A few weeks ago, Lorna Shore released Flesh Coffin (read our review), their heaviest and most mature record yet. The album showed the band honing in on and refining their signature brand of blackened deathcore in a way we have yet to see.
I was able to catch up with guitarist Adam De Micco a few weeks ago when they played The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn alongside Carnifex, Fallujah, Rings of Saturn and She Must Burn. In our conversation, we delved below the surface of Flesh Coffin into their philosophy behind the music, as well as their riff on today’s metal scene.
Flesh Coffin: The Inception
Listening to the 45-minute epic that is Flesh Coffin, it’s hard to fathom that 4 metal musicians from New Jersey pulled it off in the short span of 3 months. Let alone, "it was actually the most time we ever spent as a band recording new material." Adam reveals that their previous releases were all recorded right before heading to the studio. "We literally wrote 6 songs for Psalms in 4 days."
Convinced Lorna Shore were actually robots programmed to produce metal music at rapid speeds, I had to know how it was done. It turns out that their creative process is quite simple, with Adam writing the bulk of their music:
"The process starts with me writing and demoing everything. Then my drummer Austin Archey comes in and we arrange songs. He adds drums and programs parts. We take time to listen to everything and make objective decisions and then put it together and record it in the studio."
While they thrive on a no-frills approach to creating music, the band took it a step further on Flesh Coffin. They had big goals and needed to produce an even bigger sound to match. "Musically we wanted to be more aggressive, while still making sense. We wanted to keep the listener on their toes, while still making it digestible so you don’t feel lost listening to it."
Check out the band's video for the song "Flesh Coffin"
Given writing is Adam’s main focus in Lorna Shore, he worked relentlessly to execute this vision for Flesh Coffin and show listeners that the band had come a long way since Psalms was released in 2015. Like any artist he is his own worst critic, "Psalms felt like a smorgasbord of riffs. This time I wanted to make it cohesive, but still have it be interesting enough so it makes sense."
"Flesh Coffin was way more thought out than before. On the last Carnifex tour that I was on, I sat in the back of the van for 6 weeks with a pen and paper critiquing every single thing I did on Psalms, just meticulously going over every part. I analyzed everything we did to right where we went wrong, but also to see where we went right and amplify that."
"Even before we wrote anything, Austin and I sat down and conceptually figured out what kind of songs we wanted to make. We never did that before. In the past, we had ideas, threw them into a song, and that was that."
This meticulous level of perfectionism and preparation is clear on Flesh Coffin. Every breakdown, every riff, and each blast beat is warranted and well timed; no song is over-embellished, and the album conveys a cohesive, chilling ambience throughout.
Inspiring a Monster
Lorna Shore’s music is obviously influenced by bands like Behemoth, The Faceless and Necrofagist. However, their genre-bending runs deeper than the audible black metal and tech death influence. Adam confessed that he draws a lot of inspiration from pop and mainstream music, and is a proud fan of Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift.
"I’ve been a Justin Timberlake fan since N*Sync. That got me into music as a young kid. I take a lot of influence from that and try to add it to the band in some way. There’s a reason pop music sells, it’s catchy and gets stuck in your head. For me, there is no difference between a pop star singing a catchy melody versus a metal guitarist playing it. I’m able to differentiate that but still find similarities."
However, don’t expect there to be a pop album from Lorna Shore anytime soon. When not headbanging to Obscura or singing along to Taylor Swift, Adam also enjoys movie soundtracks, from Interstellar to Star Wars, finding it a fresh source of inspiration for his writing.
"I started analyzing sheet music to figure out what these composers were doing. All music is music anyway; we’re all using the same shit. It doesn’t matter if it’s a guitar, violin or piano – you’re still encompassing the same ideas. I just try to find more ideas to pull from. It’s a cool change of pace from listening to metal; it forces your brain to see things from a different perspective. This way, when I do listen to a metal album, it's much more enjoyable because I’m not in that realm all the time."
A Taste of Fame
Lorna Shore’s recent success with Psalms and Flesh Coffin has not gone to their head—they’re still very much in awe of their success. Adam discussed how he cannot fathom the fact that fans are tattooing Lorna Shore on their bodies, especially when it comes to their Flesh Coffin artwork.
"We’ve seen the symbol on our album [Flesh Coffin] tattooed so much, even before the album came out. I just don’t see my band being that big to the point where people get tattoos even before they heard the album—what if they don’t like it?"
To say the least, Adam and the band are a humble bunch. He shared an eye-opening fan interaction where a fan got vocalist Tom Barber’s signature tattooed on his arm. "Not knowing the fan would get it tattooed, Tom signed his forearm quickly. You can’t get an accurate signature on someone’s forearm." Despite the band’s urging him to reconsider, the next time they saw that fervent fan, lo and behold Tom’s messy signature was a permanent addition to his forearm.
"I think it's awesome that someone cares enough about our band to do that, but I just picture bands like Slayer where fans carve 'Slayer' into their arm, and that makes sense to me. Not Lorna Shore. It’s crazy, but humbling and awesome at the same time."
Breaking the Metal Mold
While Lorna Shore is not quite at Slayer status yet, there is no doubt that their latest release is forging their path up the industry ladder. Seeing them play less than a week after the release of Flesh Coffin, it was clear that fans had avidly consumed the music already and were eager to spit back their words throughout the set. Adam says of this, slightly shocked: "I could not have asked for a better reaction."
If chatting with Adam revealed anything, it is that Lorna Shore is a modest band filled with passion for their music and pure gratitude for their fans. Despite the highly-publicized negatives of the metal industry, it’s a path Adam and the guys in Lorna Shore chose. After finding himself jaded in his final months of college to pursue a degree (and a dead-end cubicle job) in accounting, Adam dropped everything to pursue metal music—and he isn’t looking back.
"I know a lot of people talk poorly about the Internet and say it ruined music with streaming, but if it wasn’t for something like that bands like Lorna Shore wouldn’t exist. It gave us a platform to put out our music. People from all over the world can find records from a band from NJ. We put out our album by ourselves, and there were people buying it from Indonesia or Germany. This wouldn’t have existed 20 years ago."
View the "Fvneral Moon" music video
Tell that to Napster era Lars Ulrich, right?
Adam offered some honest tough love for metal bands—echoing within it his personal work ethic: "If your album sucks, people shouldn’t buy it anyway. It’s a good form of natural selection. There are so many bands that sell a ton of records because they came out with a good album. If it didn’t happen to your band, it has something to do with you. If people don’t buy my record, my first reaction is not ‘damn kids are stealing my music!’, it is, ‘what did you do Adam? You suck, you need to fix that.’ Make your music valuable and people will spend their money."
Upon release, Flesh Coffin made it to #2 on the Billboard charts for Current Hard Rock and broke the top 5 for Overall Hard Rock and Top New Artist. While Adam's advice might be harsh, there's certainly something to it.
What’s next for the band after this run with Carnifex? Simply put, "We want to tour more often."
This is a band that prioritizes their music above all else and wants nothing more than to promote it and bring it to fans in person. If you didn’t catch them this time around in the states, Lorna Shore will most likely be back on the road this summer, and maybe even in Europe in the not too distant future.