Shai Hulud - That Within Blood Ill-Tempered (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Shai Hulud

That Within Blood Ill-Tempered (2003)


So here it is, the follow-up album that's been awaited almost six years in the making, the album that's been delayed countless times, and quite possibly the album of the year. The hybrid of metal and hardcore has become obnoxiously stale as of late, so it's only fitting that the band that helped put it on the map is the band that returns to give it a well needed kick in the ass. Shai Hulud is an ever changing band, one that at times has featured the likes of Damien Moyal and Chad Gilbert(yes, that Chad Gilbert). How would the numerous changes affect this release?

The band's first and only full-length release, "Hearts Once Nourished With Hope And Compassion" is considered to be a masterpiece by many people; how could they possibly match that album? The answer is simple; they didn't match it, they delivered a collection of songs that completely bests anything they've released in the past. The riff driven, style is still quite prevalent here, but it is much more intricate and varied. The technical, metallic riffs weave a tight, melodic thread while the soul shattering vocals scream out the band's lyrical message. There are times where the band appears to be going one direction, only to completely catch the listener off guard with a change of pace. Geert van der Velde's vocals are fierce, aggressive, angry, and completely human at the same time. None of that "cookie monster" growling here, just screamed vocals that come from the heart, instead of the bowels of hell. The additional background vocals of Matt Fox and co. only add to the intense atmopshere of the songs.

Since their first release, Shai Hulud has become one of the most admired and quoted bands in hardcore and it's subgenres in terms of lyrical content. That should not change after this release, in fact, the lyrics have matured just a much as their musical canvas. In the song "The Consummate Dragon", van der Velde exclaims "Could any being bask in malevolence? As if it's indifference might pardon it. This tyrant. He is fatherless, with the arrogance of a being that insists it created itself. What can it create? This uninspired muse rules only barren lands. It cannot create a thing." That's just a small taste of the intellectual poetry this band calls it's lyrics.

With this release, Shai Hulud has set a standard that many will now strive for. You can rest assured that this album with spawn hordes of imitators, but to top this album would be a task of daunting difficulty. Like the lightning that colors the sky during a storm or the flower among the ashes of some long since extinguished fire, Shai Hulud has once again brought to us the beauty of destruction and rage. I don't like to make album of year lists, especially not this early, but a work of this magnitude deserves a top spot on anyone's list.