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Tuesday 12 December 2023

A View From The Back Of The Room: Lorna Shore (Live Review By Matt Bladen)

Lorna Shore, Rivers Of Nihil, Ingested & Distant, Great Hall, Cardiff 04.12.23

Cardiff got their heavy on for this mammoth four band deathtour. Ranging from tech metal, to blackened Deathcore, to disgusting death metal, there was diversity to the line up but enough similarities that the collected mass of South Wales' metal scene (and there was a lot of them) would be able to start pits and keep them going all night.

What I was struck by entering into the brand new students union, is that the Great Hall is relatively unchanged, like a fossil inside a brand new rock formation. 

There's something comforting about that but what I also noticed was how diverse the fandom was for the headliner, goth kids, emo kids, old school ravers people who should have known better, I had this fear that's I'd be like a metal grampa in there but nothing was further from the truth as there were actual grampas in there. It shows the appeal of the headliner.

Anyway in to the bands and we managed to catch the last half of Distant's (7) set, the Dutch Deathcore machine beating down Cardiff from early doors, gutteral growls and shrieks as black metal blast beats gallop behind heavy mechanical breakdowns, while the conceptual lyrics may not have had quite the effect without the synchronisation of an album but the crowd didn't care as it was their first chance to slam dance.

With a short change over it was time for Mancunian marauders Ingested (8) to take the stage with ferocity throwing in more brutal and technical death metal flourishes while retaining the deathcore vein that was present through the evening. 

Faster, harder and disgustingly br00tal Ingested were probably the odd ones out on the bill but it was great way to introduce themselves to a wider audience. Relentless drumming from Lyn Jeffs, flesh ripping guitars from Sean Hynes and paint peeling vocals from Jay Evans, Ingested stood their ground in a sea of deathcore.

If I went to a shrink to analyse my Rivers Of Nihil (5) experience, she'd say it's lack of sax that's brining me down. (Sorry Green Day). Nowhere to be heard was the brass instrument that made me love them on Where Owls Know My Name. Unfortunately without that there music is a little one dimensional, repeating grooves with very little deviation, the nuances washed out in Great Hall's vastness. 

It wasn't just me as many of the folks around me took this time to head to the bar or the bathroom, maybe it was an off night but thes rivers didn't flow as strongly this time around.

Then it was time for the main event, a band who are still immensely popular, despite having a former vocalist who was 'cancelled' for sexual abuse and no original members. They have acquired a fanbases avid enough to be headline venues of this size, having a more consistent line up since 2020. 

Their sound is brutal, the lowest frequency crushing deathcore with massive riffs that make the mass of bodies undulate and head bang in time to the rhythmic violence. When the opened up the pace a little the pits formed, the band chugging away with through tracks taken from their 2022 album Pain Remains and 2021 EP ...And I Return From Nothingness

The vocals from Will Ramos are expressive, he's got huge range, guttural lows and screaming highs, he's a heck of a modern metal singer. The show was punishing but Cardiff didn't care if it was a Monday night, with Lorna Shore (8) laying down the beatings, it was a Saturday in The Great Hall.

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