Lorna Shore are the perfect example of a band tapping into their potential (and listening to my recommendations, but that’s less important). The New Jersey-based deathcore group showed immense talent in 2015 with their full-length debut, but, as I said in my review, scattershot and cliche songwriting choices (read: momentum crushing breakdowns) were a real problem and dragged down an otherwise solid release. If they could take their songwriting to the next level, Lorna Shore had the chance to be one of the genre’s greats.
Well, holy Hell, did they step up in a major way with Flesh Coffin. The creepy atmosphere, groove, technicality, and fury are all back and better than we heard in Psalms. It’s not as if a different band stepped in place of what we heard two years ago; instead, it’s just surprising to hear a band truly capitalizing on an opportunity for greatness. Just look at “FVNERAL MOON” as an example. Sure, there are two bone-crunching breakdowns in the tune, but they are deployed in bursts, with either a solo or fantastic riff pulling the song back in the speed realm.
That’s maybe where Lorna Shore have shown their growth most: embracing speed and dynamics. The record revolves around different discussions around death, so it makes sense that it’s a haunting listen (sparsely used but effective keyboards are a nice touch). It also doubles down on the malevolent black metal influence on Psalms, making Flesh Coffin feel like a tech-y blackened death metal record in spirit. The band haven’t forgotten their deathcore roots, but the breakdowns and pummeling nature are used as a flavoring agent more than a main course. Take “the//watcher” which amplifies the symphonic and blackened influences to their maximum levels, while minimizing the core mindset. It’s also a fantastic tune and highlights how wonderfully melodic Flesh Coffin is.
There’s no doubt that Lorna Shore’s sophomore record will go down as one of the best deathcore albums in recent memory. Their form of the style imagines Carnifex’s blackened deathcore, except much more technical and melodic. It’s impressive how catchy such a dark record can be, and given how disappointing aspects of their past work were, Lorna Shore has to be praised for their ability to regroup and improve. Here’s hoping we get something even better in a couple years, even if Flesh Coffin is quite excellent.