The Lion's Daughter - Skin Show [Seasons of Mist - 2020]
Former St. Louis sludgelords, The Lion's Daughter, continue on their synth metal odyssey with their third release, Skin Show. Furthering the exploration into synth metal from Future Cult, the trio veer more into a fuller synth sound and continue to grow. Still feeling like two pieces stitched together, Skin Show is a nice album not without its lumps.
When bands shift directions, it often alienates fans. When done for passionate, artistic reasons, this is just a minor inconvenience, as the music is really what matters. This was the case for The Lion's Daughter, who didn't care what the naysayers said, and went full bore on their journey. This is highly laudable, as the art is paramount. It isn't without aesthetic pitfalls, though. Abrupt changes are often conceived more due to thoughts and passions instead of workable solutions and practice. This can lead to a disjointed feeling to the music, which can sometimes leave the songs feeling disingenuous and pieced together to fit a growing trend. Where Future Cult was metal with synths, Skin Show progresses a bit further, but loses itself en route. By taking itself further out of the traditional metal recording and aiming more toward a hybrid, The Lion's Daughter had to separate its parts and reassemble. The issue lies in the reassembly. All parts definitely work, but not necessarily together, nor in the places they ended up. This could be due to something as simple as mixing levels, but it almost feels like there are two or three different songs being played at the same time, only coming together briefly every so often. However, both the spirit and talent are there, so this comes down to practice and repetition. Fine-tuning one's sound is all part of the art, and there's still plenty of beauty to be had in pieces that don't fully hit the mark. The Lion's Daughter is well on their way to claiming the sound they've been after since their direction change, and I'm excited to hear the results.
On the whole, Skin Show is a very enjoyable and engaging album. For metalheads taking a foray into synth works, this will whet their appetite nicely. For those that have been into both genres for 30+ years, there are some troubling issues, but nothing that would ruin the experience. Enjoy the ride, even if there are bumps, because there is still lovely scenery to be had, and the destination seems like it will be quite lovely.Paul Casey