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ALBUM REVIEW: Lorna Shore – Immortal

Lorna Shore Artwork

It’s been a turbulent couple of years for Lorna Shore. The New Jersey deathcore outfit seemed to be hitting their creative stride with a collection of extended plays and two full-length studio albums, until the frontman shuffle of 2018 took place. Their frontman Tom Barber would depart the band to join fellow deathcore outfit Chelsea Grin and Lorna Shore would then recruit CJ McCreery from Signs Of The Swarm as a replacement.

The band would then hit the road throughout most of 2018 and the early stages of 2019 before hitting the studio to record the follow up to 2017’s critically acclaimed Flesh Coffin. The album was completed in the latter stages of 2019 and on 6th December the release date was announced as 31st January 2020, and the title-track from the forthcoming album Immortal was released.

However, the story doesn’t end there, as on 23rd December news broke that the band had parted ways with McCreery with immediate effect. Giving no reason for doing so at the time. It would later develop that there had been a number of allegations aimed towards the frontman of sexual misconduct prior to his time with the band. It is important to note at this stage that the allegations against McCreery are just that and at this time he have not been proven.

Lorna Shore would then make a conscious decision to release the album without delay, with the original vocals still intact. This review will be of the music that has been produced, without biased and unaffected by the circumstances surrounding its release.

Musically the goal for Lorna Shore has always been to explore just how dark and sonically devastating they can make their sound, with each album sounding progressively more sinister than the last and Immortal certainly follows that game plan from the outset. The opening, eponymous track builds hauntingly with the kind of grand, theatrical musical arrangement that isn’t too far removed from the likes of Dimmu Borgir or Abigail Williams, before unleashing an onslaught of blast beats and ferocious riffing. The lashings of atmospheric keys really add to the sound here and give the melody to the track. Couple that in with the hellish vocal range of McCreery and you’re looking at a band that is hitting its stride creatively.

Death Portrait carries on with the same theme, with the pummelling drum work from Austin Archey dictating the dizzying pace of the track. Andrew De Micco and Andrew O’Connor lay down their frantic, low tuned riffing over the top and the mid section of the track follows a style closer to that of technical death metal or deathcore. It slams on the brakes with an off kilter breakdown and a mind-boggling, sweeping guitar solo before returning to a blackened style, once again displaying the effectiveness of the hybrid sound that the band have sculpted.

Hollow Sentence takes the atmospheric elements of the band’s sound a whole step further. The choral arrangements at the beginning of the song sound like something you would find coming out of the Nightwish playbook, not a band renowned for creating music as grotesquely heavy as Lorna Shore. Yet, somehow it works. The riffs in the verses are closer to melodic death metal than ever before, while the other elements such as the drums and the vocal work ensure that the band have one foot still firmly set in their deathcore lane, throwing in a huge breakdown in the latter stages to prove just that point. If that is to your taste then the band set the record straight on the following song Warpath Of Disease, which feels as though the band needed to flex their muscles and prove to their audience that, deep down, they are still the same band that can reduce venues to rubble and incite mass chaos when they take to the stage, no matter the bill. The breakdowns in this song are almost laughably heavy and prove that when it comes to throwing down in this manor, Lorna Shore are amongst the best in the business.

The back end of the album shows the band experimenting more with slower tempos to crushing effect, with Darkest Spawn appearing to be more of a mid tempo track than anything else on the album. The song itself gives McCreery a chance to once again display his massive range of vocal techniques, whether it be shaking your internal organs with his guttural lows or piercing your ear drums with his banshee-like highs, there is no denying that the man is supremely talented. At this point is is also worth commending Josh Schroeder for his impeccable attention to detail ensuring that none of the finer details of the band’s sound are lost in the mix, with McCreery reaping the benefits and utilising the spotlight superbly.

This album is a real statement. Lorna Shore have created the album of their career to date, with the band bravely embracing their new tools and adding them to their tried and true formula, to create a truly unique sound for Immortal. At this point it may be bittersweet, with one of the finest aspects of the album being the elite tier of vocalist that the band had acquired with McCreery, giving how we all know the story would end. Nevertheless it goes without saying that the remaining members of the band have got plenty more tricks up their sleeve and will come back even stronger in the very near future. Keep your eyes peeled, this is only the beginning of a new era of Lorna Shore.


Standout Tracks: Immortal, Death Portrait, Warpath Of Disease

For Fans Of: Aversions Crown, Shadow Of Intent, Signs Of The Swarm

Written by: Richard Webb


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