Having gone through more roster changes than a McDonald's franchise, Shai Hulud is pressing forward with or without permanent members. The metal-core band has never recorded more than one album with a single vocalist nor do they currently have a consistent body behind the drum kit. This is a probable explanation for the mere three studio albums the band has released in its 13-year career. Regardless, these three albums have gained them a tremendous following, not to mention the slough of bands that cite Shai Hulud as a major influence.
"I typically expect the worst in people," says guitarist Matt Fox. "Joking aside, but to be in a band like Shai Hulud you have to really be into what our band is about. You have to pretty much give up your life and live in poverty in a van. It's a lot to ask of people and because of that there is a high turnover rate."
Some speculate that constant member changes have taken their toll on the band, making it difficult for them to put together new material and tour. Earlier this year the band released Misanthropy Pure, their first studio album since 2003's That Within Blood Ill-Tempered. Fox concedes that he did not want to take five years to follow-up That Within Blood, but insists it was the band's decision to take a break.
"Any hiatus we've taken, we've always made the call ourselves," says Fox. "We parted ways with our singer in 2003. It was a mutual decision. We knew what we were getting ourselves into and we knew that we may be derailing ourselves for a year or two or three."
During this hiatus, Shai Hulud changed their name to The Warmth Of Red Blood, recorded a three-song demo, changed their name back to Shai Hulud, signed to Metal Blade Records and finally released Misanthropy Pure in May 2008. Pure has been described by many as a combination of the different sounds heard on their first two albums. Their first album, Hearts Once Nourished With Hope and Compassion, is notable for its aggression, while That Within Blood is more melodically structured. Fox, on the other hand, says that Misanthropy Pure is an updated version of the last album with a shot of adrenaline.
"We wanted the last album to be a really heavy and pissed-off album," he explains. "The music was very melodic and very intricate, but it didn't have the punch that we wanted. So we said, 'Let's take the melody and the intricacy of the last album and kick it in the ass.' "
Currently, Shai Hulud is on the road in support of Misanthropy Pure. Following the tour, Fox is hoping to get to work on some new material and hopefully channel even more aggression into the next set of Shai Hulud songs. The band may not be in a rush at this point, but Fox hopes fans do not have to wait five years for more music.
"I was talking to Metal Blade the other day and I really don't want to piss them off," says Fox. "They said, 'You have some time. We'll let you know when we want you to go in and record an album.' The pressure is coming from us, because we don't want the people who like this band to wait."