And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead - Tao of the Dead

Album cover
Indie, Progressive Rock
Century Media Records
And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead
Tao of the Dead
And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead - Tao of the Dead Review rating:
3.5
User rating:
Average: 5 (20 votes)

Whether the matter is sports, music, or politics, one thing seems to remain constant; people are bandwagon fans. Just ask …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. After all, we as music enthusiasts only remember what has been done lately, whether these new releases have been superior to the band’s best work or far from it. Expectations are generally formed following the group’s magnum opus record, and these unrealistic hopes are more often than not, a death sentence for new albums. Trail of Dead’s death sentence was manufactured following their 2002 record Source Tags & Codes. With endorsements ranging from Pitchfork to a newly formulated fan-base, Trail of Dead had it made with Source Tags & Codes. This credit was not unwarranted to say the least, for the record was a cohesive and blistering fusion of punk rock and raw-edged emotion. Unfortunately it was Trail of Dead’s flirtation with ambition that lead to the band’s demise, no matter how poorly or well executed the aspirations have been. Nine years and three disappointing records later, Trail of Dead have found themselves as a directionless progressive rock band with few fans left to frustrate.

Despite the inconsistencies and tribulations that Trail of Dead have faced throughout the past few records, the band has at least proven to be a very tight unit. Although not always well placed, the music was quite impressive; haunting build-ups, crushing riffs, and smooth transitions were universal strengths in Trail of Dead albums, but best of all, their records had a raw potency. Still, the Austin native art-rockers were lacking something. That something was a clear-cut objective for their freshly crafted sound. Fortunately, Tao of the Dead is a step in the right direction.

…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead’s seventh release Tao of the Dead is a cohesive and powerful collection of tracks; running just over 50 minutes over twelve tracks. Not unlike any of their records scattered throughout the past decade, Tao of the Dead is an ambitious affair, as highlighted by sixteen-plus minute closer “Strange News from Another Planet.” Segmented into five separate parts, “Strange News from Another Planet” could have been the nail in the coffin for Trail of Dead’s aimless determination, but strangely enough is one of the most compelling listens in the band’s catalogue. Soaring harmonies and aptly fitting transitions piece together the track very nicely as the song heads into uncharted and for once, reliable territory. Tao of the Dead however, is not just successful for its obscurity. “Pure Radio Cosplay” doesn’t waste its time gripping the listener; the momentous rocker is an accessible and infectious statement which provides the record with an exuberant commencement. The majority of the release seems to follow suit, with only the low-key “Ebb Away” presenting Tao of the Dead with a much needed break.

Whatever Trail of Dead was attempting to accomplish over the past few records seems to have reached some sort of a breakthrough. Tao of the Dead is far from a perfect release; it comes off as a bit too unvaried and is not even an indication that Trail of Dead has formulated a precise direction for their music. What Tao of the Dead is an indication of however, is that the art-rockers are still capable of compiling a cohesive anthology of intriguing pieces; something that hasn’t really been achieved since Source Tags & Codes. …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead lives to fight another day here in February 2011, and has put forth their most consistent effort since Worlds Apart.

1. Introduction: Let's Experiment
2. Pure Radio Cosplay
3. Summer of All Dead Souls
4. Cover the Days Like a Tidal Wave
5. Fall of the Empire
6. The Wasteland
7. The Spiral Jelly
8. Weight of the Sun (or the Post-Modern Prometheus)
9. Pure Radio Cosplay (Reprise)
10. Ebb Away
11. The Fairlight Pendant
12. Strange News From Another Planet

<strong>...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead</strong> is an <a href="http://www.last.fm/tag/indie%20rock" class="bbcode_tag" rel="tag">indie rock</a> band best known for their heavy yet anthemic music and their tendency to destroy their equipment at the end of their performances (a <a href="http://www.last.fm/tag/rock%20and%20roll" class="bbcode_tag" rel="tag">rock and roll</a> tradition usually associated with <a href="http://www.last.fm/music/The+Who" class="bbcode_art ... read more

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