From St. Louis, Missouri, The Lion's Daughter cracked me over the head with its new album, Existence is Horror, which came out January 1st via the always impressive Season of Mist. This is not their first album, but the first with the label. Even so, I had never so much as caught a glimpse at the gorgeous cover art until my interest was piqued by our very own RAGER REVIEW column by Matt Bryan. In Issue #2, he had described attending their release show, and something about the illistrations and verbiage seemed right up my alley.. One trip to bandcamp later and I was hooked.
The comparison that struck me first and continues to hold strongest for me is Lord Mantis. This is particularly apparent listening to personal favorite, "Nothing Lies Ahead." The blackened, wretch vocals, swampy bass, and alternations of sludgy groove with discordant chord strikes is right off of Pervertor. Slower, more brooding and melodic cuts like "Four Flies" also align at times with the depraved sounds of Death Mask. The slow burn into powerfully grim arrangments of chaotic drumming and driving guitars are cause to turn more than a few heads.
But while The Lion's Daughter has plenty to share with LM and perhaps Indian, they manage to build a sound signature that allows one to differentiate pretty easily. Vocals keep a lower register more comparible to acts like High on Fire or early Mastodon. In this way, they lean a bit further towards the sludge end of the sludge/black specturm. TLD also incorporates a generous, but never overdone, compliment of electronic guitar effects and ambience that make things even creepy-crawlier. Certain ones give an almost alien effect to the sound. It's as if the standard monster emerging from the shadows isn't scary enough: it also needs to be something beyond your usual comprehension.
All said and done, Existence is Horror is a gigantic-sounding album full of crushing riffs, pitiless vocals, and bone-breaking work on the kit. Matt may have said it best in his review of the show: "haunting," "visceral," "pummeling." The way he tells it, these guys are probably even more impressive live than on this already excellent recording. Perhaps one day I will have a chance to confirm. Until then, I highly suggest you hop over to their bandcamp or Season of Mist to pick up a copy. It might be worth the few extra dollars for a physical copy given the lovely cover.