The Lion's Daughter - Future Cult
Season Of Mist
Experimental Blackened Sludge
10 songs (37:34)
Release year: 2018
Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Goat
Surprise of the month

Previously playing a sort of black metal-influenced sludge, St Louis-based trio The Lion's Daughter have swerved entertainingly on this, their third full-length and most likely to gain them attention. Call it a gimmick if you must, but the addition of 80s horror film synths to result in a sound like John Carpenter collaborating with Cult of Luna has improved their previously good-but-dull formula immeasurably. The roaring vocals, the technical but slightly buried riffing, the solid drumming - on its own, it's tolerable, but it becomes strangely fascinating when drenched in synths, to the point where the ominous thuds of Call the Midnight Animal that erupt into a speedy blackened torrent become downright incredible with the simultaneously danceable and creepy synths. Somehow the addition of this extra element has inspired the band to go that extra mile, and make what once felt pedestrian into something out-there and interesting.

The trouble is, obviously, that making these synths such a dominant part of the band's sound means that Future Cult is very much a love it or hate it sort of album (British readers will recognise a Marmite comparison). To the band's credit, they do experiment enough to make the results consistently enjoyable, the mournful Die Into Us mid-paced and more melodic with tapping drums like some cyberpunk disco nightmare, speeding up into a black metal pace towards the end and making the synths fit a little more smoothly - fans of Nachtmystium's trippier material will find much to like. Suicide Market contrasts this by relying more on the violent sludge elements, rumbling drums taking the lead along with the vocals and letting the synths fade to the background and out completely at points. It still has a speedier black metal section, and a minor point against the band is that after a few listens you do recognise a songwriting formula that they keep going back to when a little more difference would have made a huge difference. Moody interludes like Girl Autopsy and The Gown's eerie soundscape could and probably should have been more frequent, enhancing the weird atmosphere that you'd expect from the album given the bizarre cover art.

Still, what it does, it mostly does well. There are points where it doesn't feel like sludge metal at all, but more like a synth album with metal elements, as on Grease Infant where the synths dominate and the metal seems to be filling the background until it breaks free around the halfway point. Galaxy Ripper starts with chugging vocals and soon kicks up the gear into a tense, terse two-minute piece that is the closest thing present to industrial metal, the synths forming a ringing alarm at first then fading as the track turns a little proggier with plenty of riff changes. And finale In the Flesh allows the sludge more dominance with a lengthy instrumental section. It's one of the more original albums I've heard this year, and is definitely a grower; I've raised the score a little higher each time I've listened. A must-hear if you like your metal to push boundaries, or just appreciate a good synthline.

Killing Songs :
Call the Midnight Animal, Die Into Us, Grease Infant, In the Flesh
Goat quoted 80 / 100
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