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As much as Canada's The Agonist seem to have been perennially branded with the drastically misleading metalcore tag, fellow North American extreme metallers, Lorna Shore, seem to have had the deathcore label inappropriately thrown at them during their career to date. What is it about the need to pigeonhole bands under various “-core” subgenres? Undoubtedly lazy journalism and a lack of metal and music related vocabulary are to blame, as well as a misinterpretation of what constitutes the genre labels being appropriated to describe what people are actually hearing. Bottom-line, it highlights the inanity of genre labelling. We’re all guilty of it to a degree, but when it’s plain misleading, it can be delimiting for a band’s potentially wider listening audience.

Lorna Shore, with their third album, ‘Immortal’, have proved such categorisation inanity, by delivering a monster of a modern metal record. This is not what I would brand as deathcore. Passages of quasi-black metal grandeur with added layers of choirs and orchestrations bring an epic flair to the compositions, and the many moments of incisively delivered drums, bass and palm-muted guitar that spit out rapid busts of brutality in unison, with a hard-hitting tech-metal precision, propel songs along with an exhilarating impetus. It can be brutal on the ears and senses at times, but in a totally invigorating way. If anything, this is a fusion of symphonic black and death metal, rather than death and metalcore, but I’ll eschew pigeonholing myself, as listening to ‘Immortal’ is about the experience rather than genre mimicry; an atmospheric, epic and exhilarating experience.

Guitarist Adam De Micco and drummer Austin Archey composed all the material for ‘Immortal’ and both evidently have a wide death metal vocabulary, as their deathed-up discharge is nicely varied, from a brooding, down tempo, Morbid Angel intensity, right through to ultra-slick tech prowess. And they’ve got the chops to pull it all off with breathtaking precision. It’s also worth noting there’ve been some lineup changes, with vocalist Tom Barber being replaced by CJ McCreery for this latest one. Guitarist Connor Deffley is also no longer a part of the band, although his replacement, Andrew O’Connor, joined halfway through last year, after the recordings were complete, so doesn’t feature on the album. I have to say, McCreery is a genuine asset to the band. The man has a great range of death growls and screams, from low register pig squeals to higher, but-not-quite-Dani-Filth-high, black metal screeches, and everything in-between. However, some of his lower growls do occasionally teeter on parody; sounding like a guy trying to clear an accumulation of shit from his throat from having some sort of irritating cold. Just listen to the end of ‘Death Portrait’ for your fix of phlegm gurgling fun.

Overall, the extremely precise and clinical tech metal elements have been adorned and interposed with a flurry of emotionally engaging melodies and blackened symphonic bliss. And this is the album's primary strength. This is tech metal with a soul. All too often, extreme tech stylings can lapse into sterility; sacrificing emotional depth at the expense of virtuosic mastery. Not here. 'Immortal' has virtuosic precision AND emotional allure. In equal measure. A fantastic third outing for Lorna Shore.
Century Media
Review by Mark Holmes
31st January 2020
1) Immortal
2) Death Portrait
3) This is Hell
4) Hollow Sentence
5) Warpath of Disease
6) Misery System
7) Obsession
8) King Ov Deception
9) Darkest Spawn
10) Relentless Torment
"...an atmospheric, epic and exhilarating experience."