Everyone’s favourite darlings of deathcore, Lorna Shore, have been tearing their way through Europe this month along with Rivers of Nihil, Ingested and Distant, and we popped down to the O2 Academy in Leeds to see what all the fuss was about.
Kicking things off tonight are the Netherlands’ deathcore quartet, Distant who show from the get go that they aren’t ones to take themselves too seriously, coming on stage to the Spongebob Squarepants theme song. The vibe in the room quickly changed as they went into the industrial-tinged The Eternal Lament. The band played a high energy set full of heavy guitars and pig-squeals galore with a lot of encouragement for the crowd to hug each other too. 7/10
Less encouragement for hugs come from Slamchester’s Ingested who are getting the crowd to make as much noise as possible before they’ve even played a note. The new material from their latest album like Shadows In Time is unrelenting live and Skinned and Fucked from their debut album is as punishing and ferocious as it was over a decade ago and will still make you want to punch everyone in sight. The crowd were on board and Ingested were sure to have made a few fans of those who hadn’t checked them out before tonight. 8/10
A bit of a change in pace now but a great bridge between the last band and the headliner are Pennsylvania’s Rivers of Nihil with their progressive brand of death metal. The open with The Silent Life from their critically acclaimed album Where Owls Know My Name before going into their newest track Hellbird which leans on the heavier end of things for them. The rest of the set includes a bit of everything from their back catalogue, ebbing and flowing between death metal riffs with guttural roars and soothing basslines with melodies sung to accompany. 8/10
Lorna Shore’s rise over the last few years has been meteoric, early last year they played the Key Club in Leeds, quickly selling out the 300 capacity venue. Fast forward to the tail end of 2023 and they are now playing to a packed room in the same city almost eight times bigger, and it’s clear to see why.
The lights go down to a cold blue and the symphonic, operatic intro of Welcome Back, O’ Sleeping Dreamer plays into the venue before the crowd is hit by a wall of noise, setting the tone for the rest of the night. The set is packed full of riffs and drums played at an almost hypnotic speed as well as pyro to boot. Crowd favourites Of the Abyss and Sun/Eater are dropped quite early on, as well as an “old” song with the titular track from Immortal. Will Ramos’ demonstrates that he is one of the best vocalists in metal at the moment, he’s pitch perfect and still manages to sound like the mouth of hell itself. You can’t help but stand there with a look of absolute disgust on your face due to how impressive this is long after the band have gone off stage after closing with To the Hellfire.
The band come back on stage for an encore to play the 21 minute epic that is Pain Remains, which sounds insane as an encore but encapsulates everything that makes this band so brilliant at what they do, whether it’s the bass, the pounding drums, Will Ramos’ otherworldly vocals or their soaring guitar solos. During said solo about half way through, however, the song is brought to a sudden stop. Something has happened in the crowd and the band has stopped to check everyone is okay and there are no issues, the band regroup off stage for a second only to continue from where the solo would have finished without missing a beat. Lorna Shore provides an absolute masterclass in what deathcore can be and are a breath of new life in what had become so stale. 10/10