A couple of years have gone by since USA blackened sludgers The Lion’s Daughter told us that Existence Is Horror and proved that statement to a certain extent with some rather nasty music, now they are back. My biggest complaint last time around was comparisons to the likes of Skinny Puppy and Goblin which just didn’t seem to be fulfilled but now and perhaps they were listening, they have gone out their way to ramp that side of things up and have successfully melded sub-genres with much more electronic emphasis to their harrowing craft. I guess with Sandford Parker at the controls the Missourian trio had a fair bit of help in that region as the nob twiddler is not adverse to capacitating strange sounds into his own music but the synthesis between styles here is much more along the lines of what I was really looking for and the band seem to have truly delivered the ethos of what they originally promised. Those looking for caustic and violent sludge and blackness will not be sold short here either; the music still is incredibly vicious and vocalist Rick Giordano’s stance suitably abrasive. Luckily we are not looking to poach anything on this particular lion’s safari so hopefully won’t get eaten when we jump into the cage with them.
The title track is heavily electronic instrumentally and bolstered with a pounding mix of drums, jangling guitars and some very Carpentersque sounds. Is that John or Brut? The lines have collided of late but one certainly gets that synth-wave Escaping from New York sort of synth sound before some ugly vocal roars are added but it’s over very quickly, more of an intro than anything else. ‘Call The Midnight Animal’ is a dark (star) and then goes off the handle with a coruscating and seething virulence about it as the plague spreads. I am reminded of bands such as Lord Mantis and even Today Is The Day as I was on the last album from the musical mainframe but the 80’s style horror film electronica pervades and cuts in much more giving it an alien, sci-fi coldness which ramps up the atmosphere no end. There’s some great titles here that kind of make me remember the times grabbing lurid big box VHS boxes off the video shop shelf. How can one resist the likes of ‘Suicide Market’ and ‘Grease Infant?’ There’s black glove stalking giallo madness amidst the carnage but film wise we are owed more to the US than the Italian side of things ‘Die Into Us’ bringing visions of the hideous prospect of a greasy Joe Spinell cruising the streets like a Maniac looking for victims to scalp.
Songs are short, sharp, slices of butchery and the album is an exercise in fat being cut off and fed to its victim over a ten track running time of just 37 minutes. Film genres are mixed up here too. ‘The Gown’ is the supernatural horror of the album, hints of The Exorcist about it but here there is also a very Goblin sounding edge from Scott Fogelbach’s thick toned bass playing. All that’s missing from ‘Galaxy Terror’ is the word “of” and Roger Corman’s seal of approval. Our intrepid space explorers are picked off quickly with strimming guitar like a horde of savage insects, giant of course, picking over their bones in a revolting fashion. There’s nobody escaping here unless they are returning to earth infected with an invasion force on their tail. Penultimate instrumental ‘Girl Autopsy’ speaks for itself ; I’m not going to quote that memorable line from Fulci’s New York Ripper but it’s a suitably cold piece of synthesized gloom. Finishing off with In The Flesh (a favourite old horror fanzine for many of us in the UK) our trio go for a final gruesome assault of the senses in such a vicious way I wonder if they have suddenly Unearthed the latest American Guinea Pig flick.
I have to admit I have had fun with this on two levels, both as an extreme music and film fan. The Lion’s Daughter have definitely shot both factors square between the eyes here and kept me well and truly entertained in the process.
(8/10 Pete Woods)