Samothrace - Life's Trade
There must be something right with Kansas, at least in the case of Samothrace, who enter the sludge/stoner metal arena with a huge blast from the prairie. "Life's Trade" is smart, self-aware, and bruising. Their deliberate mix of crunching and plodding guitars, with well-placed and developed harmonies, gives these four tracks an immense feel. It seems almost impossible that the record only lasts around 45 minutes. There is so much to chew on and be chewed up by.
The more sludgy tracks, "Cacophony" and "Cruel Awake" are menacing and hypnotic, slow driving tunes that echo in the head with the best of them.
The other two tracks are a bit more ambitious. "La Llorona" is also heavy and echoing, but its tale of supernatural woe resonates with an emotional kick not found too often in the genre. Likewise, and even more so, is "Awkward Hearts," whose power comes from being, behind the bombast and atmospherics, a deeply felt emotional expression.
Samothrace hail from Lawrence, the Kansas town where the fictional doomsday film "The Day After" was set (a movie I was made to watch every day in detention, a form of soul-destruction if there ever was one!), and the feel of apocalypse and drain on "Life's Trade" is also tinged with hope and compassion. This band is in it with us.
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