Shawn James & The Shapeshifters - The Gospel According to Shawn James & The Shapeshifters


Fayetteville, Arkansas, is the home of many good things, and some nightmares. Of the latter, I'm thinking of current Democratic candidate for President, Hillary Clinton. Cripes, she makes me want to puke. Of the former, I'm thinking the University of Arkansas Razorbacks football team, pretty good, and alumnus like Pat Summerall, among others. For something more interesting, you might want to add Shawn James and his Shapeshifters, truly an eclectic bunch of fellows.
Shawn James and the Shapeshifters Band Photo

Shawn James and the Shapeshifters

James and his Ozark Mountain hillbillies arrive with, if I count right, their fourth full length album, The Gospel According to Shawn James & The Shapeshifters, the third with original material. This has probably been overused, but being my first experience with the band, I don't really give a shit: "shapeshifters" is a good way to describe how James and his bearded cohorts mess with genre bending.

The core starting points seems to be some twist of simple and early heavy rock, like something out of the mid-Seventies, and classic Southern rock. But there are more layers put upon this: bluegrass, folk, stoner, country and swamp music. Much of the twist in the mix comes from the inclusion of banjo and violin (not classical as you can imagine), not to mention some steel guitar and Dobro. On top of all this is James' gruff and grizzly vocals. All these things are dug deep in the music like an Arkansas tick on the hind end of a hound dog.

Now as much as that description may sound so, after several spins, I'm not so sure how novel the Shawn James sound is. Many of the songs, eventually, start sounding the same. But some things stood out for me. One is the way the violin sounds, not like country or bluegrass, but infused with a Jean-Luc Ponty electric timbre. But within Just Because, you get both electric wildness and country twang. Much of the same could be said for the banjo. It's seems there for accent, one slightly higher in the register, even subtle at times. A good example is found in the center of The Sandbox when it's paired with both violin and sharp guitar riffs. Strange Days was a curious, interesting, tune: the heavy and southern rock twist, fuzzed out, and moving at the pace of power metal (which I'm sure these backwoods moonshiners never heard of). Finally, even with his grizzled, whiskey and roofing nails voice, Shawn James delivers with plenty of passion and soul.

While Shawn James and the Shapeshifters will never be my "go-to" southern rock band (I'll stick with Skynyrd), their sound invites some attention and interest. It's definitely better and more imaginative than half the auto-tuned polished pop being pumped out like so many widgets in Nashville. Listen HERE. You might like what you hear.





Melodic metal from Finland, offered by experienced musicians like Jani Liimatainen (guit, ex SONATA ARCTICA) or Timo Kotipelto (voc, STRATOVARIUS), waits to be heard. Like in the best melodic metal bands, huge melodies rule along with hard guitars and majestic keyboards. There's not much left to be improved. Especially the songwriting is absolutely high quality. Mostly mid tempo but at times also quite fast where needed: "Stormcrow" is an upcoming classic!


Listen: Cain's Offering - Stormcrow (Official Audio)


VORUM - Current Mouth


VORUM - "Current Mouth" (MCD/MLP)
Label: Sepulchral Voice Records
Release date: 18.05.2015

After their highly acclaimed 2013 debut full length “Poisoned Void” (Woodcut Rec.), Finnish VORUM finally return with completely new material. And fukk, what material that is. “Current Mouth” definitely is one of the most scariest and extreme recordings ever to be spit out from Scandinavia.

While “Poisoned Void” still was based on certain Swedish/Finnish/American death metal structures and rather traditional, comprehensible songwriting & performance, “Current Mouth” nearly leaves out all of those principles. Therefore VORUM this time reaches a very unique and special level. While today it seems to become a movement to head towards more progressive, sophisticated and “atmospheric” sounds in Death Metal, VORUM is utter “backwardness”... intentionally.

They are the opposite to anyone who is looking for a way out of the maze called “Death Metal”. VORUM find their way deep and straight into the middle, into the heart of it. Into the mouth of chaos and darkness. They deliver salvation in a boundless storm of hatred and destruction. These fukkers don´t care for convenient listening, they don´t care about anything but the demons and energies driving them. Each of the five songs is based on breathtaking riffs, supersonic string attacks & devastating, absolutely skilled drumming. And the voice... the voice skins you alive.

A great, intense and rough production perfectly fits the morbid intention & the artwork will not leave any question of insanity and possession unanswered. VORUM is the reminder of what true Death Metal is all about. They throw up on every indication of conformity and ingratiation. “Current Mouth” is the merciless sound of hell! This release will rape your senses. It hurts and harms. Together with Degial and Invidious, VORUM complete the trinity of madness, violence and bestiality. They are the sworn originators of the most abominable sound from the far north.

On “Current Mouth”, VORUM perfectly combine the darkness of “Divus de mortuus”, the heaviness of “Abomination of Desolation”, the insanity of “Salvation”, the brutality of “Critical Madness” and the ignorance of “Horrified”. Although the total playing time of this release is only close to 20 minutes, everyone should be aware that: Pain lengthens time!

“Current Mouth” will be released as a noble 6-panel digisleeve Compact Disc and on pitch black 12“ vinyl LP later.


1. Angels Death
2. Tri Ennial
3. In Grime In Lust
4. Current Mouth
5. Hungry Wounds

Grim Death Awaits – 2009 Demo
Profane Limbs of Ruinous Death -2010 Split EP
Poisoned Void – 2013 CD/LP


22.05.2015 - Berlin, Germany - Cortina Bob

23.05.2015 - Amsterdam, The Netherlands - TBA

24.05.2015 - London, UK - Nambucca

25.05.2015 - Rotterdam, The Netherlands - Baroeg Club

26.05.2015  - Wermelskirchen, Germany - TBA

27.05.2015 - Aalen, Germany - Rock It

28.05.2015 - Chemnitz, Germany - AJZ Chemnitz

29.05.2015  - Sczeczin, Poland - Odra Zoo Club

30.05.2015 - Copenhagen, Denmark - KB18


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