Without getting into numerous genre debates, The Red Shore
is a band hailing from Geelong, Australia that, for the most part, falls under the category of deathcore yet retains some aspects of technical death metal and straight death metal. In 2008 they released their debut full length under SOAR, Unconsecrated
, which was an album filled to the brim full of unrelenting, pound-your-face-in metal. And while is may have been a fairly good album, it lacked keeping the listener interesting in fully hearing the album without either getting bored or sonically exhausted: it was a chore to listen to, basically. 2009 rolls around and The Red Shore takes an unexpected turn for the masses and have released Lost Verses
, a compilation of older songs from The Red Shore’s past. For those who have not been following the band for the past two years, in the winter of 2007 The Red Shore’s lead vocalist, as well as their merchandiser was killed in a fatal car accident while on tour. While some bands would have called it quits, The Red Shore decided to carry on with then-bassist Jamie Hope taking over vocal duties.
Lost Verses can be taken in two ways. It can either be taken as a tribute to their fallen member, Damien Morris, or it can be taken as a spit to his legacy in the band. Either way, it is fairly easy to say that the rerecorded and redone vocals have definitely improved since their starting days. Lost Verses showcases everything that The Red Shore is and even hints to some exciting new directions that the band might/could be taking in the near future, but there also are some parts that could be skipped altogether.
Let us try something new and actually start with the bad in this record. Breakdowns… Now I happen to be a fan of breakdowns and encourage them for most metal bands. But the amount of sheer ‘cheesiness’ in the breakdowns that this records holds is just appalling. Nearly every song on this record has a building to some of the most unremarkable, downtuned mess of a breakdown I have ever heard. While some in the ‘scene world’ of MySpace and the ‘bros’ in the pit while definitely be busting a nut over this, it does little to one with a more refined taste in music to appreciate, if at all.
But let’s carry on to the good of this release. Carrying on my talk of the breakdowns in this record, it is hard to find blame in the band for these as these are rerecorded older tracks from a time when their musical experience could have been limited, and as such, so could have been their musical creativity. Now there are great parts of this album that shine out through the dark in this record. An interesting improvement from their debut, The Red Shore have started to employ the use of keyboards in their sound that bring a symphonic atmosphere to their music that sees them dabble into the far reaches of black metal. Tracks such as The Valentines Day Massacre
and Pulling Teeth
, while still juvenile for most black metal acts, showcases potential for a band riding the wave of a stagnating genre. Another bright side to this album is the vocals from Jamie Hope. In Unconsecrated, Hope seems to try too hard to mimic ex-vocalist Morris’ vocal style, which was not surprising seeing how a percentage of the songs off the debut still had the original vocals of Morris still in them. However, in Lost Verses we start to hear a more comfortable Jamie Hope, falling into a niche between his high’s and low’s that sounds more and more like an individual vocalist, rather than a copy/paste version of the bands older self.
When all is said and done, is this record worth your time? Absolutely. While it can be very hard to get through some of the immature breakdowns splattered all throughout the record, it does give hope that the band will take the positive parts of this album and expand upon it in their next release, whenever that may be. Hopefully we can expect a new Hate Eternal
or perhaps a newer, refined version of Behemoth
coming from The Red Shore in the near future. This is all speculation of course, but one can dream. Lost Verses can be seen as a tribute to their old vocalist, Damien Morris, for recognizing his contributions to this band, but it also can be seen as a final farewell, that The Red Shore is ready to step out of the confines of deathcore and onto a newer, better chapter in the life of their band.