The Lion’s Daughter – Existence Is Horror (2016)

It’s very difficult to get around the three word bands these days, as many of the poppier and trendier acts are using three word monikers and in the process turning off metal fans. It’s become a sort of tag, telling listeners “you’d better be careful with that act as it has three words in it’s name” but sometimes that isn’t the case. Trust me, I felt that I was in for the same mediocre vapor music when I looked at the name of this Missouri based progressive blackened/sludge metal act, but it seems that that was certainly not the case or I wouldn’t have spent my time reviewing them. A three-piece made up of Erik Ramsier on drums, Scott Fogelbach (Bastard) on guitars and bass and frontman Rick Giordano (Ssothm) on guitars and vocals, these guys sound like what would happen if members of Dark Funeral and Marduk got in a fight with EyeHateGod, Between The Buried and Me and early Mastodon. Most commonly compared to another great US act by the name of Coffinworm, these guys certainly provide both chilling and extremely dirty atmospheres. Check out the riff oddities that appear right in the middle of “Nothing Lies Ahead” and you’ll see a band that’s not afraid to experiment as electronic static somehow finds it’s way into the mix as well.

Giordano doesn’t use a scowl or anything even close, instead preferring a brutal man growl, which sounds kind of like a bear bellowing because it’s been caught in a trap. Though I’d simply expect nothing more from such a sludgy and quite intuitive act as this one, where the tremolos one hears are often accented by dark progressions that one might not expect (thus where I get the BTBAM influence) right before taking us right into Mayhem friendly territory, because why in the hell not? It’s 2016 and if these guys don’t want to have boundaries, then we won’t give them any boundaries to play by.

For some of you, this style might prove too much as it is more experimenting and sludge madness than actual blast beats and tremolo riffs, but it allows the band to stand out a bit more than if they had just been black metal and sludge period. As a matter of fact, it says to me, “hey, someone’s actually going to remember The Lion’s Daughter because they stand out.” Take for instance the nearly clean shouts of “Four Flies” where it seems like Giordano is trying his very best not to go full clean and might try that on the next record. Even so, that would not be a detriment to me. Why hold yourself back? You’ve already kicked yourselves firmly out of the black/sludge corner and are moving into something a bit more interesting. Even Metal Archives seems to think so, with a 90% so far for the entirety of the record proving that The Grim Lord knows what the fuck he’s talking about when it comes to these reviews and if I could, I’d split myself into four identical versions of myself, each with a laptop and the rest of the albums I couldn’t cover.

Digging through all these can be an absolute nightmare, but when you find an act like The Lion’s Daughter that really seems to make their presence known, you know that you’re doing the right thing in this industry. I feel it’s almost unfair to completely explain such a textured and volatile release as this one, but I can say that whatever experimental sludge record it is that you’re listening to right now, I can guarantee you that this one’s better. Season Of Mist signed these guys for good reason, and I really hope that enough people get their hands on an act like this as they should. To me, The Lion’s Daughter sounds like sludge metal evolved into something far more intellectual and unique, rather than just dirt for dirt’s sake.

Existence Is Horror is the kind of record I’d nearly bathe in, but I just don’t quite have the time to give such an enthralling listen as much time as it truly deserves. This is an act I’d love to see live and I’d hope they head by my neck of the woods soon (and I can actually get to the venue as well) so that I can see this experimental black/sludge mindfuck in action. If you’re sick of a lot of the same old things when it comes to metal and are looking for a crushing album that still speaks to you on some otherworldly conscious level, you might want to pick this one up. It’s been out for a while now, but that’s no excuse to pass it by if you’re a fan of this stuff.

(10 Tracks, 40:00)

9/10

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