January 27, 2020 Lorna Shore – Immortal (Album Review)
The word immortal brings to mind strength and resilience; the ability to best all hardships to endure eternally. It’s an apropos title for a record that comes amid a band’s struggles to re-cement their line-up—that band being New Jersey’s Lorna Shore. Still fighting, the Metal trio are set to prove that they are indeed Immortal on Friday, January 31, 2020 thanks to Century Media.
When the band formed in Warren County, New Jersey in 2010, life was good! Sure, line-up changes ensued, but releasing three EPs between 2010-2013 allowed Lorna Shore to build a proud name for themselves that led to their 2015 debut full-length, Psalms. This paved the way for 2017’s slamming Flesh Coffin, and the ability to tour the world alongside the likes of The Black Dahlia Murder, Fit For An Autopsy, Carnifex, Rivers of Nihil, and Chelsea Grin.
But the past few years have been nothing short of trying for Adam De Micco (Guitar) and Austin Archey (Drums), along with new recruit Andrew O’Connor (Guitar). With the loss of Tom Barber, who parted ways with the group to front Chelsea Grin, followed by the departure of Guitarist Connor Deffley, a lesser band might have folded. Instead, De Micco and Archey soldiered onward, brought O’Connor into the fold, and found C.J. McCreery (ex-Signs of the Swarm) to front the band.
Alas, it was not meant to be. While McCreery provides vocals on this record, he and Lorna Shore have already officially parted ways and the search continues for a new frontman. What might be a defeatist tale for another band, however, has merely sparked a fire in the trio, who blaze an incendiary trail on the 10-song Immortal. Produced, engineered, mixed and mastered by Josh Schroeder (For Today, Battlecross), the album is nothing short of demonically blackened, deliciously wicked symphonic ambitions and epic aggressive intentions.
Immortal opens to the nearly 7-minute long epic and album namesake “Immortal.” A blackened Death Metal pseudo-operetta that immediately delivers the feeling of genre-defiance, Archey’s brutal blast beats are contrasted beautifully with De Micco and O’Connor‘s emotional guitar work, creating a melodic pedestal for McCreery’s unearthly howls of pain, disgust, and suffering as he demands answers to the eternal question of humankind. Add in infectious and powerfully layered symphonic elements, and a cloak of only the blackest fog, and you have an album opener that is guaranteed to wow.
“Death Portrait” doesn’t take a second before it detonates into a demonic celebration of destruction. Like an imp of Satan, McCreery howls bestially above more incendiary blast beats that will crush your skull before the band begin to interweave synths to thicken the funereal vibes.
Tension builds before the band explode into a riotous interpretation of the Lake of Fire, “This Is Hell.” Full-on Symphonic Metal elements cement a core that allows McCreery to continue to vocally prove that he is, in fact, from a different realm. Part mass for the underworld and entirely overwhelming in its might, the track explores the paralytic horrors that we experience in our nightmares. This continues into the punctuated stomp of “Hollow Sentence,” a brutal barrage that culminates in some heavenly choruses and a truly killer guitar solo.
A cohesive journey through the annals of hell, Immortal continues with a choir chanting to open up “Warpath of Disease,” yet another epic barrage before “Misery System” appears from the darkness to destroy. A brutal attack of bass and death growls, the track thrums and stomps through the sludge and murk, echoing its suffering straight into your soul. Meanwhile, a momentary burst of light allows “Obsession” to immediately shine as it contrasts epic synth melodies with a frenetic barrage from the band—including another truly impressive performance from Archey.
In their next pummeling affront, your own mind is the “King Ov Deception.” Here, the layers and sonic textures that go into the composition are astounding and mind-blowing upon first listen. And with listeners entranced, deception, spineless serpents, and the “Darkest Spawn” are able to sneak up through the Stygian gloom, delivering an eternal damnation that relies less on atmospheric synths and instead allows the meandering guitars and relentless percussion to shine.
Now, are you expecting Lorna Shore to end their masterpiece with a ballad? Well, don’t! Immortal comes to its epic finale, “Relentless Torment,” providing yet another attack on the senses fraught with heavily-layered blast beats, soaring synth-work, and racing guitars backing McCreery’s agonized howls. If there’s a heaven inside of hell, this is it!
With Immortal, Lorna Shore have crafted the most beautifully haunting funeral mass for a dying world. An album that dares to think massive and go bold, this is one collection that is so intense that it necessitates more than one sitting to properly devour its entirety. Astounding synthwork, artful and emotional guitars, pummeling percussion and the growls of a beast coalesce into a black mass that refuses to adhere to genre standards.
In simplest terms: damnation, disease, and deception formulate the core of a record that proves that Lorna Shore cannot be defeated! For this, Cryptic Rock give Immortal 5 of 5 stars.