|Artwork by Paolo Girardi|
I first learned about The Lion's Daughter from their collaboration with a folk band called Indian Blanket. That album, a folk/sludge mash up called A Black Sea, is remarkable, and I recommend it highly to anyone interested in hearing just how well modern, dark folk can be mixed with a heavier sound. But now, just a little over two years later, we have a new full-length from The Lion's Daughter, Existence is Horror, and it's an undiluted rager.
This album is full-bore blackened sludge, running at about 40 minutes with no filler whatsoever. Even the intro track, which could easily just become a minute and a half of throwaway material from most bands, has a pulsing heartbeat of distorted bass and a an atmosphere of slow menace. But once the second track kicks in full force with stomping drums and vocal-cord-shredding roars, there's no turning back. The weird thing, though? For an album called Existence is Horror, with song titles like, "Nothing Lies Ahead" and "A Cursed Black End," it's a hell of an energizing listen. Sure, you might want to burn off that energy mostly by breaking stuff, but it's hard not to get fired up listening to it.
The musical pleasures are many. Neurosis is a strong influence, but the songs don't tire me out in the way that Neurosis often does. (Sorry, Neurosis fans. They're really good, but they wear me out.) The songs churn, changing tempos often but in a surprisingly non-jarring way. Tremolo riffs echo and ring before diving down into low, ripping gunfire. I love the bass in particular. Sometimes it bounces, sometimes it doubles the guitar riff like in "A Cursed Black End," and sometimes, like in "Midnight Glass," it takes on a melodic role under a droning guitar part. I love it when a good bassist doubles between rhythm and melody.
All told, there's a hell of a lot of racket here being made by just three guys, but it twists and turns, letting you enjoy it with close attention or as the soundtrack to a rage freakout. Existence is horror is a sentiment that's probably shared by a lot of metal bands and their fans, but albums like this make it a bit more palatable.
[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]