Veterans on the hardcore scene, Shai Hulud have four albums in their bagage (this one being the fourth one) and a generous handful of underground releases to their name. On Reach Beyond the Sun, they explore further their own brand of progressive hardcore with hints of metalcore.
Musically, there is a lot of good stuff on this album, and the tunes on it are generally very well put together, nicely complex and overall interesting. With many changes, twists and turns, Shai Hulud definitely challenge their listeners, and they are not above incorporating several metallic riffs and various types of guitar leads into their music. The songs are sophisticated and complex, but Shai Hulud are, having more in commmon with TRC, for instance, than with your average mathcore band, also considerably melodic and much more accessible (and, I am sure, some will have it) better that Shai Hulud's colleagues in For the Imperium and The Dillinger Escape Plan.
So, musically, this is a very good album. Unfortunately, the yelled hardcore style vocals – while aggressive and emotive – are too one-dimensional, in my opinion. That is, there is nothing wrong with that vocal style per se, but with such complex music, melodic and more varied vocals would contribute much more to the overall texture of the music. As it is now, the vocals fall a bit flat.
Musically a success, Shai Hulud's Reach Beyond the Sun offers up a collection of interesting and challenging – but not inaccessible – progressive hardcore tunes, which serve as good alternatives to the more inaccessible releases the populate the mathcore and technical hardcore universe.
1. The Mean Spirits, Breathing
2. I, Saturnine
3. Reach Beyond the Sun
4. A Human Failing
5. Man Into Demon: And Their Faces Are Twisted With the Pain of Living
6. Medicine to the Dead
7. To Suffer Fools
8. Think the Adder Benign
9. Monumental Graves
10. If a Mountain Be My Obstacle
11. At Least a Plausible Case for Pessimism