For LORNA SHORE, 2020 was nothing short of a reckoning – in a career built on challenges, changes and a single-minded vision. For the New Jersey quintet 2020 signaled the pandemic, a singer change, cancelled tours. The following year presented the band with a staggering creative challenge in the form of the song, “To the Hellfire” from their hugely well-regarded …And I Return to Nothingness-EP. Yet, through it all, they upped their sonic ante with their upcoming album, Pain Remains, that not only aligns with everything LORNA SHORE has hinted at but it also exceeds that – brutally and magnificently. “It feels like a rebirth of everything for us – the energy, the band, the morale,” says drummer Austin Archey.
Pain Remains is the product of the same struggle and deluge of personal and creative hells that’s marked LORNA SHORE’s entire career. “This was the hardest record in our career that we’ve ever had to write,” says guitarist Adam De Micco. “We were no longer in the underdog position. Because of the EP and ‘…Hellfire’, we knew we had to top ourselves. It was a different kind of pressure. For me. the mental struggle was being seen in a new light – we had to make sure that we weren’t going to be seen as some flickering flame.” When the band decamped to Michigan’s Random Awesome Studios with producer Josh Schroeder in the Fall of 2021, LORNA SHORE was on a creative and personal high that carried them through five weeks of hard work and intense creativity. “The biggest challenge for me was me being my own adversary,” the guitarist admits. “Overcoming my own self-doubt and feelings of self-worth.”
Pain Remains is the sound of a band that has honed their sound and identity. From the opening choral chants and orchestration (composed by guitarist Andrew O’Connor) of “Welcome Back, O’ Sleeping Dreamer” straight into labyrinth of musical twists, turns, technicalities and raw emotion at the core of tracks like “Sun//Eater” or “Soulless Existence”, LORNA SHORE has woven together a sprawling document of ambition, soul and ability that few can match. It also is the sound of LORNA SHORE breaking out of any sort of categorization and stepping into their own as a great extreme metal band. With Pain Remains, LORNA SHORE has truly arrived. “That’s been the idea and the vision for the band for years,” states Adam. “We’ve never wanted to be limited or meet someone’s expectations of what we’re supposed to be.”
That vision has been the mark of LORNA SHORE’s career since De Micco and Archey first joined forces. Before releasing their 2015 LP, Psalms, which was voiced by future Chelsea Grin frontman, Tom Barber, LORNA SHORE had toured heavily with the likes of The Black Dahlia Murder, Dying Fetus, Deicide and Archspire, amongst others, honing a reputation as a pummeling live proposition. 2017’s Flesh Coffin-LP was a further refinement of the LORNA SHORE sound infusing their sound with deeper black metal overtures while heavying up the “deathcore” elements for a terrifying new sonic paradigm. With 2019’s Century Media debut, Immortal and the arrival of guitarist and composer, Andrew O’Connor, LORNA SHORE had challenged the conventions of the genre with an album of even more complex arrangements, massive riffs and visceral bombast: a masterstroke of an album in sound and scope.
LORNA SHORE found themselves plunged into the proverbial hellfire once again in late 2019. They were forced into a search for a new voice to spearhead the band. Enter Will Ramos (ex-Monument of a Memory and Awake In Providence), already a friend of the band’s from New Jersey, who would go on to become the lightning rod presence and the crucial component to spark the band’s creative chemistry. “I had always wanted to be in LORNA SHORE but never expected to be asked – probably because of some crippling self-doubt!” laughs Ramos. “When they asked, it was a classic ‘Oh shit!’ moment.” Ramos recounts his first performances with LORNA SHORE as a “complete trial by fire” as the band headed to Europe in March 2020 with Polish death metal legends, Decapitated, only to have the tour cut short by the onset of COVID and the subsequent world shut down.
…And I Return To Nothingness was recorded months later. It didn’t merely introduce a new singer to LORNA SHORE’s fan-base, but brought the band itself to a bigger audience than anyone could have imagined. “To The Hellfire” took on a life of its own, not merely as a meteoric viral phenomenon on platforms like TikTok, securing the band millions of views and impressions, but it also cemented LORNA SHORE as a legitimate force in their own right. “I’m a firm believer in the butterfly effect,” says Adam. “While you can try and boil it down to one song or one moment in a song, that’s just one moment in a career with a lot leading up to that.” “’Hellfire’ was a big, viral moment for the band, but we are way more than just a viral 30-second breakdown band,” adds Austin.
Clocking in at just over an hour, Pain Remains is as far-reaching in scope as any modern extreme metal album. It thinks big, pushing beyond preconception or musical boundaries. “The title came out when I was writing the album,” recalls Adam. “I had a lot going on personally. A lot of loss – and that came out in the songwriting.” Nothing makes that more apparent than the three-part album-shuttering opus, “Pain Remains” that stretches over 20 minutes, bludgeoning the listener with a sense of scale and raw emotion with Will venting over a tidal of cascading riffs, animalistic growls and swelling synths. “I always wanted to write a really sad death metal song, a deathcore love song,” says Will. “When I first heard the music, it had so much emotion – have you ever fallen in love in a dream and woken up and realized that none of it was real? It’s about chasing that emotion.”
For LORNA SHORE, their determination and grit are paying off – massively. With new bassist, Michael “Moke” Yager rounding out the lineup, they’ve found themselves on the cover of Britain’s Rock Sound, slated for an upcoming European run with Australian metalcore behemoths, Parkway Drive and a recent, sold out headline tour of the UK that won raves from Kerrang! and plaudits like Rock Sound declaring online: “Every element of what they delivered, from air-tight performance to the atmospherically stunning lights, deserves to be on the biggest stages the world has to offer.”
“It’s been a long journey but the vision has always been me and Adam’s,” sums up Austin. “Through all these challenges, membership changes, I don’t feel like we’ve ever reached our full potential until now. We’ve stuck to it and it’s definitely less of a ‘Let’s prove people wrong’ aspect that we’ve always rode with. I think the resilience has made for better music and more of a story to tell. It’s authentic – and we’re still chasing that vision.”