This Is The Most Terrifying Album Artwork We’ve Ever Seen
St. Louis, Missouri’s The Lion’s Daughter has been churning out their special brand of black, sludgy, doomy metal for over a decade now — but they’ve never produced anything like this.
Their new album, Future Cult (due out July 20th), is a true dive into weird-dom, as the band trades some of its blackened occult vibes for a starker, more modernist approach. More specifically, the addition of creepy synthesizers — like those you’d find in the soundtrack to a Claudio Simonetti film from the ’80s — take the music to new disturbing heights.
To complement this new direction, the band has selected (what we are convinced is) some of the most unsettling album artwork of all-time. Designed by mysterious Belgian art duo Mothmeister, the cover and its inlays contain images of grotesque, other-worldly beings and taxidermied animals set in barren, post-apocalyptic environments.
You have to see it for yourself.
We caught up with Richard Giordano, vocalist and guitarist for The Lion’s Daughter, who filled us in on the story behind these chilling images.
KERRANG!: How did you end up working with Mothmeister on this project?
Richard Giordano: I’d spent months searching for a unique and original artist. Eventually, I found an article about their “Postmortem Fairy Tales” portrait series. The moment I scrolled past the bondage mask / goat mummy photo, it was instant. ‘THAT is it! THAT is our next album cover.’ And this was before we had even written a note.
I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. I saved the photo in my phone and just stared at it over and over. I showed it to friends; I felt an overwhelming need to be a part of its world. The more I read about Mothmeister, the more intrigued I was. There was very little information as to whom he/she/they were, where they were located, what all these strange creatures and masks and costumes were, exactly. The mysterious origins just added to my intrigue.
I messaged back and forth with their Facebook page for months only to find out that it was run by an imposter — there is no official Mothmeister Facebook page.
Eventually, I found other means of contacting them, and was pleased to discover just how friendly and accommodating they turned out to be. I say “they” because I’m still not sure who it was that I was talking to — that aura of mystery hasn’t been tainted by communicating with them. I still know little about who Mothmeister really is.
Did Mothmeister custom design any images for you?
All the images used for the layout had already existed, and Mothmeister were kind enough to let me sort of pick and choose through their catalog. It was kind of nice, actually, because the images sometimes vary a bit in tone, and we were able to find just the right ones for the record.
So then, while most album art is designed after the recording, did these photos actually influence the music on the album?
These photos have this vibe that’s really hard to put into words. And that’s what I think any kind of art form should do if done well. I wanted to create what I thought would be the musical representation of the disturbed beauty and horror that makes up the world these characters live within.
There’s a sense of dread and isolation straight from a nightmare, executed in a sharp and vivid fashion…all of which I would say have always been an integral part of our sound. But these images inspired me to dig deeper and look for a different approach than we have in the past.
The record’s biggest influence was undoubtedly from the artwork.… From my perspective, the imagery and sound are the same creature.
And what were the musical influences?
There’s obviously a giant John Carpenter influence on there, some Fabio Frizzi, synthwave stuff like Perturbator… and plenty of Neurosis, black metal, et cetera. But these weren’t really things any of us thought about when writing.
You’re always musically influenced by something, but I find that the more you think about it, the more you end up just copying others. It’s best to go with your gut and just write your ass off until the songs themselves tell you what they need to be.
Those songs will also make it clear what subject matter they demand lyrically. You just have to listen and get out of the way.
How would you explain to first time listeners that Future Cult differs from your previous releases?
While our previous offerings focused much more on anger and destruction, this record is more an apocalyptic vision motivated by fear and dread. It comes from and forces you to explore the darker corners of the mind — places that are often uncomfortable to go and difficult to even acknowledge.
It shouldn’t be an easy listen. It’s a hard listen even for myself, knowing where these songs were birthed. Overwhelming fear, regret, sadness, isolation, paranoia, and uncertainty are strong themes that are digested and then regurgitated metaphorically…the way any good horror story tends to do.
How did the title “Future Cult” come about?
I’d shown a friend the photo that became the cover, and she responded by joking “I’d join whatever future cult that is.” Right there, I had the title. I didn’t know what it all meant yet, and I couldn’t imagine what an album with that cover and that title would sound like, but I knew it was something I’d never really heard before. So I wrote and wrote until I found the sound that was that exact album to me.
WORDS: Ethan Fixell
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