Misanthropy Pure by Shai Hulud
Release date : May 2008
Reviewed by Mark Fisher
Within 2008's music scene, Shai Hulud is likely the greatest testament to survival. In support of each respective album, the group practically rebuilds itself, and no two full lengths are sonically identical. Founding guitarist Matt Fox is the only wholly consistent piece within the puzzle, resembling the central block upon a bingo card - more specifically, the block which states “free space”. Bassist Fletcher has additionally experienced Shai Hulud's lofty moments, and low ebbs. For that reason, it's great to know that he still figures amongst the group's lineup.
Following vocalist Geert Van Der Velde's 2003 departure, the name Shai Hulud was scrapped in favour of the moniker The Warmth of Red Blood. In late April 2006, it was announced that the group had opted to resurrect the name Shai Hulud, and abandon the aforementioned title. Eric Dellon, who boasts stints as part of Zombie Apocalypse, and Shallow Water Grave, was announced as the group's new vocalist. Previously, Dellon had contributed backing vocals to 2003's That Within Blood-Ill Tempered (arguably the act's greatest full length). During early August, it was revealed that the group had inked a record contract with Metal Blade Records. The title of Shai Hulud's third studio full length was announced in March 2007, its name being Misanthropy Pure. Dellon was usurped by Matt Mazelli during 2007, whilst drummer Brian Go was replaced by Andrew Gormley. Tony Tintari, who drummed on the group's sophomore album, had left in 2004. Should Gormley, Shai Hulud's only member not to boast the forename Matt, feature upon the group's fourth full length, it's safe to bet that the sticksman will change his name to Matt.
A September 2007 issue was aimed towards, but that goal wasn't achieved. Laid down at Connecticut's Silver Bullet Media with Fox and Greg Thomas sharing production duties, mixing obligations fell to Eric Rachel at Trax East. In mid March 2008, a May issue date surfaced. One month later, the album's title cut was available for download via Metal Blade's official website. Directed, filmed, and edited by MyGoodEye's David Brodsky, its music video emerged in late May.
On April 27th, Shai Hulud performed at New England Metal and Hardcore Festival's tenth anniversary, taking place at the Palladium in Worcester, Massachussetts. In early May, the outfit performed several North American dates alongside Madball, and M. O. D.
In regards to Misanthropy Pure, various aspects warrant excitement. However, this reviewer is admittedly saddened by the loss of vocalist Geert Van Der Velde. In light of the fact that the album was issued via Metal Blade Records, assuming that the full length is both heavier and darker than 2003's That Within Blood Ill-Tempered is a safe option. If you arrived at that opinion, you were correct to do so. In certain respects, this choice falls in line with modern Metalcore's trappings. Shai Hulud maintains that distinct sound nonetheless, a unique styling which has drawn notoriety from several quarters. Difficult to pinpoint, it can yet be dubbed Metalcore. If your ears have previously caught a Shai Hulud tune though, you'll not mistakenly attach the composition to another group's name. Irrelevant of how crushing or how livid the group becomes, hope flickers regardless. Intentional or not, an eternally audible positive sound forms a major component of the group's arsenal, and the music inspires hope. For this specific reason, the act has been hailed as iconic amongst those within the Hardcore scene.
Upon Misanthropy Pure, magnificent anthems follow in quick succession, motioning the fist to constantly pump. The track listing which accompanied the group's last full length could've easily boasted “We Who Finish Last”, albeit at the expense of its crushing ambience. The group's nineties Hardcore roots are further explored within “In the Mind and Marrow”. Resembling a swarm of locusts, Mazelli's vocals envelope the listener until their earlobes are chomped upon, all whilst musical chaos ravages. If admirers conduct a search in the bid to discover machine gun Metal, then those admirers will surely stumble upon “Set Your Body Ablaze” and “Venomspreader”. Featuring portions of Fox's greatest guitar work to date, the words “circle pit” lie on the bed of one's tongue.
Don't let this review lend weight to a false impression, since issues certainly plague Misanthropy Pure. The new sonics become monotonous at specific junctures, and good tracks fail to receive due credit. Naturally, your focus shifts elsewhere. Audible elements culled from the virtually extinct nineties Hardcore scene will likely be missed by longtime admirers, since Shai Hulud were a timeless group in that respect. On the other hand, Misanthropy Pure illustrates a group which lives in current times, as opposed to a group singlehandedly straining to keep a genre alive. In most instances, Misanthropy Pure features winning material, and comprises the angriest anthems Shai Hulud have composed to date.