Artist: Lorna Shore
When life falls apart, and things you so desperately cling to wither, die and decay, you pray. It’s been ingrained into our brains since day one—when things can’t get any worse, put your fate into the hands of a higher power—after all, they really can’t get any worse, right? However, no matter how hard you pray, no matter how sincerely you seek divine intervention and salvation from a spirit in the sky, nothing can save you from the blistering, brutalizing intensity Lorna Shore unleash upon the listener with their debut full-length album, Psalms. An infinitely more mature and refined style of crushing deathcore than the band has unleashed thus far, Psalms makes the four horsemen of the apocalypse look like utter gentlemen and makes Cerberus look as playful and silly as a corgi. Darker than the deepest depths of Hell and heavier than ten elephants, Lorna Shore’s Psalms is a resounding testament to deathcore’s livelihood.
Those familiar with the band’s previous EPs—Bone Kingdom and Maleficium especially—are no doubt familiar with just how heavy this New Jersey quintet can be. Those picking up Psalms hoping for a no-holds barred chugfest will be both excited and dismayed. Make no mistake—Psalms is without a doubt the heaviest release by the band thus far; However, it is also their most adventurous. Stepping outside of their calculated, crushing formula of breakdown after breakdown, Lorna Shore deliver old-school brutality with a metallic and marvelously technical twist. Percussionist Austin Archey no longer favors tedious blast beats and chunky, stuttering breakdowns. Instead, he borrows from every weapon in the death metal and deathcore drumming arsenal—dominating “Grimoire” with bouncy, bold kick drum patterns and splashy, colorful cymbals, just as he oppresses the listener on “White Noise” with steamrolling, skull-smashing kick drums that are as quick as machine guns but hit harder than cannon balls. However, no matter how quickly Archey assaults the listener, he always has a ghost: bassist Gary Herrera. Herrera provides a horrendously heavy coat of muck to every pattern Archey lets loose, synchronizing wonderfully with Archey’s kick drum on “From the Pale Mist” and roaming hither and to on the epic dirge, “Eternally Oblivion.” Together, this duo create a firm foundation for guitarists Adam De Mico and Connor Deffley to raise hell—and the hair on the back of the listener’s neck in the process. Those wondering where the truest source of Lorna Shore’s
Newfound penchant for punishing, riff-heavy death metal came from, look no more. “From the Pale Mist” is a brilliant example of this: De Mico and Deffley are a dynamic tag team of groove and shred. Where one ends, the other begins, taking turns carving deep incisions into the listener’s flesh with each bold chug and colorful riff. Where the listener might have a yearning for unending heaviness, there are the devastating deathcore anthems “White Noise” and “Eternally Oblivion,” which feature some of the heaviest moments of 2015—let alone Psalms. However, “Grimoire,” “Infernal Haunting” and “Harvest Realms” are excellent examples of the band’s more balanced dynamic—showcasing solos and shred-driven passages alongside aggression and awe-inspiring breakdowns.
As Psalms progresses, weighing heavier and heavier on the listener’s shoulders, their prayers become more desperate, and soft whispers turn to pleading screams. Begging for salvation, the listener’s pleas are answered—with a resounding “no” from Lorna Shore’s frontman, Tom Barber. Barber is a butcher, with a visceral scream as raw and putrid as a week-old uncooked steak, and grisly lows that sound like the constipated grunts of Satan himself. Even where Lorna Shore occasionally dip into musical monotony, Barber’s bold screams and brutalizing growls keep the listener focused and immersed. From the first shout of “Grimoire” to the last echoing yells of “Eternally Oblivion,” Barber is unrivaled. With screams that sound like a hybrid of The Black Dahlia Murder and Acrania, and gurgling growls that would put Disfiguring the Goddess’ Cameron Smith to shame, Barber is an unending, peerless source of sinister entertainment.
With Barber’s vocals atop De Mico and Daffley’s dizzying fretwork, supported by Herrera and Archey’s low-end onslaught, Psalms is a devilishly dark and incredibly tasteful combination of death metal and churning, abysmal deathcore with pinches of technicality and atmosphere. True—some tracks are less memorable than others—but even those tracks are far from “filler.” Rather, “Throne of Worms” is just a vector into the vicious “White Noise,” and “Traces of Supremacy” is a sinister segue into the enthralling epic, “Eternally Oblivion.” Lorna Shore have crafted a lurid, loathsome lesson in lacerating heavy music that bands of all styles and genres could learn from. With atmosphere and melody enough to appease fans of melo-death and sludge, but with raw, ruthless punch for those plotting to turn their parent’s living room into a mosh pit, Psalms is pure punishment and infernal aggression that no prayer or person in the sky can save the listener from—that is, if they even want to be saved.
For Fans Of: Oceano, The Black Dahlia Murder, Martyr Defiled, Wretched
By: Connor Welsh