As this, and other publications have highlighted over the last 18 months, the pandemic has hit the music industry hard, but at the same time, where there’s a will, there’s always a way to push forward and head for that shining light at the end of a dark tunnel. And that’s exactly what North Carolina’s Shun have done as they prepare to deliver their Self-Titled debut album tomorrow, 4th June through Small Stone Records and Kozmik Artifactz.
Recorded at various stages and in complete isolation to each other, Shun are a band that are difficult to pigeonhole; part heavy rock, part desert rock, part noise-rock, but always wrapped up in a formidable groove that quickly gets the head nodding and the foot tapping.
Now today, 24 hours prior to its official release, it’s our absolute pleasure to bring you the nine tracks that make up this debut album, and if you enjoy what you hear (why wouldn’t you!) for CD and digital downloads, head over to Small Stone’s Bandcamp, while limited vinyl can be grabbed on the Kozmik Artifactz webstore.
More On Shun And Their Self-Titled Debut
A name inspired by a Bruce Lee quote: ‘Adapt what is useful, reject [shun] what is useless, and add what is specifically your own,’ Shun is guitarist/vocalist Matt Whitehead, guitarist/backing vocalist Scott Brandon, bassist Jeff Baucom, and drummer Rob Elzey. Astute Small Stone loyalists will recognize Whitehead from his work in Throttlerod. He’s not alone in pedigree. Brandon has spent most of his life as a working musician, producer, and DJ in Detroit, and Ann Arbor, Michigan and Chicago, Illinois. Baucom, a veteran musician in his own right, played with Whitehead briefly in a band called Made Of Machines and has been a part of the regional music scene for some time while Elzey has toured the world as a tech for the likes of Hatebreed and Unearth, among many others.
Together, Shun manifests a distinct identity throughout their eponymous LP, incorporating everything from melodic noise rock and heavy riffs to atmospheric largesse and contemplative, patient construction. Developed in covid-isolation over a period of several months, the drums and bass comprising Shun were recorded in Elzey’s garage while Brandon’s guitars were captured in his basement studio. Whitehead’s guitars were recorded with amps tucked into his bedroom closet and vocals were also tracked in his house. A guest spot from Lamb Of God’s Mark Morton on the penultimate Heese required no studio stop-by. In the end, nine tracks were turned over to esteemed producer J. Robbins at Magpie Cage Recording Studio (Clutch, The Sword, Coliseum) for mixing and Dan Coutant at Sun Room Audio for mastering.
It’s to the band’s credit that Shun exists at all, let alone that it is neither disjointed nor wanting for urgency. A forceful and intermittently aggressive offering, it balances mood and intensity of expression throughout its duration. Writes The Obelisk of the output, ‘Shun’s style manages to be thoughtful … without giving in to self-indulgence or pretense, and their debut offers high-grade, dynamic, melodic heavy rock that resounds with purpose, taking familiar elements and pushing them beyond simplistic genre confines.’
Shun, which features cover art by Alexander Von Wieding (Monster Magnet, Trouble, Karma To Burn), will be released on CD and digital formats via Small Stone with Kozmik Artifactz handling a limited vinyl edition.
03. At Most
06. Near Enemy
07. A Wooden House
09. Once Again
Matt Whitehead – Vocals & Guitars
Scott Brandon – Guitars & Vocals
Jeff Baucom – Bass
Rob Elzey – drums
Mark Morton – Guitar solo on Heese
J. Robbins – Various Percussion