Shai Hulud – Reach Beyond the Sun (Metal Blade, 2013)

11183_JKTSince 1995, Shai Hulud has been one of the leading lights of metalcore. I’m not talking about metalcore as in: “Hey! Let’s rip off Slaughter of the Soul and throw in some breakdowns!” I’m talking metalcore as in the metallic hardcore that evolved out of crossover; a true fusion of the heartfelt aggression of hardcore and the compositional complexity of heavy metal (ok, I know that description sounds like it came straight from a PR e-mail blast, but it’s the fucking truth).

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Early Graves – Red Horse (No Sleep Records, 2012)

If you were to listen to Early Graves’ Red Horse without knowing anything about the band’s history, you’d probably never guess that this is a band that has risen from the ashes of tragedy.  This is not a band that sounds broken down or beaten; this is a band that sounds lean, mean and hungry, ready to raise Hell and rip some fucking heads off.  It is a testament to Early Graves’ intestinal fortitude that they were not only able to recover from losing their original vocalist in a horrible accident, but to write, record and release their definitive album (so far) in the process.
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