Reverence to Stone – Samothrace

Reverence to Stone



20 Buck Spin

As all good Doom Metal should be, Samothrace’s new album Reverence to Stone is a cock-tease, arousing the listeners in exciting ways.  Consisting of two tracks, the LP lasts about thirty-five minutes, and that half-hour features some of the greatest peaks and valleys of dynamics that a Doom band can offer up.  Of course, though, having such a tantalizing record has its drawbacks, resulting in pent-up frustration.

The four members of Samothrace, Bryan Spinks, Renata Castagna, Dylan Desmond, and Joe Axler have created an album full of atmosphere, right down to the apt cover (reminiscent of the band’s namesake).  The riffs they deliver are heavy, with each instrument being used to their utmost talent.  Spinks’ guitar wankery isn’t overdone, with the bluesy solos building up the two tracks even more, rather than being the focus.  Case in point — halfway through “A Horse of Our Own,” the twenty-minute closer, the lead guitar counterbalances the paralyzing rhythm tracks until everything just drops into another canyon.  Castagna, Desmond, and drummer Axler all provide great backing tracks, redolent of some of Black Sabbath’s slow, heavy songs.  

Spinks also provides the vocals on Reverence to Stone — straining, thunderous growls, quickly purifying the music surrounding them.  Unlike other Metal bands, the vocals don’t overpower the record.  They’re used sparingly, which only intensifies the two songs.  But, that fits in perfectly with the record, as a sparseness exudes over it.  For a Metal record, Reverence is pretty damn subtle.  The riffs of “When We Emerged” are fulfilling enough to keep the chaos in a checkmate.

They make me want to curl up into the fetal position.

However, although these subtleties are the driving force behind this album, Samothrace might have refined too much, for that’s where the problems occur.  The slow build-ups are mind-blowing, the empty spaces are great contrasts for the musical fluctuations, and the long endings are reverberating somewhere in the recesses of the listener’s brain-pans.  But, all-in-all, that still leaves us with only two songs, only thirty-five minutes.  It’s not even a matter of the album being so good that we want more; it’s honestly that there should be a little more.  After four years (Samothrace’s last release Life’s Trade was dropped in 2008), it’s frustrating for this album to be so short, almost as if Reverence to Stone is a balk at making a complete album.

At least the two songs on this record are as amazing as possible.  With “A Horse of Our Own” as the centerpiece, if one can call the second song on a two-song album a “centerpiece,” Samothrace explores the expansiveness of the music.  The shadows in the songs are just as interesting as the illuminating abandon of the balls-out Metal.  What a shame that those balls are left blue.

Oh, and you can listen to the entire album here, but I’d also suggest buying it here.  Nicholas should be so proud of me for this review. ^_^


3 Responses to “Reverence to Stone – Samothrace”

  1. Its about time you started coming over to the Manowar side.

  2. […] glasses.  I guess that’s an even trade.  Anyway, as you can see from the tour poster above Samothrace is listed and Backwoods Payback is not.  Samothrace had to pull out of the tour due to personal […]

  3. […] I’ve already discussed this album.  It’s awesome doom metal.  The subtle changes on this record make for really interesting, long songs.  ”Long” being important here.  Don’t worry, they make both fifteen plus minute tracks worth the listener’s time and patience. […]

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