Review Summary: An ambitious orphan
My relationship with deathcore has always been somewhat volatile, swinging between genuine interest and deep indifference. If bands such as Thy Art is Murder, Wretched or The Red Chord were able to catch my attention at the beginning of the past decade, I also witnessed a panoply of uninteresting bands that managed to gain strong notoriety within the deathcore scene, without adding anything new to the formula. Therefore, there are a significant number of players within the genre that, in my opinion, are already the result of a worn aesthetic, becoming a set of familiar and unimaginative echoes that can only capture the interest of less demanding listeners. Well, Lorna Shore's Immortal
, despite not presenting anything truly innovative, has the merit of exploring new textures, thus catapulting the band to new horizons. This greater freshness results from the symbiosis of several styles that manage to shape a creature that successfully escapes the stagnant canons of the genre.
Before delving further into the symbiosis present in Immortal
, I cannot fail to point out the drama that preceded the album's release on January 31st, which led to the dismissal of vocalist CJ McCreery, who was involved in some allegations of sexual and emotional abuse. How does an album manage to be properly reproduced and promoted live, when one of its key pieces is missing from the stage? Leaving aside the accusations made against CJ, which belong exclusively to the courts, his contribution to Immortal's
end result is undeniable. His powerful performance delivers the suitable hatred to this hybrid colossus, managing to adjust perfectly to its various nuances.
We are, therefore, facing a singular work, with a life of its own, which will probably never be reproduced in its fullness.
Which brings me back to the style symbiosis I mentioned earlier. Immortal
compiles in its DNA several approaches, which orbit the same structuring deathcore axis. All tracks blend different aesthetics ranging from more conventional deathcore to other peripheral signatures, such as technical death metal, brutal / slam or black metal. But the most contrasting element, which sets Immortal
apart from its predecessors, is the symphonic component, present in songs such as the title track, 'This Is Hell', 'Hollow Sentence' or 'Warpath of Disease'. These new colors give the band's palette greater chromatic diversity, enriching the band's signature. The melodic choruses, that proliferate everywhere, should also be mentioned, in which I would highlight 'Immortal', whose chorus would fit perfectly into an Insomnium song, and 'Darkest Spawn' which is a personal favourite. 'Death Portrait' is another track that reflects the hybrid spirit of the album, combining blackened signatures with brutal / slam and folk melodies.
It goes without saying that technically all musicians are up to the task. The rhythm section is solid, even if I'd prefer a less triggered drums, and the guitar work is top notch, especially the solos, which are clearly above average. As expected by my initial comments, CJ's vocals are excellent, showing great dynamics, always with a massive delivery. Production value is what one would expect within the genre, even if I would prefer a less compressed mastering.
Born out of a drama, Immortal
is an ambitious orphan which seeks its place in the world. It will certainly not be the most magnificent or innovative creature to leave the incubator this year, but it has the merit of taking risks, without repeating the past.