Shai Hulud - Just Can't Hate Enough X 2: Plus Other Hate Songs (Cover Artwork)

Shai Hulud

Just Can't Hate Enough X 2: Plus Other Hate Songs (2015)

No Sleep Records

The title Just Can’t Hate Enough X 2: Plus Other Hate Songs is – admittedly – a bit of a mouthful. But Shai Hulud has never been known for succinct song and album titles, which isn’t even to mention their Tolkien and Glengarry Glenross-influenced lyrical content. At first glance, the band’s new EP might seem like a phoned-in attempt to capitalize on the unexpected wave of accolades their 2013 comeback record on Rev – Reach Beyond the Sun – garnered for them. Only three brand new songs – one of them, less than a minute long – fluffed out by five covers, all with the word “hate” in their title, all featuring a different vocalist? I’m a huge Shai Hulud fan, but even from where I’m sitting that comes off gimmicky. But somehow the band pulls this thing together. For the most part.

The three original songs, even the short one, are fantastic additions to Hulud’s catalog. Not a one of them would have sounded out of place on Reach Beyond the Sun, or even 2008’s Misanthropy Pure. All the Shai Hulud hallmarks are here: Matt Fox’s trademark guitar wizardry, a hugely percussive and tight rhythm section, creative song structures, and top-notch vocals. However, I absolutely can’t decipher the differences in vocal delivery between any of these songs. Each track is billed with a different vocalist, but – at least to this reviewer – they all sound the same. Rachel Aspe of Eths, Mike Perez of No Bragging Rights, and Andrew Neufeld of Comeback Kid and Figure Four, comprise the roster of these first three songs and I couldn’t tell the difference. All I know is that they sounded good.

A slew of covers follows, the stand-outs being A Chorus of Disapproval’s “Just Can’t Hate Enough” (featuring Isaac Golub who actually sang for A Chorus of Disapproval) and “Hate, Myth, Muscle, Etiquette” by Propagandhi (featuring Jesse Barnett of Stick To Your Guns). Two great tracks that can go right up there next to Hulud’s renditions of “Anesthesia” and “Linoleum.” The band’s covers of their own “A Profound Hatred of Man,” Excel’s “Blaze Some Hate,” and Sheer Terror’s “Just Can’t Hate Enough”? Not as stellar. But I do think it was a stroke of genius to have Shawna Potter of War On Women sing back-ups on a Sheer Terror cover. Paul Bearer – the Archie Bunker of hardcore – would probably choke on a pirogi if he heard it.

All in all, Just Can’t Hate Enough X 2 is another strong release from Shai Hulud. They may not be as prolific as their peers, but when they release a record, it’s always a wonderful thing to experience. And truth time: any pickiness I may have towards the new EP is due mostly to the fact that I can’t contain my excitement for the band’s next proper LP – if we should ever be so lucky.