The gorgeous, painted cover for The Lion’s Daughter’s second full-length portrays forces of light invading forces of darkness, but there’s nothing uplifting about the image. Both sides look terrifying, and the luminous wraiths could just as easily be gatecrashing the cannibalistic orgy taking place in the shadows. All very fitting for this misanthropic Missouri three-piece, then, because as much fight as they show over 39 minutes of coruscating blackened sludge, Existence Is Horror doesn’t sound like catharsis so much as it’s giving mortified witness to the soul-crushing, Kafka-esque trials of life.
For all the Southern barometer-bursting humidity that heaps the pressure on tracks such as Dog Shaped Man, the claustrophobic paranoia that sets a fire under TLD’s feet shares a strong kinship with NYC. Like the gritty, urban tirades of Black Anvil and The Howling Wind, the barrelling velocity and downtuned shudders of Mass Green Extinctus, the psychoactive squelches invading Nothing Lies Ahead and Rick Giordano’s charred roar are the sound of a time-running-out terror, but if Existence… drags you to the depths, it’s only because its effect is so gripping.