Former vocalist and current New Found Glory guitarist Chad Gilbert signed on to produce the album and ended up laying down the vocals as well, but did not rejoin the band permanently. Despite a five-year gap between records (their last release was 2008's Misanthropy Pure), Shai Halud’s fourth offering sees the band at their absolute best, delivering a truly unforgettable record.
Not drifting far from their familiar musical styling, the songwriting on this record is unrelenting, with an eye on the metallic craft. Song variations are fluid and unforced. The album’s opener ‘The Mean Spirits, Breathing” leads the charge, and is further complimented by the energetic title track.
Featuring a powerful vocal track and an unforgettable structure, “Reach Beyond The Sun” is a perfect moment of a record that does not stop its push. Perhaps the most pleasant surprise on the album was found with “A Human Failing,” with driving melodic hooks that break up Shai Halud’s tension fueled attack that is pervasive throughout the rest of the record.
Led by a fantastic production by Gilbert, Reach Beyond The Sun is a fantastic return to form from a band that has poured their soul into this record. The only drawback is to be found in the overuse of gang vocals on every track from the varied assortment of guest vocalists the band enlisted for the effort.
But do not allow that aspect to be a distraction, the greater theme of honesty and an unforgiving effort is what makes this album special. Fans who treasure this record do so because it feels right to. Solid, honest, and fierce, this is what a great hardcore record feels like.
(Released February 19, 2013 on Metal Blade Records)