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Pain Remains LS


Album Review: LORNA SHORE Pain Remains

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Fourth time's the charm for Lorna Shore, who exploded last year with the introduction of new vocalist Will Ramos. Their EP …And I Return To Nothingness and its lead single "To The Hellfire" was a smash hit, earning Lorna Shore the respect they've sought for so long. Ten years, multiple lineup changes, and a global pandemic wasn't enough to stop them. It's just made them heavier than ever.

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Let's get one thing out of the way first; Will Ramos is one of the best deathcore vocalists in the scene today. We thought we'd heard him at his most monstrous last year, but Pain Remains proves us wrong. It's his performance, his ability to nail every type of extreme metal vocal style, that continues to drive Lorna Shore's rise. He's going to ruin a generation's eardrums if he keeps this up.

Musically, Lorna Shore are more over-the-top than ever. The guitar is almost drowned out by overwhelming orchestral sections the likes of which we've rarely heard in deathcore. This is Nightwish-level bombast, the kind that Dimmu Borgir convinced every black metal band they could do in the 2000s, but which so few managed to well. And it's absolutely not just keyboard choir effects and cheap strings, either. Lorna Shore's symphonic sections range from crushingly complicated to genuinely heartfelt. Parts of "Sun//Eater" wouldn't be out of place on a Lord of the Rings soundtrack, with the song's last third verging into epic power metal territory. It's still held together by Will Ramos, who presides over the album like the Grand Duke of Hell.

Lorna Shore could have been forgiven for trying to court a more mainstream audience after last year's success. They've done the opposite. By cranking up all the things that make them unique, they've pushed themselves further creatively than they ever have before. The final three-part title track clocks in at nearly 20 minutes, including a nine-minute final act that encapsulates everything Lorna Shore have improved on. They've completely shed their tough-guy hardcore attitude and found their place in the gloriously nerdy world of metal.

Genre pigeonholeing has always been a double edged sword in metal. Sometimes it's hard to know how much of it is online bickering and how much actually translates to real life. There was a time when fans of deathcore and fans of symphonic power metal wouldn't be caught dead at the same concert. Early attempts to cross the two genres like Winds of Plague had reasonable success, but nothing like what Lorna Shore have been experiencing. Metal is a much less discriminating place in 2022 and the genre-obsessed crowd seems to be shrinking every year. It's allowed us to have all these amazing crossovers recently. Pushing the envelope of heaviness has always been a self-professed goal of metalheads, but few have taken the steps recently to actually pull it off the way Lorna Shore have on Pain Remains.

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Pain Remains is even better than we had hoped. Anyone who thought the last EP was a fluke or a passing trend has been proved wrong. Lorna Shore joins the likes of Spiritbox and I Prevail at the very top of modern metal. Lorna Shore are several degrees heavier than those two bands though, an unstoppable juggernaut driven by confidence and raw talent. Nobody can accuse them of selling out. It's been a long, hard road and all the work has paid off. Lorna Shore have delivered the best album of their career and one of the best symphonic metal and deathcore albums in recent memory.

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