Band of the Week: The Jötunn

A brush with death inspired Cleveland metal band's new album

click to enlarge Artwork for upcoming Jötunn concert at the Foundry. - Courtesy of The Jötunn
Courtesy of The Jötunn
Artwork for upcoming Jötunn concert at the Foundry.
MEET THE BAND: Paul Kahan (vocals), Shawn Kahan (guitar), Cole Martinez (guitar, bass), Kenny Tomko (drums)

A SURVIVAL STORY: A couple of years ago when local metal guitarist Shawn Kahan become terribly sick with COVID, he began furiously writing songs even though he didn’t have a band to record them. “He was afraid he was going to die so we started pumping out songs in his room and getting the feeling of what he was going through,” says singer Paul Kahan. “He wanted to churn those out. He sent them to me, and I thought they were incredible. I said, ‘You have got to do something with these.’” The Kahan brothers, who had played in the local metal band Dagger Rebellion for more than decade, decided to come out of what they call “band retirement” to form the Jötunn and record their debut EP, Graveworshipper.

AN ORGANIC EVOLUTION: The group recruited local metal guitarist and bassist Cole Martinez to produce the album. He enjoyed working on the record so much that he asked to join the group. “Once everything was done, he said he wanted to be part of the band because of how he helped shape everything,” says Kahan. “Shawn and I had seen Cole play in Years of Fire when we were still in high school. We thought he was the coolest dude in the world. We looked up to him, honestly. The fact that he wanted to be in a band with us was great. Everything just came together naturally.” Kahan recorded vocals in Columbus with Knox Fields. He sent the recordings to Martinez, who mixed them for the album. Josh Schroeder handled the mastering. “I have never been so happy with a record that I have been on,” says Kahan.

WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: “Infinite Stalker,” the first single from Graveworshipper, features blistering guitar solos and hoarse vocals. It’s also surprisingly melodic and suggests the way in which bands such as In Flames, Abigail Williams, the Faceless, Black Dahlia Murder and Darkest Hour have influenced the group. “I love playing that song; it’s fucking awesome,” says Kahan when asked about the track. “That’s probably my favorite one to play and the one I’m most excited to do live. I actually got the inspiration for the lyrics from an anime, which is really weird because I don’t watch a ton of it. I saw this cool anime called When They Cry. It’s about these girls who are time loopers, and they chase each other through multiple lives and kill each other. I just thought that was really metal.” “Dissolve,” another album highlight, comes off as a Goth-y track that’s more Sisters of Mercy than Metallica.


WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: The Jötunn performs with Befallen, Druparia, Paradox Rift, and Kingz & Thievez at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, at the Foundry in Lakewood.

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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