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Arts / No rainbows on metal band’s new album – but ‘odd combo’ of influences sets sound apart

Yun, from left to right: Haldan Isbister, Jamie Dalziel, Stu Adams, Theo Mouat.

“I would say there has to be beauty in darkness. There’s something alluring to the darker side of life, it’s more interesting subject matter. It’s much easier than writing songs about rainbows and picnics…”

With heavily distorted guitar riffs, plunging drums and throaty vocals, the brighter side of life isn’t exactly what comes to mind when listening to local metal band Yun’s debut album.

The playfully titled Wan was released earlier this month, and its nuances bring a unique stomp to the local rock scene.

“It’s difficult to pigeon hole Yun in to a specific genre,” guitarist and vocalist Jamie Dalziel says.

“We draw heavy influence from doom metal, stoner rock, psychedelic blues and traditional/bluegrass. It’s an odd combo that I’ve never come across before.”

Despite worshipping at the altar of woozy metal riffs, where Black Sabbath posters adorn the walls, there is plenty for the newbie to grab onto.

A pulsing groove anchors things nicely, such as on the bouncing Ragged Navigator, while the adventurous High on a Mountain takes the listener by the hand on a hazy trip which opens with bluesy, clean guitar and vocals before bringing back the bonecrushing distortion.

And for those already with a penchant for hard-edged tunes, the six tracks are filthy in all the right ways – with the guitar tones as thick as cement.

Needless to say it has a big sound, and it feels like one big enough to make a splash outside of Shetland in metal circles.

The album was recorded in Wethersta in September 2019 over a long weekend, with some pieces added Stevie Hook’s studio in Lerwick as well as some extras being done at home.

“Lockdown meant that things took longer to nail down as our producer/mixing engineer Ben Davis would do a mix, send it out. We would compile notes then send them back and repeat.

“Ordinary things that would take half an hour if you were there in person ended up taking weeks.”

It appears good things come to those who wait, but without any gigs to plug the record, the internet has been the main tool for promotion.

It has been a steady incline for Yun, who came to be a fully fledged band back in 2017, although their roots stretch back further.

“Yun came about after an old band of mine disbanded”, Dalziel explained.

“I brought in Haldan Isbister to jam with. Before long it was just me and him starting from scratch, I had a few tunes but after learning a few of Haldan’s tunes we knew this was the direction we wanted to take the band.

“Theo Mouat joined us on drums in 2016, and Stu Adams joined us on bass, completing our line-up in 2017.”

With half of the Wan’s tracks bypassing the eight-minute mark, it may be a hard sell for the mainstream – not least because some of the lyrics touch on subjects like tyrant kings and elder gods.

But their weighty sound is attracting interest among certain circles across the globe, with sales and streams of Wan proving steady.

“The last year has been tough for everyone,” Dalziel reflects. “We were scheduled to make our first trip south to play in Aberdeen and Glasgow the week of March 23rd last year, so that was tough.

“We were really hoping to take our first swing at the doom scene on the mainland. Instead we have spent time writing the second album and networking for when we can play live again.”