Dead Shore is an extreme metal band from Illinois. Naturally, I want to review something from Illinois as I was born, raised, and currently live in Illinois. Illinois does not mean “Chicago.” Many of our most highly (and internationally) respected metal musicians are from the heart of Illinois. Bloomington-Normal, Decatur, Peoria, and the little towns in between.

Most of the time, I get a CD from this area and it’s FUCKING NU-METAL GARBAGE that no one should be playing or listening to because this isn’t 1997 – and if you ask me, no one should have listened to that FUCKING MOSHCORE RETARD GARBAGE back then anyway. I don’t like that shit, and I have to laugh at most bands from the area…however…

In the shadows they lurk. The real metal musicians that people around the world listen to, buy albums from, and respect.

I’d like to introduce you to a shadow-lurking band named Dead Shore and their first EP aptly named “Dead Shore.”

Temple of Mutilation – First off, this album kicks you right in the head with a battering ram riff. Double bass pounds away. Violently unapologetic and American kind of death metal. In contrast, it kind of slants together with the more polished Norse Black Metal (like Immortal) and then kicks right into a Swedish (think Midvinter) style melodic Black Metal part.

Dead Shore is listed as “Death Metal” on Metal Archives, but I find it to be more Doom/Black/Death.

It stays very Black throughout the rest of the song. The riffing is very much the Midwestern Black Doom style. It becomes trance-like and before you know it, you’re just into it. It’s familiar territory, but it’s good familiar territory. It seems like Joe Hoctor is into all of the same bands that I like, and consequently is able to mesh together all the Black and Death in a distinctly 1990s way that I appreciate wholeheartedly.

Ben Adams is killing the drums, almost a Lars Szoke level kind of playing here. In addition to the battery of the drums you have bassist Jake Lahniers who holds down the fort.

Most noteworthy are the growls, also provided here by Jake. They are reminiscent of the very early ’90s US death scene and I love that because metal music ended in the ’90s for me. You may know him from Lividity, but in Dead Shore, he plays the role of frontman – and he’s good at it. I like when bands carry on this tradition without being rip-offs. I’ve got no fucking clue what the FUCK Jake’s saying in any of the lyrics but I think he said “hamburger” at one point. Joking aside, I am 100% into this by the end of the first song.

Exalted Abomination – Starts out with a Black Metal riff and continues as Black Metal, and as a result I’m thinking the “death metal” tag is not really where this band should be filed under. Joe shows that he’s a competent lead guitarist in this song as a blistering lead works its magic into the tune. This song stays Black Metal throughout the first two verses but then it hits you with Death Metal! It’s perfectly mixed together. Crushy, chuggy in parts, but quite old-school melodic. And then the surprise mosh part comes in. Most of the time, I’m not into any mosh part whatsoever but this one made me kinda move my head in unison, and that’s a fucking accomplishment.

See, I always hated moshing. I thought it was stupid. I still think it’s stupid. I watched a kid mosh near my woman and she kicked him square in his discombulated lookin’ ass chest. That’s when I knew, 20 years ago, that this was the lady I wanted to be with.

He went down, and pussied his way out of the room after catching his breath – which is good because I would have murdered him if he said anything to her. Any time I see moshing, I want a Great White bar pyro incident to happen. This time, upon hearing the breakdown, I didn’t have visions of Great White’s audience trying to run the fuck out of a club. Instead I just sat and bobbed my fucking head. That speaks to the power this band holds.

The Dead Shore – At the risk of sounding monotonous…this band is playing Black/Death Metal. I don’t know how to push that across. This is the old Swedish style, too. The good kind! This band brings back all kinds of nostalgia to my feeble mind, in addition to making me feel like maybe moshing isn’t as bad as I thought.

I could continue to overuse buzzwords here, like “crushing” and “brutal” but that’s not really the case. The production is crushing, in your face to the hilt, and very nicely done.

If they recorded this on a 4-track with no production in 1994, this band would be playing Whatever Fest In A Place In Europe for 80,000 people every year. Therein lies the rub, I suppose. Joe’s going off with his solos here. This guy writes really good riffs. When I compare it to Sweden, I have to tell you that the first really hard metal bands I listened to – and loved – were Swedish Melodic Death bands. I liked them more than the American bands – except for the Midwestern death bands.

Illinois has a long legacy of what I refer to as Cornfed Metal. It’s this thing where you’re surrounded by corn and pollution and garbage and the music is better written than what people near the ocean can ever dream of coming up with. It’s no surprise when you analyze alot of Coastal Metal you find that many of them came from the Midwest and probably just moved there to have good weather and make more money than they can here.

I’m off on a tangent. Joe is writing very melodic, GOOD metal, and this is a really killer song.

Godless Martyr – Now here the death metal is more prevalant than most of the preceding songs. They go into this chug-riff that absolutely bombards and is competently mixed with a dissonant black part before heading right back down Death Metal Lane – a street I love to walk on. Ben’s drumming never misses a stroke; one of the better drummers I’ve heard in the area. I heard that he passed away recently, and that’s terrible news. He was way too young. His drumming… it’s natural sounding. Something you don’t hear much when dealing with Death. Death Metal has a tendency to provide the most triggered drum sounds in history, and being an old dirty rocker into Black Metal, I rebelled against that stuff. The natural drums of the early 90s BM scene were perfect. Darkthrone cornered the best sound on their first 3 (black) albums. They are legendary, in fact. Here we have not only a killer drummer in Dead Shore, but the sound is not overproduced to the point of making the drums sound like pop cans. Really good vocal performance here, too, especially as it fades out.

In summary: Illinois has a legacy and if you’re an Illinois band you must provide something good enough that other Illinois bands will take notice of. Impetigo, Macabre, Judas Iscariot, Master. That’s just the tip of the fucking iceberg for Illinois. You have to provide something absolutely fucking kickass for we Illinoisans who like to partake in the dark arts of listening to extreme heavy metal. Dead Shore has done this. I’ve taken notice – and that’s a rather tall order to fulfill.

Most of the songs aren’t long but aren’t short either. It plays more like an album that most EPs do. This band is worth your time and money. Kudos to Joe, a rather brilliant guitar player, who also has an older project called Embrace Damnation for those who would like to check it.


  1. I just would really like to know who wrote this. I am Ben Adams widow, he was my husband. And the things said about him are so accurate and amazing. I know all of them so well also, Joe, Jake, and Ben used to jam and practice in my basement. Ben was a very talented soul who was taken too soon.