Lorna Shore w/ Distant & Cabal – The Fleece Bristol, Wednesday 9th March 2022

Lorna Shore were one of the unfortunate bands who were playing in the UK at the time when everything started to shut down in March of 2020. Forced to cut their expedition as part of the Rising Death Merch – Faces Of Death tour alongside Decapitated short after just two dates, they returned home before getting marooned in foreign seas. Unquestionably the biggest breakout success for extreme metal during the pandemic, with their new vocalist Will Ramos, Lorna Shore became one of the most unmissable live bands for when touring resumed. After already being rescheduled from January, Lorna Shore returned to the UK with loose ends to tie up.

Getting the festivities underway were Copenhagen’s Cabal. Having three crushing bands back-to-back can cause some fatigue but Cabal did a great job of setting the tone without beating you over the head with it. With a pretty sizable crowd showing up before they took to the stage, they made good use of this last date of the tour to build the event up and keep the energy high. The bill was very well curated and having Cabal open things up was a great balance of warming the crowd up without burying them with breakdowns.

Score: 7/10

Distant was up next and if Cabal had won people over by whetting their appetites, here came Distant with a full meal in one hand and a smack across the jaw in the other. For preparing the crowd for the sheer heaviness still to come, you couldn’t have asked for a more perfect fit. Distant weren’t there to tie the night over before the headliner, they fired on all cylinders. Their heaviness out the gate forced people to pay attention and they kept delivering on that promise from the moment they came on stage to the last note they played. If you’re already well on board this Deathcore momentum train, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have the name Distant in that mix. Don’t be surprised if they become deathcore’s version of the band that appears here, there and everywhere and always gives the headliner a run for their money.

Score: 8/10

The anticipation in the room for Lorna Shore to finally take to the stage in Bristol was tangible but that barrier between fan and band was broken down before the set. With the band coming on stage to set everything up and Will Ramos interacting with the crowd, it may have removed some of the tension but it made the evening feel like a mutual celebration. Within what felt like five seconds of Ramos leaving the stage, the first notes of To The Hellfire turns the crowd into a frenzy of cheers in what is now an iconic opening.

To The Hellfire is undeniably a huge reason why a large portion of the crowd had bought a ticket for the show and that’s not a negative, the way the crowd responds to every section of the track gives it deathcore anthem status. They open the set by playing the three tracks from the And I Return To Nothingness EP in order and each one is crushing but has it’s own identity. 

Being the only material Lorna Shore have that features Ramos on it, he was always going to be the biggest talking point for fans when the EP dropped and it’s his inhuman sounding vocals that launched To The Hellfire into the labyrinth of TikTok fame. Ramos is one of the best talents to truly arrive on a big scale in recent years, his vocal performance is everything and more that you could want from someone fronting this band. It doesn’t take anyone long to notice the incredible range he has between his highs and lows but most impressive is the delivery and tone. His vocals never get clogged up in sections where everything sounds similar and is indistinguishable, his vocals in tone and delivery are clear and so varied that despite being disgustingly abrasive, it leaves room for melody and moments where the crowd are shouting right back at him.

This sentiment goes for the entire band and that stops the show from having a momentum shift once they run through their tracks featuring Ramos back-to-back. With five tracks still to go after seemingly blitzing through the EP material, there is no adrenaline dump. Everything said about Ramos’ vocal performance could be translated to the rest of the band. Not only are they all one of the most technically impressive deathcore bands, the crucial part is that none of their tracks ever become just a segway to another chugging breakdown. 

The melody in the guitars separates them from the pack and hearing it live makes you forget you’re not in an arena. Whilst the limitations of playing in smaller rooms does result in the orchestral elements of the band not playing as big a part as they do on record, this is something that will surely grow as the band do. Austin Archey’s drumming is so relentless that you’d be mistaken for thinking they do in fact have the backing of added percussion. His kicking is a head-spinning thing to witness live and once again that goes for the rest of the band who sound as machine-like live as they do on record.

When you pull yourself out of the depths for a second and take in just how precise every member is when playing at this intensity, you realise that the wait was more than worth it. With huge deathcore tracks like Immortal and King ov Deception already in their locker, their trip to the UK in 2020 was an exciting enough proposition but they’ve returned two years later with a genre-defining EP, a new vocalist that can lead this charge from the front and the hype around them as THE extreme metal band to watch right now. 

For the people who sold out this tour and led to the venues being upgraded time and time again, they could find themselves in a position in a few years where they reminisce about the time that Lorna Shore returned to the UK and how special it is in hindsight. Viva la deathcore revolution. 

Score: 9/10

All images were taken at the Manchester show.

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