There is a point midway through opening track "The Mean Spirits, Breathing" when hardcore legends Shai Hulud drop the pace to an almost crawl. It’s a brilliant moment that guarantees your attention is well and truly grabbed. While these slower moments are few and far between, the rest of Reach Beyond The Sun is littered with epic metallic hardcore.
Fronted by Chad Gilbert (of New Found Glory fame), Shai Hulud combine the thuggish chuggery of a band like Hatebreed with the complex, chaotic fury of a band like Converge. The cocktail of harsh, throaty vocals and street style gang vocals give tracks like "A Human Failing" an epic yet pit-friendly feel while "To Suffer Fools" may not have a massive, simple hook to ensnare the listener nevertheless the unrelenting, abrasive chuggery is guaranteed to have even the most staunch hardcore lover throwing down in the pit. Clocking in at just over half an hour, Reach Beyond The Sun is a great example of why the name Shai Hulud is held with so much respect within hardcore circles. When you listen to songs like "I, Saturnine", you’re hearing the sound of a band who have inspired so many melodic hardcore punk bands over the years and you’re hearing the sound of a band who will continue to do so for a long time yet.
And it has to be said that, while Reach Beyond The Sun is crushing on every musical level, the icing on the cake is Gilbert’s performance as the voice of the album. Now it seems we won’t have the treat of Gilbert fronting the band on tour but, you know what, listening to his flawless performance on Reach Beyond The Sun, kind of makes up for that and makes the experience of listening to this album such a special one.
01. The Mean Spirits, Breathing
02. I, Saturnine
03. Reach Beyond the Sun
04. A Human Failing
05. Man Into Demon: And Their Faces Are Twisted With the Pain of Living
06. Medicine to the Dead
07. To Suffer Fools
08. Think the Adder Benign
09. Monumental Graves
10. If a Mountain Be My Obstacle
11. At Least a Plausible Case for Pessimism