In strictly musical terms, this album is pretty impressive. Shai Hulud may not have invented the juxtaposition of tuneless, roaring vocals with intricate and sophisticated chord progressions -- call it "hard emo mathcore," or maybe "metal screamo" -- but on That Within Blood Ill-Tempered it pretty much sets the gold standard for this particular brand of aggro rock. Despite the lack of anything approaching a vocal melody, songs like "Scornful of the Motives and Virtue of Others" and "This Song: For the True and Passionate Lovers of Music" generate enough interest with their alternately cascading and crunching guitar parts and their college-calculus rhythmic shifts that they end up holding your attention despite the sameness of the vocals. However, as you have surely gathered by now, the band's lyrical pretensions are a serious problem. The album title, the syntax of which is so affected and twisted as to render it meaningless, is fair warning: The guys in Shai Hulud appear to be suffering from a terminal case of Freshman Creative Writing Seminar, and they can't seem to tell the difference between pretentious syntax and actual intellectual content. The result is a lyrical disaster: The songs are all crawling (or perhaps "rife"? "fraught"?) with cringe-inducing and often downright nonsensical pronouncements like "And man will continue to suffer unto itself/Until some stand to rally the fray by firm example" or "Could any being bask in malevolence?/As if its indifference might pardon it." They seem to be sincere (or so they claim, explicitly, in both the booklet design and the opening lines of the first song), but sincerity isn't enough: They need to be sincere about something in particular, and they need to be coherent in their expression of whatever it is they're sincere about. That won't happen until at least one of them figures out how to use a predicate.
AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson