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To The Hellfire: Lorna Shore Reigns Supreme


Story and Photos: Brian Schmidt


After a long rainy trek, I arrived in Lincoln, damp, sea legged, and unsure of what I was about to get myself into. The show was hosted by The 1867 bar, which is really two catty cornered commercial lots conjoined at the corners, with one side dedicated to the stage, and the other hosting the bar as well as merch tables and a sofa area with a playable Mario Kart 64 station for guests to drunkenly destroy their friends on Choco Mountain. I arrived right as the first band started their set and was immediately floored by how many people were packed into this mid-sized venue. There were people literally wall to wall with very little legroom in between. I have never seen this many people show up for an opener at a metal show. Either Iced Wrist were local legends before the show, or they became local legends.


Iced Wrist was pretty solid. Dudes sounded heavy and super clean. They don’t seem to have too much traction yet, as they only have the two singles, but for my money, the ball is rolling. I also really like their aesthetic. They have some pretty unique merch that doesn’t really fit the typical deathcore vibe, which is super oversaturated with the same old gory sci-fi-ish imagery. I love the minimalist font and diamond logo, it’s a cool combo.

The band played both singles which are solid Deathcore romps, as well as some unreleased material, and were at one point joined on stage by another vocalist, whom I unfortunately did not recognize. I’m fairly new to the Local Lincoln scene so I apologize for not knowing who this dude was, though it didn’t stop me from being really excited when he jumped on stage to tear it up. I love crossover episodes!

Check out Iced Wrists Cool merch, as well as their singles on Bandcamp. https://icedwrist.bandcamp.com/

Up next was Distant who usually hail from the Lands Between, The Netherlands. Speaking of distance, Distant, Signs of the Swarm, as well as Lorna Shore were in Lincoln as a pregame for their upcoming Chaos and Carnage tour with Suicide Silence and Carnifex. Dang Chaos and Carnage, why are you being so standoffish. Us midwestern folk clearly want to see that given our turnout for the pregame. Distant managed to pack even more people into an already crowded venue. Photos were a challenge from here on out, but thankfully I had just received a new lens earlier that day, which made the process a little easier.


The band played their unique, fantasy heavy slower brand of Deathcore to a heavy downpour, which helped cool down the venue from the open door right next to the stage, where bands typically load equipment in and out of. I was posted up right next to it, so I fortunately remained comfortable throughout the show, though I'm sure some on the other side of the room had a different experience. I distinctly remember the band ended a song with a particularly brutal guttural scream and at the same time the rain let up. Interestingly enough this may have been some sort of black magic sorcery. The band focuses heavily on fantasy roots and have two full length albums out that essentially combine to form a huge fantasy concept album accompanied by a novel, which I’m almost certain is a first, at least in the brutal deathcore community. Also, during the set, the singer would frequently contort his fingers as if casting spells on the mesmerized crowd. It was ultimately an incredibly unique experience. I’m buying the book!

Read up on Tyrannotophian lore at https://distantofficial.com/

Next up were Pittsburg-ian prophets Signs of the Swarm, who brought some of the rowdiest pits I’ve seen in a while, which was a miracle considering how little room there was to move. SOS was the next band to bring on a guest vocalist, although it was another guy who I’ve never seen before. Maybe I just need to brush up on my Slam and Brutal Deathcore knowledge or something. I apologize if these are big name guys in the scene, I am mostly ignorant to the genre, (uncultured I know.)



The band also started the trend of hiring professional crowd surfers, probably. I’ve never seen crowd surfing go that smoothly, and I’m half convinced that those were deliberately placed actors to bring hype to the crowd. Dudes were literally crowd surfing from the stage to the back of the room. Crowd surfing never goes that smoothly. Maybe the band was on some Alpha Brain superpower giving stuff that allowed them to levitate the divers over the audience. That stuff probably gives them glowing gold excrement that turns the flies gay, because those stage dives were supernatural. I should also give a shoutout to their singer David Simonich who I spotted helping tear down the drum kit after their set. That’s literal King Stuff!

You can purchase Psychic Gold Tinged Excrement Supplements at https://linktr.ee/signsoftheswarm

During the soundcheck I noticed a few things about Lorna Shore. They all are wearing super rad black jackets with cool probably satanic symbols painted in white on them, already a good sign. They also really like Staind’s, "Right Here", as they were singing the chorus as it was playing over the PA, which has officially been certified by the Official Board of Millennial Historical Society as a bop, and shall be referred to as such. Another thing I noticed is that yes, in fact, even more people can fit in The 1867. At this point I felt like the bar was turning into one of the row houses at the end of classic Japanese horror manga Uzumaki. Don’t look it up unless you want to lose your lunch.


Lorna Shore kicked things off with their title track from 2020’s Immortal, which was actually one of my top five albums of that year. It’s high octane, technical Deathcore, with catchy choruses infused with gorgeous orchestral scores. It’s marred only by ex-Signs of the Swarm/Lorna Shore CJ McCreery’s vocals, which feel a little icky after he was fired over sexual misconduct allegations. Fortunately, this seems to have worked out for the best as new singer Will Ramos is a beast! Dudes got technical proficiency akin to Travis Ryan, or Trevor Strnad, and is a large reason why their single "To the Hellfire", reached number one its first week on the iTunes metal charts.

Up next was …"And I Return to Nothingness", the title of their EP, a monolithic juggernaut, and a masterclass in the art of the EP. The band would go on to play both of the other singles from the EP throughout the course of the show, showing just how much love people have for it.

After the third or fourth track, the Ramos parted the red sea of crowd goers commanding the two sides to collide in a wall of death. Upon windup I, along with other outliers were squashed against the walls, with myself having to hold on to a PA speaker for dear life with one hand, and the other holding on to my camera, and brand-new lens directly up in the air, praying it would survive.

After the explosion of hair, fists, and 00-gauge plugs, I emerged unscathed, but much further back than expected and there was no chance of getting close to the stage for more photos. I decided to get some air and hung around at the bar for a minute, when one of the employees asked me if I wanted to stand on the concert bar, which was now being used as the audio engineering table, which was an awesome way to get the rest of my shots.


The band “ended” the show with, "Of The Abyss", another track from the EP. The band played it so clean that my phone, which has a google function that identifies songs when music is playing, picked up on the song and even identified the correct track, all while in the super loud concert space. When the band was finished, the crowd chanted for one more song. The band strapped back on their instruments and Ramos told the crowd “We usually end on that one, but we got one more for you,” which obviously was a lie, as the band had not played their most successful track of their careers yet. The band whipped the crowd into a frenzy with "To the Hellfire", ending on Ramos’ snarling gutturals which make the track so memorable to begin with. Legitimately Ramos will no doubt go down as one of the greatest death metal vocalists of all time, if only for his performance on this track.

If you listen to just one thing from this article, it has to be "To the Hellfire"! Check it out here https://lornashorestore.com/


Huge shoutout to Lorna Shore's Management for photo access!


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Lorna Shore


Signs of the Swarm


Distant


Iced Wrist


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