REVIEW: Lorna Shore – …And I Return to Nothingness [EP/2021]

Artist: Lorna Shore

Album: …And I Return to Nothingness (EP)

            When it comes to music—especially heavy or extreme music—listeners in general seem to have an attraction to releases that make them feel. This isn’t to discount heaviness for the sake of heaviness (who doesn’t love a good ol’ breakdown?), but many of metalcore, post-hardcore and even deathcore’s most revered releases are ones that evoke a strong emotional component. Often times, that emotion can be sorrow or longing—in the case of many archetypal deathcore releases it can be anger or hatred—but so rarely is it a feeling of eerie, hollow nothingness.

            Which is just one of the many ways in which …And I Return to Nothingness is unique from most contemporary heavy music.

            With their long-awaited 2021 EP, Lorna Shore create an immolating, ferocious record that drowns the listener in a brooding, forlorn sense of visceral dread; the type of dread that comes from feeling your innards engulfed by an all-consuming void. It’s one of very few releases in contemporary deathcore that manage to evoke a sensation of both awe and fear, using everything from righteously cinematic symphonic segments to spine-shattering breakdowns and primal brutality. In short, …And I Return to Nothingness is more than Lorna Shore lashing out after a prolonged (and dramatic) silence—it is Lorna Shore deftly reaching to take hold of heavy music’s throne.

            …And I Return to Nothingness is a colossal release—and while it may only be three tracks long, its robust, nearly twenty minute run time leaves the listener nigh overwhelmed with a crushing cavalcade of heavy music drawing from a myriad styles. The relentless (and viral) opening cut, “To the Hellfire” sees the band using a stuttering breakdown with relentless percussion and scattered, supportive symphonic elements to dazzle the listener. Meanwhile, “Of The Abyss” sees the band pursue a more overtly metallic approach, with in-your-face orchestral arrangements that support a skin-rending, ferocious approach to deathcore. Throughout …And I Return to Nothingness, Lorna Shore provide nothing but intense and inventive instrumentation, abundant from Austin Archey’s infamous skills behind the kit to Adam De Micco’s infernal fretwork. Where Immortal saw the band’s instrumentation take a considerable leap from their previous efforts, …And I Return to Nothingness continues the trend, albeit in a more subtle fashion. Archey’s drumming continues to inspire nothing short of pure awe, where De Micco incorporates more soaring solos and flesh-rending riffs into the mix without sacrificing the stuttering, jarring breakdowns the band have become known for. The record’s titular track closes out the EP in a manner more fitting to the band’s relative growth, with a stunning, Peter Jackson style sense of cinematic grandiosity that sees an amalgam of the band’s furious fretwork, mesmerizing symphonics and immolating percussion all in one. Where “To the Hellfire” is definitely breakdown-heavy, and sees Lorna Shore at their all-time heaviest, several moments of “Of the Abyss” and nearly the entirety of “…And I Return to Nothingness” see the band switching things up considerably, and absolutely dominating while doing so.

            To say news from Lorna Shore following early 2020’s release of Immortal is an understatement—but more than just any news, what people wanted in particular was news pertaining to the band’s vocal element. Without much in the way of live performances to go on (thanks, Covid), people were left guessing—although it wasn’t an enormous surprise to hear that the band’s new vocalist was to be none other than Will Ramos. Ramos, who has already made a name for himself elsewhere throughout the heavy music community, is the perfect fit for Lorna Shore. Where “To the Hellfire” sees Ramos letting loose with what many (myself included) consider to be among the most gnarly, visceral and downright disgusting displays of vocal prowess in contemporary heavy music, his onslaught doesn’t end there. The entirety of …And I Return to Nothingness is a relative playground for Ramos, as he shows off with an unfathomable range and absolutely insane display of technical skill, enunciation and articulation. It’s hard to really say more about Ramos—at this point, his talent and success with Lorna Shore is well established, even weeks before the entirety of their 2021 EP is released—his skill, style, diversity and power simply demand not only attention, but respect.

            In 2020, I boldly claimed that Lorna Shore’s Immortal stood as one of the finest contributions to deathcore in recent history (possibly ever). I still stand by that—it was impressive then, it’s impressive now and it fails to falter with age. What I didn’t elaborate much on was concern that it would be tough to top. However, I would submit that any of the songs on …And I Return to Nothingness tower over any corollary song on Immortal, and, in keeping, just about anything else deathcore has seen in the interim between the two releases. If Lorna Shore weren’t the undisputed kings of the genre then, they certainly are now—as I can think of very few bands who have been as consistently thrilling or have as consistently pushed the envelope in turns of their own growth or the constraints of the genre they play within. Lorna Shore are in indominable force as proved on …And I Return to Nothingness, nothing more and certainly nothing less.


For Fans Of: Signs of the Swarm, Dark Throne, Oceano, The Black Dahlia Murder, Worm Shepherd

By: Connor Welsh