for total apartness from such miscreants. In honesty, it’s a well-worn musical theme, particularly in the realm of hardcore music, which thrives primarily because of disdain aimed in an abundance of directions. Perhaps the fact that this hatred is ‘profound’ is the reason the release stands head and shoulders over so many of its’ contemporaries. If anything, this is the release that should be deemed ‘pure’. Demonstrably more consistent and displaying a more significant amount of finesse than what could be considered its’ sister piece, A Profound Hatred Of Man
is an intense, blistering experience that sacrifices no energy in its’ pursuit of complete and utter annihilation, of both the eardrums, and the human race. The first three tracks of the release are the only ones featuring on the original EP, with the majority of the tracks being remastered recordings or covers that have been added for the reissue. The idea of Shai Hulud using other band’s songs to peddle their own unique message seems a little counter-productive, but the resultant element of fun this brings to the release allows listeners to appreciate the band in new, even quirky ways.
The original EP songs, ‘Hardly’, ‘If Born From This Soil’ and ‘For The World’ are Shai Hulud on top form, showcasing their aggression in the form of up tempo, pacey hardcore tracks with melodic refrains and especially noticeable grooves, especially in the second track. Having more of an aura of modern hardcore than later releases, the use of thunderous, stampeding riffs that assault the senses of the listener are brilliantly judged and wonderfully orchestrated, with the distortion and dissonance never rendering the sonic movements messy or discordant. ‘For The World’ frequently changes time signatures and goes from speedy hardcore anthem to chugging metalcore in an instant. A similar tone can also be found on later track ‘Set Your Body Ablaze’, which features a shout-along section more in-keeping with traditional hardcore. The amalgamation of genres is pleasing, even sublime, allowing listeners multiple elements to savour in a single track, as opposed to switching influences between songs. The following three tracks are remastered versions of songs found on Shai Hulud’s split with fellow hardcore band, Indecision. The remastering serves its’ purpose well and the production sounds crisp. ‘The Bonds Of Those Who Have No Understanding Of Consequences’ is still a fun listen, particularly the breakdown midway through the song that chugs along but is set to Chad Gilbert’s vicious vocals in an inharmonious yet unifying way. ‘Love Is The Fall Of Every Man’ has a more harmonic undertone however, going so far as to implement Van Halen-style high-note plucking. This, coupled with the typically aggressive sound results in a more complacent, but no less spirited track. The structure of the song almost seems to mimic the traditional song structure of verse-chorus-verse-chorus through its’ repeated use of motifs to symbolize these movements, feeling both quirky and rather sharp.
‘When One Bests Defeat’ rounds out Shai Hulud’s creative output with a show-stoppingly violent crash, making more prominent use of low tones as a device to build up to a dramatic clash of instrument sounds, and when the music briefly stops, only for Gilbert to roar ‘a sad, bitter man, whose contempt for himself exceeded his contempt for the world’, It’s caustic and intense, and despite being remastered, retains all the raw emotion of the original split recording. Following this is a Bad Brains cover, ‘Fearless Vampire Killers’. The marriage of the two styles of hardcore works well, sounding almost like a young man’s Bad Religion. Like ‘Set Your Body Ablaze’, The track was featured on Shai Hulud’s split with Another Victim, A Whole New Level Of Sickness
, as was the cover of Bad Religion’s ‘Anesthesia’. The decision to keep the archetypical Bad Religion rhythm in the song and simply up the proverbial ‘heaviness’ ante is one for which we are eternally grateful, as too much tweaking could have rendered this song a complete misfire. Thankfully, this is not the case, and the song feels as true to Bad Religion’s legacy as it does to Shai Hulud’s own. A NOFX cover, a cover of Metallica’s ‘Damage, Inc.’ and a forgettably brief and silly outro close the album. The two final covers are serviceable, with ‘Damage, Inc.’ probably being the better of the two, finding the happy medium between heavy metal sensibilities and punk ideals. The incorporation of a couple of new elements into the songs serve to keep them fresh, but they don’t feel like anything particularly special, particularly in comparison to the rest of the release.
Having continued to go from strength to strength following the original release of the EP, it’s little wonder that Shai Hulud eventually decided to re-release an updated version of their acclaimed, if short, EP. With the addition of several remastered tracks, the EP has now become an eclectic compilation, and fans will enjoy the incorporation of the rare material. Despite the fact it is not a studio album, the potency of the hardcore sound that is present on every single LP Shai Hulud have released is present here, and if anything, it feels almost more comfortable. The sound is primarily one of aggression, but the uniqueness exhibited here, particularly in terms of converting classic punk songs into hardcore powerhouses with metalcore undertones, shows Shai Hulud as one of the most intriguing and deliberate bands working in hardcore today, and even though this isn’t a studio album, it’s a fine addition to the band’s discography.