Austin’s …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead have never been much for restraint. Whether crushing eardrums with double team drummers, smashing instruments with unbridled aggression or bloating arrangements with choirs and strings, they’re always shamelessly willing to go for it.
The band’s 7th album — second on their own Richter Scale Records imprint — Tao Of The Dead will be released on February 8.
In true Trail Of Dead fashion, it’s completely over the top. Billed as a concept album, in the vein of Rush’s Hemispheres or Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon, it’s comprised of just two tracks; “Tao Of The Dead Part I: Tao Of The Dead” and “Tao Of The Dead Part II: Strange News From Another Planet.”
In truth, 11 seamless songs make up Part I, and Part II is a 15 minute epic containing five distinct movements. Ridiculous, right?
However over thought, it’s the most vital they’ve sounded since 2005’s underrated Worlds Apart. Lead single “Summer Of All Dead Souls” effectively sets the tone:
Another standout is the Stones-y “Pure Radio Cosplay”:
“Weight Of The Sun (Or, The Post-Modern Prometheus)” is Trail Of Dead at their best, with a hooky vocal melody and a hammering wall of guitars:
Meant to be consumed in one piece, Tao Of The Dead is a definite statement against the digital music age. With its textures, moods and intricacies, it begs to be heard on vinyl in a darkened room with a slack jawed stare.
On a gradual slide since the outstanding Source Tags And Codes, it appears Trail Of Dead are ready to reestablish themselves as modern day prog rock icons.