Aggression and Progression
Shai Hulud is a group which has gained much attention and praise ever since their formation in the mid ’90s. They have been cited as influential to several bands and artists within extreme metal circles. Their music is best described as a fusion of metal, hardcore punk, and progressive. This fusion surely makes for an aggressive and extreme formula that shines wonderfully, and their latest album, Reach Beyond The Sun, is a great example of this.
The release features several key elements that make for an enjoyable listen. The guitar riffs are so well varied that they are likely to keep a listener’s attention, as it keeps the music from sounding too repetitive or boring. Though the songs tend to stay in a mid tempo range throughout the album, the tempo is still kept varied and the guitars layered. At several points, one can hear heavy chords being strummed over catchy single note melodies. Not only that, but the riffs are very creative and thoughtful, all while sounding very rich in tone and aggression. The drums are also very impressive and well played. They not only add a stop-start nature to the music, but also, the cymbal use is changed up quite often and the drum fills sound very well thought-out and destructive sounding. “Think the Adder Benign” and “Monumental Graves” are great examples.
However, the album is not without flaws. One of the elements that may keep listeners away is the vocals. Though the vocals may be appealing to fans of the metalcore genre, they are likely to seem very out of place to listeners who are not fans of that particular genre. Simply put, it makes for a very awkward combination to have extreme sounding metal music with hardcore sounding vocals, and it makes most songs sound off-putting, even if the music sounds quite amazing. That being said, that does not mean that the vocal delivery here is poor. Surely, the vocals sound very passionate in their delivery, but their style may not be for everyone.
Reach Beyond The Sun is an overall impressive release and is likely to become a highlight for this year’s metal releases. Highly recommended for those who enjoy their progressive metal and metalcore.