In the mid '90s, Shai Hulud unknowingly nudged hardcore toward metalcore and mall punk, bringing together metal musicianship and personal emotional content. Revelations Records' new reissues of the band's two discs set an important standard for reissues -- not so much because metalcore engineer Zeuss (Hatebreed and 19 similar bands) remixed the discs, but because the tracks' original versions are included (as hidden mp3 files). Ever-shifting lineups included future members of Further Seems Forever, New Found Glory, and Rise Against. The latest incarnation is working on a new LP for Metal Blade. When singer-guitarist Matt Fox rapturously notes that the label was once a home to both Cryptic Slaughter and the Goo Goo Dolls, he couldn't make a more emblematic statement about the pedigree of modern hardcore.
Representing the next generation is Dead to Fall, a Chicago-Minneapolis metalcore act that's all metal, with little -core, save for the modern-punk theme of interpreting every obstacle as a serious problem. The title of "Chum Fiesta" suggests that the twin-guitar quintet has a sense of humor about its metal-on-metal crime. Embellished with an orchestra and choir, "Death and Rebirth" is more palatable as a Spinal Tap-style mockery of black metal than as an ambitious album closer.