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"That Within Blood Ill-Tempered" (Revelation Records; 2003)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

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Given my understanding of Shai Hulud's history, standing in the hardcore world, and copious technical and songwriting skills, I made sure I approached "That Within Blood Ill-Tempered" with patience and focus. I tried numerous times to give this CD a fair shot after receiving it and couldn't get into it or was distracted by other things. Rather than 'just get it over with' and write a half-assed review I decided to shelve it until a later date.

After about a month and a half of deliberate avoidance I finally decided to give Shai Hulud's "That Within Blood Ill-Tempered" another shot -- you can't let an obligation sit around forever, you know. I'm still unable to listen to it all the way through more than once, but I was able to approach it with a more open ear. And, naturally, an appreciation for the band developed as well.

I've often heard that Shai Hulud was a mathcore or calculus metal band. I don't quite see it that way; I'll leave the calculus metal tag for a band like The Dillinger Escape Plan. Shai Hulud's "That Within Blood Ill-Tempered" is more of a hardcore record given that it lacks The Dillinger Escape Plan's maniacally crafted starts and stops and shards of metallic mayhem in the hardcore form. The only album I can compare this to would be Cave In's "Until Your Heart Stops" although that disc is a little bit more artsy than "That Within Blood Ill-Tempered."

The nine tracks of "That Within Blood Ill-Tempered" (what is with that title?) are squarely in the hardcore genre, but as I implied before, Shai Hulud are not just an average hardcore band. Shai Hulud stretch, pull, push, and massage the hardcore genre to the point where a conflagration of influences result in a convergence of stylistic influences wrapped in complex song structures. Sometimes complex song structures lead to a disjointed listening experience, but on "That Within Blood Ill-Tempered" the complex song structures actually heighten the enjoyment of the songs. The vocals are lacking a bit in melody and the excessive wordplay actually detracts from the overall delivery.

"That Within Blood Ill-Tempered" is not something that will be a frequent resident in my CD player, but will provide a nice contrast to similar bands that I might listen to on occasion.

"That Within Blood Ill-Tempered" was produced by Shai Hulud.

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Rating Guide:

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) A classic. This record will kick your ass.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) So-so. You've heard better.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

restinks.jpg (954 bytes) Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2003 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 01 Dec 2019 12:47:22 -0500.