Lorna Shore - Flesh Coffin Review

Deathcore, you brought it up, let’s talk about it.

The much maligned sub-genre played a definitive role in my formative years, I would never have discovered bands like Pig Destroyer and Nasum if it weren’t for bands like Animosity and Despised Icon. From the ages of 18 to about 21 breakdown laden blast-beats were my main jam. I have no qualms in saying that I saw Emmure live several times and did attend so on purpose.

One thing I’ve noticed for many music fans though is that Deathcore seems to only ever constitute being a “phase” in one’s musical journey, as was very much the case for myself. To me, Deathcore has a lot of built in limitations, much like Thrash, that prevent it from ever truly transcending it’s genre’s trappings. For example, Black Metal has gone through many different iterations in it’s brief history, from the hate-filled basement recordings of Darkthrone and Mayhem, to the operatic grandiosity of Immortal to the hipster post-modernism of Deafheaven and Liturgy. Deathcore is, for what it’s worth, a static genre, a sub-genre that cannot evolve without becoming something else entirely.

Yet for all of this, I completely understand it’s appeal. As a youngling, there was no heavier combination I could perceive of than shiny, polished Death Metal riffing culminating in open power chord breakdowns that allowed me to windmill while also getting my bangs out of my face. It’s an easy sound to instantly connect to, one doesn’t have to sit back and consider what aesthetic the band is pursuing or what sound they are trying to emulate. It’s just, IDK, heavy, if not organic necessarily.

Which brings us to Flesh Coffin, the latest offering from New Jersey stalwarts Lorna Shore. Upon listening to their album in it’s entirety I had two conflicting thoughts: 1. that I personally don’t really connect with the style the way I used to and 2. regardless, these guys do a pretty damn good job and deserve credit for what they do.

One of my biggest complaints about this style of music is the production. Often times the recordings are so synthetic and trigger based that it takes any type of human feel out of the songs. Though the drums are heavily triggered and everything is pristinely presented there is a bit of a layer of smoky ambience over the proceedings that does seem to at least add some character to this album that I really do appreciate.

Musically, if the point of this recording was to show you how virtuosic these dudes are at their instruments, then mission accomplished. These guys shred, no question about it, but they also keep it tasteful enough that the solos are subject to the song-writing and not the other way around. All the blasting Death stuff is actually really well done and compelling, reminiscent of later era Cryptopsy and fellow New Jerseyians Cognitive. The album, particularily the latter half, also begins to incorporate a strong Black Metal presence, such as on songs like “the//watcher” and “Black Hollow”, both of which feature strong hooks and despondant atmosphere.

 If this album does have an Achille’s Heel, I would have to say it would be the breakdowns. Maybe my ear has outgrown this particular sensation, but a lot of the breakdowns here feel unimaginative and honestly kind of boring in comparison to the rest of the stuff going on. They also don’t really feel heavy to me and are executed with such minimal creativity that I almost can sense the band was reluctant to put them in the songs in the first place.

So in summation, yes, Deathcore is still around in 2017 and having worked at a Hot Topic for two years, I know there are plenty of people out there who still listen to it. Overall this is a pretty well done album, especially for a genre that finds itself suddenly out of vogue. I am honestly very curious as to see where this band is heading towards in the future.

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