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Review: Lorna Shore Transcends Deathcore with Pain Remains

Lorna Shore

New Jersey’s Lorna Shore have been a fixture in the underground for over a decade but they’ve become a more mainstream success story recently for the combination of symphonic black metal and deathcore featured on their new album, Pain Remains. It’s no easy ask to follow the band’s 2021 EP …And I Return to Nothingness, especially considering it followed the dishonorable discharge of ex-vocalist CJ McCreery. Despite the odds, and aided by a TikTok-driven popularity surge, Pain Remains succeeds as something greater than its predecessor.

Lorna Shore’s blackened elements are akin to Dimmu Borgir’s orchestral bombast and Anaal Nathrakh’s terrifying, mechanical walls of sound. Realistically, that’s the only kind of black metal that could naturally mesh with bottom-heavy, surgically-precise technical deathcore.Opener “Welcome Back, O’ Sleeping Dreamer” displays how little Lorna Shore cares about their neo-classical element bordering on camp. It’s frankly shocking to hear the band so gracefully progress from cinematic brass and choirs to a djenty breakdown before speed-demon melodeath riffs take over… not to mention their gut-rumbling depth charge breakdowns.

Reaction Youtubers have gotten a lot of mileage out of Ramos’ low-end gutturals, which are delivered in spades on Pain Remains. Their recurrence on singles “Into The Earth” and “Sun//Eater” threatens to reduce them to repeats of “Into the Hellfire.” The placement of breakdowns and low-end extremity on Pain Remains demonstrate a welcome focus on songwriting as opposed to pure extremity. Lorna Shore have never sounded more natural while blending grandiosity and hyper-speed brutality—and they’re two-for-two as far as catchy, shreddy solos from guitarist Adam De Micco.

Lorna Shore has a unique ability to conjure the feeling of headbanging with your metal brothers at Wacken Open Air while also playing bowel-emptying breakdowns. Their “Hell Yeah, Brother” quotient reaches a career high on the “Pain Remains” trilogy. The mini-concept’s emotional depth is surprising enough—cue Ramos’ iconic “Dancing Like Flames” line: “A world without you isn’t meant for me”—but what’s even better is the band’s complete embrace of melodrama. Replace the Nazgûl shrieks and Balrog bellows with operatic falsettos, and suddenly “Flames” and “After All I’ve Done, I’ll Disappear” come off more like Into Eternity with less prog than anything deathcore related.

This allows De Micco and fellow guitarist Andrew O’Connor to flex a more traditionally-metal approach to their agile fretwork and harmonized leads, as Austin Archey trades blast beats for fist-pumping grooves. Actually, between the three movements, only album closer “In a Sea of Fire” comes through with the crap-your-pants ultra-heaviness. The previous two go out of their way to leave more room for the synth leads and swelling instrumentation, even if that means a more 2010s breakdown style. Lorna Shore don’t use their calling cards as crutches but as embellishments.

This allows De Micco and Andrew O’Connor to flex a more traditionally metal approach to their agile fretwork and harmonized leads, as Austin Archey trades blast beats for fist-pumping grooves. Actually, between the three movements, only album closer “In a Sea of Fire” comes through with the crap-your-pants ultra-heaviness. The previous two go out of their way to leave more room for the synth leads and swelling instrumentation, even if that means a more 2010s breakdown style. The point being, Lorna Shore knows how to write awesome metal. They don’t use their calling cards as crutches, which actually makes the calling cards way easier to enjoy when they appear in the album.

Another relief about Pain Remains is the restraint shown when using orchestral intros. It’d be easy to bookend “Cursed To Die” with two minutes of video-game soundtracks. But instead, the band lets their infectious songwriting take center stage. When those ideas are introduced, as heard on “Soulless Existence,” it sounds like a deliberate decision to let songs breathe before launching back into sonic carnage. 

Lorna Shore clearly have a vision on Pain Remains. They want to write large-scale, festival-ready metal while pushing the boundaries of deathcore. Sure, they’re not the first core band to incorporate black metal—or to drag the concept of a “breakdown” to almost ludicrous depths—but Pain Remains stands out. It deserves whatever recognition it gets, because it’s an insanely well-written, fun listen. Lorna Shore aren’t just “that blackened deathcore band from TikTok.” They’ve effectively proven their staying power in the larger pantheon of kick-assery.

Lorna Shore’s Pain Remains comes out on October 14 and is currently available for preorder via Century Media Records.

The post Review: Lorna Shore Transcends Deathcore with <em>Pain Remains</em> appeared first on MetalSucks.

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