You can’t help feeling for Adam De Micco (guitars), Austin Archey (drums) and Andrew O’Connor (guitars) as fate delt them another blow in the pursuit of Deathcore perfection. Having lost original vocalist Tom Barber to ChelseaGrin, they tapped up the then Signs Of The Swarm vocalist CJ McCreery to fill his boots and while everything seemed well on the surface, reality was far from it. Having worked tirelessly for a decade and with a pair of EPs and a pair of albums to show for it, De Micco and Archey wrote the bands third studio album, as musically it has always been their band, they have been the driving forces behind the scenes. Having done the hard yards and created an album that they are proud of, numerous allegations appeared against CJ McCreery on the eve of the albums release. They were too numerous to ignore and the trio of instrumentalists sacked McCreery with immediate effect. They didn’t want to be around him and the allegations against him were tarnishing the republican of the band and all that they had worked for. The problem was, what to do next. They had an album done, videos shot and tours booked. So the options were to re-record the album with a new vocalist, to drop the album as an instrumental one, to can the album completely or just to release it “as is”. It must have been the hardest decision they faced because with McCreery on it, it might not get the chance it deserves. But they chose the later and have said they will have a fill in vocalist and will honour their live shows. So here it is. Our review of “Immortal” by New Jersey Deathcore heavyweights Lorna Shore.
A sense of epic grandiosity brings opening cut “Immortal” close to the bone with a hurricane of blast beats, Death Metal riffs and Blackened leads which sound like a tornado of souls sweeping though a cavern. A powerhouse of an opening, it lays down the guantlet while having very little ‘core’ anything about it. The sweeping technical leads are bright and electrifying while the brutal backdrop of the rhythm section is nothing short of skull crushing. Similarly, the brutal opening of “Death Portrait” has the riffs backed off by synths and blast beats for days. Archey is a machine on the kit and you wonder how he manages to carry off a set live without being completely fubar afterwards, very much in the Gene Hoglan school of drumming. The Technical Death Metal riffs are second to none and the constant, relentless flow of dark atmospheres is nothing short of incredible. McCreery’s vocals are pure evil, he gargles and roars between Deathcore and Slam stylings taking the music to new dark depths. Some shrill vocal moments are introduced to “This Is Hell” which blends the background of a funeral procession with the welcoming to hell of Lorna Shore’s instrumental battering. The level of control, the quality of the music which builds sonically with cinematic quality before smashing down with downtempo groove moments is the blistering sound track to a horror film.
That cinematic quality appears once more in “Hollow Sentence” which builds like some sort of psychotic cocktail of Cradle Of Filth and The Black Dahlia Murder with hints of a European influence. Unfortunately there is no separating the art from the artist and as good a vocalist as McCreery is, he’s rightfully out. Replacing him given the quality of his input is actually going to be harder than replacing Tom Barber was. But they must because what they’ve created here is a Symphonic Technical Death Metal album that needs to be heard. The thunderous “Warpath Of Disease” is a bombastic display of brutality that has a “Bleigh!” moment in a flurry of stunning sounds including a Scott Carstairs esq solo that is breathtakingly good. Hellish vocals that push and pull while showcasing an unclean range second to none are the bloodstains on the sheets of “Misery System“, a malevolent soundscape of evil that has a low slow breakdown section that is deviation itself. They need a full time keyboard player in the live arena and a decent one at that to do the beautifully balanced symphony of destruction justice.
As we move into the later part of the record you might expect a slow down or change of emphasis but there is nothing of that in the DNA of Lorna Shore. “Obsession” goes bigger on the synths but doesn’t let up any of the relentlessness of the other instruments and the kit work puts some Norwegian Black Metal drummers to shame. Release day single and music video “King Of Deception” should have been the final push that the album needed and is an incredible track in its own right. Arguably the most brutal of the Slamming Deathcore cuts vocally and giving the likes of Vulvodynia a run for their money, it also retains the depth and gravity of all that came before it. If it wasn’t for the vocals, “Darkest Spawn” has a fair amount in common with the very early albums from Winds Of Plague and if it wasn’t for some of the rhythm guitar work being stripped by being pushed back in the mix, it would have a heavier hit. But the emphasis seems to have been on the interplay of melody between the leads and synths with the vocals and kit work being the consistent battering rams. As for the final cut “Relentless Torment“, it sounds like a Norwegian Black Metal track that’s been let off its leash. Icy synth moments add atmosphere but it’s the sheer unrelenting rythmic bludgeoning that is ridiculous. Lorna Shore have created a masterpiece that steps up from predecessor “Flesh Coffin” and the only thing left to say is, it deserves to be heard [8.5/10]
This Is Hell
Warpath Of Disease
King Ov Deception
“Immortal” by Lorna Shore out now via Century Media.