Samothrace
"Life's Trade"

(20 Buck Spin 2008)Samothrace - Life\'s Trade

The well-worn clice tells us that a picture is worth a thousand words. The same can be true of music, too. Sometimes music can convey more feeling and emotion than any piece of literature. Such is the case with "Life's Trade." Samothrace has used doom metal's familiar foundation to build a monument to pain and anguish that words would be hard-pressed to equal.

That's not to say there aren't any vocals on "Life's Trade." Bryan L. Spinks' throat-shredding yowl perfectly suits lyrics like "You broke these arms and out poured dust/ and all we've done is dried up." A downer, to be sure, but the music is so much more expressive. Monstrous yet poignant riffs cascade down with the weight of an avalanche. They play out to their logical conclusion, never overstaying their welcome, which is a difficult task for a doom band to tackle. Sprawling yet controlled solos flare up and burn away like embers sparking to flame. And everything is given room to breathe in the grime-streaked production.

The rolling crush is interspersed with lighter passages that offer not hope, but only a brief respite from the next hardship that most assuredly lies ahead. The album may be firmly rooted in the doom mindset, but it's this mastery of shifting dynamics that makes "Life's Trade" stand up musically to any of today's metalgaze crowd. And emotionally, it's no contest; if ever there was a soundtrack to heartache, this is it.

This is most definitely not the CD you pop in to forget whatever depression you find yourself in; "Life's Trade" is what you listen to when you want to wade in and confront it. Because while it's nice to have a friend that will make you laugh or crack a smile when you're in a shitty mood, sometimes it's better to grab a buddy, pull up a stool at the local watering hole, and raise a few glasses together. Yeah, there's comfort in that too.

A

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