August 9, 2021 Lorna Shore – …And I Return to Nothingness (EP Review)
Despite Immortal being one of the best Metal albums of 2020, Lorna Shore has not had an easy past few years. Losing Vocalist Tom Barber to Chelsea Grin, followed by the equally amicable departure of Guitarist Connor Deffley, left stalwarts Adam De Micco (guitar) and Austin Archey (drums) with some vacancies within their fold. And filling those positions with like-minded individuals proved to be no simple feat. But the dedicated duo endured and, just as a spark lit in that figurative tunnel, the pandemic washed away all hopes of touring one of the best records of their career.
Thankfully, perseverance has paid off: De Micco and Archey, along with Guitarist Andrew O’Connor, have managed to find a kindred spirit in A Wake In Providence frontman Will Ramos. So now, crushing the silence of the past year, Lorna Shore is ready to present their new frontman, slay some gigs, and deliver the three-song …And I Return to Nothingness EP on Friday, August 13, 2021 thanks to Century Media.
For those that have been paying attention, it’s no doubt that the quartet’s new single/video “To the Hellfire” has already crushed their skulls. An inferno that opens with some delicate, Spanish-flavored guitarwork from De Micco, the track promptly detonates as Ramos claws his way out of the primordial ooze. With all the grace of a sludgy goblin, he traverses the terrain of Archey’s fiery blast beats and O’Connor’s skilled rhythms as symphonic elements imported from Immortal provide a flawless bridge between then and now.
Of course, the band’s penchant for poetically blackened lyrics endures. It fuels the dramatic “Of the Abyss,” which is laden with even more symphonic elements to cradle Ramos’ deviant howls. With more melody than its predecessor, but no loss of brutality in its breakdowns, the song might as well be Dante’s Inferno brought to aural life. It is a bleak, funereal presentation that continues into the titular “…And I Return to Nothingness.” Drawing from its siblings, Track 3, at times, cranks the pace to whiplash-inducing freneticism as the new frontman seemingly converses with himself—demon dancing with gremlin.
As with each of the three offerings, we see melody in the form of synth-work, which, in the case of the EP’s namesake track, wears an ‘80s influence on its lapels. Again, that beautifully haunting sense of doom and gloom is intact in the prose of each song, allowing for interpretation and inviting thoughtful discussion. This is one of the many things that Lorna Shore does so well: they offer an elevated experience that, while existing in the Death Metal sphere, steps beyond the grave with a sense of romanticism for all things that exist within and beyond the gloam.
Produced by Josh Schroeder (For Today, In Hearts Wake), though the EP only offers up three tracks as evidence of where the band is heading, it still closes in on 20 minutes of exceptional quality material that presents all the hallmarks of Lorna Shore’s craft—and then some. In short, if any of the contents on the …And Now I Return to Nothingness EP are indicative of this quartet’s next full-length, we’ll just clear a space on our Best of 2022 list now! For this, Cryptic Rock gives Lorna Shore’s …And I Return to Nothingness 5 of 5 stars.