Sometimes you find a diamond in a place where you'd least expect it which in this case would be Lawrence KS, home of a new doom outfit called Samothrace, named after the Greek Island which in ancient mythology was the Sanctuary of the Great Gods. I'm not sure how much of the mythological Greek influence on their debut release Life's Trade will make its way through to the average listener, but the slow ultra heavy riffs should definitely make a significant impact.
Quality over quantity is the M.O. here as Life's Trade contains just four tracks which add up to almost fifty minutes of some of the finest crafted doom you're ever likely to come across. Opening statements as powerful as these are few and far between but this quartet sounds as if they've been honing their craft for years and waiting for this very moment. The tone for this solemn masterpiece is established within the first couple of minutes of opening track "La Llorona" as the delicate, somber melodies eventually give way to crushing sonic explosions. Vocalist / guitarist Bryan Spinks' thick, hoarse vocals are nothing short of amazing as they absolutely engulf the listener as the boozy, blues drenched guitar work finally breaks through the swirling, murky undertow around the ten minute mark. "Awkward Hearts" begins with Spinks and second guitarist Renata Castagna's subtle interplay to establish the proper atmosphere before the floodgates once again blow wide open with a sudden burst of violent energy as Spinks tears into this personal tale of anguish and loss. This segues directly into "Cacophony" which unlike its title actually sounds quite controlled and once again epic in scope with its dirge like rhythm arrangement and smattering of effects which give it a distinctly psychedelic feel until the tempo gradually increases and a lighting fast guitar solo emerges. "Cruel Awake" the longest track closes things out in grandiose fashion with more fuzzy, layered harmonies. Producer Sanford Parker's (Nachtmystium, Teeth of The Hydra) dense sounding mix brings out the best in these compositions and the emotional impact they possess should not be underestimated.
If you're typically a fan of doom / sludge metal then Life's Trade will definitely be an album you'll want to track down, even though as far the genre goes this one sounds surprisingly atypical. Life's Trade will not only tear your heart out but it will crush it as well.
1) La Llorona 12:27
2) Awkward Hearts 9:59
3) Cacophany 11:19
4) Cruel Awake 13:33