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Samothrace - "Reverence To Stone" (CD)

Samothrace - "Reverence To Stone" CD cover image

"Reverence To Stone" track listing:

1. When We Emerged (14:20)
2. A Horse Of Our Own (20:29)

Reviewed by on August 26, 2012

"Wading through all the ideas that are planted in the two songs will take days, and the value of them extends far beyond that period."

When it comes to current metal, it seems more imperative for bands to be either ultra-extreme or super catchy by sacrificing depth. Though there’s nothing inherently wrong with finding an audience this way, it feels artificial much of the time. Sure, the songs are shocking because of their sheer intensity, but it’s a quick fix. Yeah, that’s a chorus that you can sing along to, but when it’s the only memorable thing about the song, that’s trouble. It’s rare to find a band embrace complexity, not with technical playing or orchestral instruments, but with a focused vision given the space to carry out its purpose.

On their second album, “Reverence To Stone,” Samothrace is handed this freedom and makes the most of the opportunity. Two songs clocking in at almost 35 minutes, “Reverence To Stone” is crafted with the utmost care and precision. That may seem odd, considering that these songs are lengthy by normal standards, but in the realm of doom metal, that’s a standard occurrence. Unlike the kind of doom that crawls its way into the inner temple of the brain, Samothrace plays it loose with the tempo on “When We Emerged” and “A Horse Of Our Own.”

When the band escapes from the drudgery, it finds an upbeat and exhilarating path on the other side. With the hard-to-understand screams from guitarist/vocalist Brian Spinks leading the fray into the gloom the genre-freaks know and love, “When We Emerged” begins in a roundabout fashion. Around halfway through, the guitarists decide to send us a present of fist-pumping solos and extra momentum. Bassist Dylan Desmond even gets a distorted-heavy solo in there.

Both songs have these type of moments, which helps to keep the songs as lively as possible. “A Horse Of Our Own” can also make claims to the talent that Spinks and Renata Castagna possess with their guitars. The solo at the 10-minute mark has to be one of this writer’s personal favorite ones heard in a while. It all fits in without jolting the music away from the rigid fear bought in by the looping feedback.

That’s not to knock the doom-centric portions of the album. A wrecking drone pattern breaks down the closing minutes of “When We Emerged,” the static generating negative energy like a misanthrope at a speed dating session. The minimalistic clean break that extends for a while on “A Horse Of Our Own” builds up on the skills of each individual musician. They all have their own thing going on; the light percussion echos in the back, the rhythm guitar keeps the pace, and the lead guitar jams out licks better reserved for a stoner metal album.

Though not what one would consider to be an album of extraordinary content in terms of time, “Reverence To Stone” has more volume than albums twice its length. Samothrace lets the listener into their bleak world, and once the first step is taken, the band takes over one’s mind for the duration of the album. Any doom metal fan would be insane to pass up “Reverence To Stone,” one of the best albums to come from the genre so far this year. Wading through all the ideas that are planted in the two songs will take days, and the value of them extends far beyond that period.

Highs: Tons of depth to these two songs, stellar guitar solos, pace is all over the place, the biting screams reverberate in a chilling manner

Lows: Takes days to really digest, not for the average metal listener

Bottom line: Doom metal with spirit, "Reverence To Stone" is a fantastic display for Samothrace that deserves a doom's fan undivided attention.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)