Shai Hulud! That is just happiness right there. Their new album is entitled Reach Beyond the Sun. Metal Blade dropped the album February 19th. It was a little late for a Valentine’s Day gift, but if you truly love someone, the wait is worth it.
Reach Beyond the Sun starts out strong. "The Mean Spirits, Breathing" is a hard driving tome that sets the stage for a brutal album. If you aren’t familiar with Shai Hulud, they are a mixture between punk rock, heavy metal, and skater metal. The vocals are bombastic and in your face. This isn’t a problem as Chad Gilbert can scream with diction. You can understand clearly what he is singing about. If your eyes did a double take, you aren’t mistaken. This is the same former Shai Hulud singer Mr. Gilbert. He hasn’t been in the vocal chair for Shai Hulud in ten years but you can’t tell by his performance. His voice is as strong and forceful as ever! Chad also produced the album.
Reach Beyond the Sun is fast paced, if you blink, you might miss something special. Reach Beyond the Sun is worthy of multiple repeats. The highlight is definitely Matt Fox’s guitar work. The overall tone and compositions are just pristine. He’s joined by Matt Fletcher on bass. Fletcher’s bass adds a layer of harmony that produces a rich and full sound for all the songs.
"A Human Failing" is just an awesome song. Gobsmacking is the word I use. The opening 35 second riff moves you to the core. It has that catchy beat that a lot of pop-metal songs in the 90s had. It totally draws you in. Matt Covey’s drumming is aces. "A Human Failing" one of those songs that, if you’re a dancer, you’d pop on whilst warming up and doing mirror work. Tyce Diorio would have a field day with this song.
The album Reach Beyond the Sun is just one good song after another. "Monumental Graves" has one the most unique compositions I’ve heard in a long while. There is so much going on the harmony, melody, and in some stanzas. I could listen to just this one song over and over again and find something new with every listen.
Another stand out track is "Medicine to the Dead". It features all the former Shai Hulud vocalists: Matt Mazalli, Damien Moyal, and Geert van der Velde. There is a feeling of inclusiveness as Reach Beyond the Sun has many other guest vocalists. Jay Pepito is on "A Human Failing", John Vigil on "If A Mountain Be My Obstacle", Louis Hernandez on "Main Into Demon". Justin Krauss, Martin Stewart, David Wood also make guest appearances on the album. It translates to an album that you feel compelled to share with your friends. You want others to listen and enjoy Reach Beyond the Sun.
Shai Hulud’s Reach Beyond the Sun is an amazing work. You instantly like all the songs on the album and they flow beautifully into each other. Reach Beyond the Sun is only thirty-four minutes long but it’s full of musicality. It’s an album that you can put on and listen to over and over again. It’s just as fresh on the one hundredth listen as it is on the first.