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Shai Hulud Misanthropy Pure

Shai Hulud - Misanthropy Pure
01. Venomspreader
02. The Creation Ruin
03. Misanthropy Pure
04. We Who Finish Last
05. Chorus of the Dissimilar
06. In the Mind and Marrow
07. To Bear the Brunt of Many Blades
08. Four Earths
09. Set Your Body Ablaze
10. Be Winged
11. Cold Lord Quietus
2008 Metal Blade Records

Reviewed by: Nick   //   Published: 5/21/2008

It is impossible not to recognize the impact that Shai Hulud has had upon the metal and hardcore scene since the band's inception in the mid-90s. Hearts Once Nourished with Hope and Compassion is without a doubt a genre classic, and the band's brand of technical melodic metalcore paved the way for countless other acts in the then developing musical style. And despite a continuously unstable line-up and a five year wait since the band's last proper studio recording, Shai Hulud is back with their Metal Blade debut, Misanthropy Pure.

Misanthropy Pure excels because the band has not abandoned their trademark combination of hardcore energy, engaging song structures, and subtle injections of melody. Many will be quick to point out the top notch production job on the record, potentially using it as grounds for dismissal, despite it being an expected aspect of a release on a major independent label. But suppose one looks at other influential metalcore acts that left their mark around the turn of the century. What does their recent musical output look like The Dillinger Escape Plan's mathematic intensity is still intact, but is unfortunately weighed down by the band's lackluster experimentations in the world of electro-rock. Poison The Well has ditched their songwriting approach of The Opposite of December era in favor of a questionable form of twang-filled post-hardcore. Cave In faired quite well with their transformation into a Failure-influenced rock act, but, despite a slight songwriting throwback in Perfect Pitch Black and the inclusion of older songs into their live set, the band's gritty origins continued to lay dormant. And as for Zao; well, who knows what went wrong there. In a genre where many of the main players from a decade ago have all but moved on to different styles, leaving the reigns to second and third generation acts, it's fucking great to have Shai Hulud back in the driver's seat. And no claims of overproduction will be able to dilute the satisfaction of having an influential band return with a record that sticks to their original style.

"Venomspreader" begins with a few dissonant notes before diving into a section of forceful up-tempo drumming and razor sharp riffing. The sub-two minute track changes directions effortlessly, weaving in and out of intense passages juxtaposed with brief periods of melody. "To Bear the Brunt of Many Blades" succeeds on a foundation of fast metallic riffing and reaches an emotional climax with its massive concluding breakdown. New vocalist Matt Mazzali meshes well with the band, delivering lyrics of typical Shai Hulud fare, such as his screams of "Undefined animosity is a device of the spineless, the means of a fool / Focused misanthropy is opposition to these dark hearts" in the disc's title track. The record also contains a surprise for old fans, as the band re-recorded a version of "Set Your Body Ablaze," a track originally appearing on their 2000 split with Another Victim.

Misanthropy Pure is simply a well-executed Shai Hulud record given a Metal Blade style production job. The record certainly isn't a replacement for Hearts Once Nourished..., but all of the elements that allowed Shai Hulud to define a slice of the metalcore genre still remain intact. Fans willing to accept a slightly more polished sound will have no trouble embracing Misanthropy Pure.

Bottom Line: Shai Hulud's reemergence into the hardcore and metal scene has been delayed for far too long. Misanthropy Pure revisits all of the energy, intensity, and melody of the band's past recordings, but does so with a cleaner and more marketable production job. And when the majority of the big names in late 90s metalcore have all moved on to different musical styles, it's much appreciated to have a band like Shai Hulud stick to what they know best. It's unlikely that a better metalcore album will be released this year.

biden_my_time_   posted 6/30/2008 6:08:24 PM
Sheer brilliance. this album is everything I've ever wanted Shai Hulud to be.
josh_   posted 6/16/2008 12:37:27 AM
actually none of the album is butchered. my friend J is on a few of the songs and all of them were taken in one shot and all rehearsed before hand. album is amazing. good to see them kickin again and deffinately sticking to originality rather than making the same music that everyone else has ripped them off of. im also glad to see metal blade actually putting money into one of their smaller bands for once.
ballz_   posted 6/12/2008 4:12:17 PM
I just picked up this release and it's ridic. Highbeamreview.com gave it A 9. http://www.highbeamreview.com/review.php?id=100
gluck is a faggot_   posted 6/3/2008 8:48:28 PM
When are you f*cking morons going to stop crying about poison the well not sounding like opposite of december?
xtruth speakerx_   posted 6/1/2008 12:49:48 AM
The recording quality of the old Set Your Body Ablaze sounds like shit. perhaps the new singer isn't as intense, but I could see why they would want to have a clear release of a classic song. who cares? I prefer the original... but I love the clarity of the new version. There are parts I couldn't quite make out before that I can understand now.

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