The Lion's Daughter - Bath House
Experimental Industrial Metal
9 songs (39:25)
Release year: 2023
Reviewed by Goat

Somehow growing even more grotesque with age and experience, Missouri-based sludgesters The Lion's Daughter have been gradually reducing their blackened elements with every album. The signs were there to see, particularly on previous album Skin Show, where the industrial and electronic elements threatened to overwhelm the more metallic sludge and what remained of the black metal influence, and in retrospect it was clearly part of the band's journey to becoming what they are now on Bath House. Yet based on this particular platter of revolting splatter, their fifth full-length to date, The Lion's Daughter are determined to keep their links with metal itself, keeping things heavy with the crushing riffing and ensuring the atmosphere is dark and dank, even with the frequent catchy choruses. It was easy to fear that this journey would strip away what made The Lion's Daughter unique, and the good news is that this hasn't happened yet, nor have the band lost their knack at songwriting.

In some ways this is their catchiest album to date, despite whatever the fuck that is on the cover art! The opening title track kicks in with a particularly infectious bit of riffing, matching it with echoing synths and battering drums, hoarse bellowed vocals making it all seem like a heavier take on Ministry's formula before a particularly latter-stage Dillinger Escape Plan-esque chorus and some widdly soloing tie things together. The band sometimes feel like a more intense and aggressive Mastodon, particularly on the mid-paced atmospheric crawl of Your Pets Died on TV, one of the more progressively-structured pieces on the album with the ominous synth usage later in the track. Yet there's clearly also a lot of synthwave influence in the band's heart across the past few albums, something audible clearly on Liminal Blue, which could be the work of Carpenter Brut, as well as the more dramatic and tortured 12-31-89, complete with a wailing baby - or something pretending to be a baby...!

Say what you like about this, The Lion's Daughter know what they're doing and place such pieces directly surrounding the heavier Rerouted, which moves between alt metal and sludge and relegates the synths to the background. The variety generally is terrific, even with the few blackened-feeling pieces like Crawler Night opening with almost symphonic metal pomp before getting down in the murk, and there's even variety in the sound of the synths themselves. There's a little more black metal in the opening riffing to the closing End Credits, although it feels unsurprisingly like a farewell than a promise of more. As a whole this feels like an improvement from Skin Show, being a more solid overall album and generally containing stronger songs, yet the direction of travel still leaves a few errant fears in the back of the mind. Still, in its own right this is proof that The Lion's Daughter remain an impressive act, well worth hearing for fans of the unusual, and let's hope they can keep the quality levels high whilst continuing to explore their branch of dark music.

Killing Songs :
Bath House, Your Pets Died on TV, Rerouted, End Credits
Goat quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by The Lion's Daughter that we have reviewed:
The Lion's Daughter - Skin Show reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
The Lion's Daughter - Future Cult reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
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