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Shai Hulud at The Talent Farm, October 24

Shai Hulud

The Talent Farm, Pembroke Pines

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Since the band's inception in 1995, Shai Hulud has seen more than its fair share of members come and go since it helped define a specific metallic hardcore sound.

Over the years, that sound has been consumed, adapted, and appropriated ad nauseam. However, as guitar guy Matt Fox enthusiastically quipped between songs during the band's performance last night: "Essentially, we're just a shitty local band from South Florida, and there's nothing else we would rather be."

See also: Derek Miller's Evolution: From Poison the Well to Sleigh Bells

The truth of the matter is that while most of the band's current members live scattered across the land (with Fox himself calling the Northeast home), Shai Hulud will always belong to the once-mighty South Florida hardcore scene. And as such, several generations of hardcore fans made the trek to the mosh sanctuary that is the Talent Farm to commune in the churn of Shai Hulud's chugging riffage and scream along with songs that now belong as much to the community as the band itself.

The bill itself was a proper marathon, with Miami bands Aversion and Homestretch kicking things off with a split set. The switch between bands was made seamless via a Snapcase cover that saw Homestretch frontman, George Geanuracos, join Aversion vocalist, Danny Lopez-Calleja, on the floor to terrorize the growing crowd with the heavy homage.

Other opening bands displayed the vast stylistic variances that live (kinda) harmoniously beneath the hardcore-punk umbrella: Orlando-based band Direct Effect had a foot in the '90s with a sneering and grungy punk assault; South Florida's XBishopX handled the heavy-handed and militant part of the evening; and Palm Beach's Axis thundered through the Talent Farm with the trademark jarring force and chug that has earned the young band a place in the national hardcore ranks.

Meanwhile, the touring acts were well aligned with Shai Hulud's own approach to hardcore, adding unique sonic elements, like spacey guitar effects and angular riffing, to the energy and ethos that separates hardcore from everything else with a punk bent. The Overseer and Octaves both represent a new generation of metallic hardcore that has returned to the original ideals of the much-maligned sub-genre, which has often been used as a misnomer for shitty metal bands that end every song with a breakdown or mosh part that goes on way too long.

Shai Hulud took to the Talent Farm's floor to close out the night, a gesture that made for a more intimate show, as well as one that spoke to the leveling power of hardcore. Surrounded by friends, new and old, and sweaty band members that had just played, Fox and company ripped into their set, prompting the the crowd to scream in unison and throw fists of approval in the air. One overzealous fan fell directly into the drum kit before the end of the first song.

Fox's enthusiasm betrayed the number of years that the man has been driving this band forward, something that is truly remarkable when you consider the number of lineup changes and pitfalls the band has encountered since the mid '90s.

The 2013 incarnation of Shai Hulud sounded immense, hammering through old favorites as well as hefty new tracks from the album that the band released with famed former singer, Chad Gilbert, earlier this year. Current frontman, Justin Kraus, took good care of the band's songs. He even shared the mic with those screaming along by walking around the room, though never stopping in one place for long and making sure to avoid flailing limbs.

Though the Talent Farm's quarters were cramped, the energy that surrounded the band during its set defied with the notion that a weeknight hardcore show is any less of an occasion. The set ended with a pileup and mic dives for a "Profound Hatred of Man" -- a signature song if Shai Hulud ever had one -- and the exhausted crowd filed out into the night, just buzzing for its next dose of weeknight hardcore.

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