Fans of Deathcore may be familiar with the New Jersey quartet Lorna Shore. Their three extended plays proceeded by the well-received debut full length album Psalms have garnered them a steady fan base and have established them among the genres main attractions, touring with the likes of Fallujah, Chelsea Grin and The Black Dahlia Murder. Their eagerly anticipated sophomore album Flesh Coffin is due for release on February 17th 2017, but how does it stack up to their debut?
The opening track of the album Offering of Fire starts with an intro reminiscent of the grave tones set in place by the opening track of Psalms. The 45 second intro suddenly erupts in to frantic blast beats and low growls that are synonymous with the genre. Listeners will note immediately how vocalist Tom Barber has captured a more refined style of aggressive vocals sometimes feeling like an amalgamation of Glen Benton and Mitch Lucker. Unfortunately not much stands out about the opening track and truth be told, at a length of 5:49, the song seems to drag a little and could do with being a minute or two shorter.
This is quickly forgiven however with the albums next track Denounce The Light. Here the band have borrowed elements of symphonic black metal, incorporating strings that generate an eerie atmosphere akin to that of Midian-ere Cradle of Filth. Easily one of the album’s highlights.
The following tracks The Astral Wake of Time and Desolate Veil continue a strong sequence capped off by the single FVNERAL MOON. Here guitarist Adam DeMicco showcases some remarkable technical work, shredding a beautiful solo into one of the customary breakdowns at around the two minute mark absolutely nailing it.
It is regretful to say that this is where the album somewhat hits a wall as the following tracks feel formulaic like the band premeditated where exactly the breakdowns, blast beats and shredding should occur rather than letting them flow naturally. While there is a variety of different vocal styles on show and a lot of mosh-worthy moments, these tracks feel stale and a little uninspired which is disappointing considering the strong sequence of tracks that preceded them.
However the album finishes on a high point with the title track Flesh Coffin. Reminiscent of early Bring Me The Horizon, the epilogue for the album seems to break away from the harshness and introduce a little sweetness and melancholy to their sound (obviously while at all times remaining brutal). Some excellent cohesion is displayed here with the quartet showcasing a potential for more variation in their music and perhaps an insight into things to come.
Flesh Coffin is an okay album that should appease Lorna Shore fans and Deathcore fans alike. However one can’t help but feel that the band missed an opportunity here to really build on Psalms and break the mould. Whilst breakdowns, blast beats, treble picking and growls are pretty much the go to ingredients for any Deathcore band, this album feels like those elements are not only forced but excessively at times leaving little room for exploration and presenting only glimpses of the band stepping outside of their comfort zones. With Suicide Silence set to break away from their roots for a more Metalcore sound this year, there is certainly room for one band to step in and assume the vacancy at the top of the scene. Alas, I do not believe Flesh Coffin will propel Lorna Shore to these heights, but should provide adequate listening for anyone who needs brutality in their music.