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Shun - s/t (Small Stone)

27 July 2021

Shun leader Matt Whitehead used to lead South Carolina’s Throttlerod, and while his new group Shun (located in the other, northern Carolina) fields some of the former band’s ragged-but-right stoner metal, there’s a lot more going on here. Opener “Run” passes from seventies-inspired hardness to spacy eighties psych to early nineties grunge without making a fuss about it, while “Sleepwalking” expertly indulges in the kind of heavy postpunk that emanated from D.C. after the hardcore scene grew up. The ambitious “Machina” quickly evolves into an acid noise rock anthem, while “Near Enemy” wrestles bluesy boogie into a twenty-first century shape. “Heese” reconnects with chunky doom groove, while “Undone” goes straight for the alt.grunge jugular, transplanting the best of the lighter-waving side of Seattle to Asheville. The album closing “Once Again” rolls everything Shun loves into a big ball of heavy rock chocolate. Beautifully mixed by alt.rock legend J. Robbins, who knows a thing or two about balancing sludge with clarity, Shun revels in big riffs, strong melodies and the kind of controlled passion that breeds excitement.