Samothrace - _Life's Trade_
(20 Buck Spin, 2008)
by: Jeremy Ulrey (8.5 out of 10)
Apparently I overlooked this band altogether at SXSW here in Austin, but fortunately 20 Buck Spin did not. Hailing from the bleak Dust Bowl badlands of Lawrence, Kansas, it's no surprise Samothrace have opted for an emotional strain of blues-drenched ultra doom, it's only a wonder more life disaffirming metal doesn't stem from the American Heartland. Hell, in the long spaces between fading whole notes on "Cacophony" you can even hear the relentless sand paper wind cutting through the production as if the band were recording with the garage doors rolled up.

Samothrace mix a lot of "stoner" influences into their heady broth, namely bluesy soloing and slowed down southern rock chord progressions. Vocalist Bryan Spinks sports an escalating howl that evokes an unforgiving windstorm in his own right, and his guitar interplay with Renata Castagna is something unrefined and unique... basically as far as you can get from Sabbath and still remain within the doom genre. Spinks' lyrics are sparse and utilitarian in keeping with the sustained drawl of the rhythm section: "clashed their might / lives will / what we've left / cruel awake"... clipped and inconclusive, inviting interpretation, or maybe just too weary to seek fulfillment. Morose yet challenging, Samothrace are a band to watch in 2009.


(article published 15/1/2009)

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