Shai Hulud - A Comprehensive Retrospective (Cover Artwork)

Shai Hulud

A Comprehensive Retrospective (2005)


Hardcore bands come and go faster than the crappy Mexican food I just ate. Most take the form of one of those revolving doors with members joining and leaving and forming new bands that half the time sound the exact same as the old band they were almost involved in. For the most part, Shai Hulud is one of those bands. The only difference is that they have been busier since their demise than they were throughout their short but sweet career.

A Comprehensive Retrospective... is just that, a collection of early recordings, a few live tracks and a few demos. It includes songs recorded for their first demo with their original original lead singer Damien Moyal as well as the first demo with their original vocalist Chad Gilbert from Hearts Once Nourished With Hope and Compassion fame.

The first couple tracks were recorded in 1995 with Moyal on vocals. Early Shai Hulud resembles all the Shai Hulud that some of us learned to love. Moyal has a biting, bark-like scream and although the songs itself aren't nearly as complex as more recent Shai Hulud songs, it is still a familiar song. The lyrics are brutally honest and intensely angry, and the guitars reflect this. However, the guitars do not do their standard guitar-hook-leading-into-yet-another-guitar-hook-into-another-guitar-hook etc. thing nearly as much as they did before their demise. It's an unpolished sound, but in the world of hardcore, nothing works better.

The most interesting part about A Comprehensive Retrospective... is to watch the slow progression of Shai Hulud into what they became before they died: by far one of the more intense hardcore acts in existence. A lot of times, when bands release B-sides of sorts, they release songs that got most of their way through the recording stage, almost to the point of mastering..not with this album. The Chad Gilbert demos are hideous sounding and the tracks of Matt Fox recording his guitar riffs are even worse sound quality. But this is a view into the band that now we only see on little DVD extras showing the band behind the scenes, and for a band now defunct, it is a bit hard to do that. Likewise, the live songs have a poor quality, but this fits the overall scheme of the whole album.

It is a retrospective album: nothing more, nothing less. This is an album for the tried and true Shai Hulud fans that have nothing better to do than eagerly await the new Zombie Apocalypse release like me. Shai Hulud may sort of live on in the Warmth of Red Blood, but the hardcore world will probably never see such a fine-tuned machine of pure rage in a long while.

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