Review Summary: Misanthropy perfected.
Matt Fox is a fuc
king machine. It can't be stated in any other way. The man is the lifeblood of Shai Hulud. In their 18 year career, the upstate New York by way of Florida metalcore act has been through twenty seven other members but somehow Matt Fox has always been there, standing at the center, continuing on with his dark and misanthropic musical vision. Their first three records are the type of legend within the hardcore punk community. Hell, the entire up swell of “melodic hardcore” acts such as Hundredth and Counterparts as of late owes its entire existence to That Within Blood Ill-Tempered
and Hearts Once Nourished with Hope and Compassion
, but nothing in the current scene has even come close to what Shai Hulud accomplished over a decade ago.
Reach Beyond the Sun
is 34 minutes of Shai Hulud in their best form since Geert Van Der Velde was behind the mic in 2003. Where their 2008 record Misanthropy Pure
tried, and much to its detriment, a bit too hard to compete with the rising heaviness of late 2000's hardcore, Reach Beyond The Sun
mends that misstep by bringing back the beautiful guitar leads and pin point precise technicality that once defined the band, only upping them in spades. Tying the entire “back to our roots” vibe together is the return of original vocalist Chad Gilbert to the fold. He sounds just as pissed and vitriolic as he did as a teenager on Profound Hatred of Man
. One only has to listen to opening trio of “The Mean Spirits, Breathing”, “I, Saturnine” and the title track “Reach Beyond the Sun” to know this shi
t brings the business. The bouncy finger board frenetics are hypnotizing and Matt Covey's circular patterns behind the kit pound heavier than the pit at your local all ages venue. Yet it is “Man Into Demon” that truly shines out of the album's 11 tracks. Just as the album feels like the spiritual successor to 2003's That Within Blood Ill-Tempered
, “Man Into Demon” is the blood brother of that album's best track “Given Flight By Demon's Wings” as it culls the same lyrical territory all while improving on the tried in true formula in new ways.
It is absolutely remarkable what Shai Hulud have done on Reach Beyond The Sun
. Not only have they reaffirmed their place as hardcore royalty, they have released what could arguably be considered the best album of their career and the best album the genre has seen in years.