Life's Trade

Hailing from Lawrence, Kansas, Samothrace (not sure if named after the Greek Island or a race of Emperor guitarists) have come out of nowhere with a stunning debut album that mixes the girth and throb of psychedelic sludge/Post Rock (think Minsk and Rwake) with the utterly rending, layered harmonies and beautiful yet wilting melody of Anathema, Morgion or even the Finnish doom/death scene.

Life’s Tradeis 4 songs and just over 45 minutes of draining, soul crushing music that will leave your heart shattered and spent but with a glimmer of hope gleaming through the shroud of despondency. Seriously, the mix of typically fuzzed out Sanford Parker produced sludge/doom, gruff roars, sprawling ambience and truly evocative, layered guitar work might move you to tears-it almost did me.

Opener “La Llorona’s” (“The Crying lady”-named after a child drowning ghost of Mexican folklore) is a moping, heaving monster of lethargy and a slight Southern drawl mingled with the haunting throes of the subject matter. Then, standout track “Awkward Hearts” renders arguably one of the most moving pieces of music I’ve heard in 2008. While my full time job has rendered my an emotionless prick, music still has the ability to physically affect my emotions and the opening delicate strums and cascading peak of “Awkward Hearts” is that rare piece of music that feels like God reaching into my chest, grabbing my heart, wringing it out, and leaving it a withered husk. Think Anathema’s “Lovelorn Rhapsody” and Morgion’s “Canticle” mixed with the crushing ebbs of Isis or Neurosis. Simply fucking amazing.

“Cacophony”, has a tall order to follow, but manages to keep me enthralled initially a heftier, sludgier repast before gently transitioning into a shimmering, psychedelic mid song trip and tumbling, stoner doom ending climax. Closer “Cruel Awake” gives a fittingly despondent , 13 minute endnote with a crumbling, epic lope littered with layered melodic acoustics and again, a slightly hazy, swampy feel and the closing 3 minutes coming close to recreating the sheer mournfull bliss of “Awkward Hearts”.

Like Deadbird, Samothrace isn’t the biggest name in the genre, but by god have they delivered one of the year’s better albums and like Deadbird’s Twilight Ritual, look for Life’s Trade  to flirt with my year end list.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
October 3rd, 2008


  1. Commented by: Apollyon

    Sounds promising as hell by the review. When is this coming out?

  2. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Oct 14 according to press flyer-i think all tracks are on their myspace page

  3. Commented by: STIFFY

    Uh oh. Seems to be one for Shane to check out. I didn’t know you liked that Deadbird so much. Thats a great one as well.

  4. Commented by: STIFFY

    I see Erik almost cried again.

  5. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    When was the last time? Funeral’s From These Wounds maybe?

  6. Commented by: bast

    Yeah I remember that review on digital, so is anyone going to review the new Funeral? I´m curious.
    Gonna check Samothrace.

  7. Commented by: sandwiches

    these guys are from my hometown. sooo good and sooo goddamn heavy live. playing with them is always fun. glad to see they got an excellent review.

  8. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    I put the Funeral review up here at teeth for all of yours enjoyment

  9. Commented by: STIFFY

    If Erik is almost brought to tears its worth it.

  10. Commented by: Dave

    Album is out 10/14. Will be available direct from 20 Buck Spin on the 10th or so. CD and 2xLP with free download and poster (gold vinyl, patch and sticker for LP thru direct mailorder). Thanks for the good review – 20bs.

  11. Commented by: Belgarath

    Had me sold after the first paragraph.

  12. Commented by: Shawn Pelata

    Man, just reading the first 2 paragraphs of that review made me want this album…

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