Album Review: THE LION'S DAUGHTER Existence Is Horror
Savvy fans know that The Lion's Daughter have been building up to something special for years now. After all, the metal underground was blown away by 2013's A Black Sea the bands stellar collaboration with Indian Blanket. Now they are back with their first full length in four years, and by God is it heavy. There is a very real tortured magic to Existence Is Horror that helps to show exactly what the title suggests. Few bands have the sheer despair, and the raw skill that The Lion's Daughter so easily flaunt. There is a tortured brilliance behind this album that will leave you rocking back and forth, begging for salvation from the sonic obliteration that Existence Is Horror provides, making it one of the most intense listens of the year.
One of the things that really stands out about Existence Is Horror is the band's ability to craft utterly unique riffs. Yes, they fit very much into the modern underground metal paradigm, but they bring something more to the table. Highly melodic and cerebral riffs help to endow the record with a spiraling magic that proves, to me at least, that The Lion's Daughter are turned on to something far more great and terrible than any of us could possibly imagine. The chaotic attack on a song like "Dog Shaped Man" defined by pummeling guitars and breakneck drums is immediately contradicted by riffs that couldn't feel out of place on a progressive death metal record. The diversity helps to ratchet up the intensity, but beyond that, the sheer discord of the record helps to show the genius within and forces you to look at yourself and see if you can engage in the brutality or have to be distanced from the chaotic devastation found within.
There is something almost existential to the chronic heaviness on this record. It's as if the pure torture of being that stalks the members of The Lion's Daughter can't help but suffer in everything they do. Of course, even the dark is balanced with light, or at least something that isn't so straight up horrifying. Though you won't find the deeply emotive artistry that defined A Black Sea here, you will find yourself navigating some similar soundscapes that drag you to deeper depths and force you to confront bleak realities. Perfectly produced (thank you, Sanford Parker) and wondrously refined, this is an album that functions as a pure statement about the difficulty and harsh irony of life on this planet.
The beauty of this album is in its ability to show hope despite the sadness that haunts so many of us. In its sonic blasphemies you start to slowly pick part moments of triumph, moments that show a light at the end of the tunnel and suggest that perhaps, even now we can find a way forward. Don't get me wrong, Existence Is Horror is not an easy listen, and it's definitely a journey that needs to be taken a few times, but that doesn't changes the fact that this is an album that has the potential to change lives, and failing that, at least provide a moment of companionship in an existence defined by horror.