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Exclusive Track Premiere: Shawn James & The Shapeshifters’ “Hellhound”

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Photo by Hutch and Futch
Photo by Hutch and Futch

This past July, the editors of MetalSucks hand-picked ten unsigned bands from an open application process to record at Converse Rubber Tracks — Converse’s completely free, state-of-the-art recording studio — in either Brooklyn, NY with producer Will Putney (The Acacia Strain, Suicide Silence, Exhumed), or Boston, MA, with producer Kurt Ballou (Converge, High on Fire, Torche). In the weeks leading up to the recording sessions, we previewed each band, and in the coming weeks we’ll be premiering the finished tracks from all ten! Today, we feature Shawn James & The Shapeshifters from Fayetteville, AR.

The day Shawn James & The Shapeshifters recorded “Hellhound” at CRT Brooklyn with Will Putney was one of the most bittersweet days of my career as a heavy metal blogger. On the one hand: how many opportunities will I ever to get watch someone record parts on a banjo and a fiddle? On the other hand: I had the song stuck in my head not only for the rest of that day, but intermittently for the rest of that month, and I couldn’t scratch the itch ’cause the track was still being mixed. So, congrats, Shawn James & The Shapeshifters: you wrote a great fucking song. Thanks a bunch, jerks.

Lucky for you — you won’t have such an issue, because you can just listen to “Hellhound” on repeat (or, as the song says, “on and on”). And you will want to listen to “Hellhound” on repeat: SJ&TS are carrying on a proud tradition of southern rock that’s soulful, not stupid, and James’ vocals are nothing short of incredible (especially when you realize that the dude doesn’t require a ton of autotune to sound great). At one point during the recording session, Will Putney remarked, “I feel like I’m in a swamp.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.

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