Album review: …Trail Of Dead | IX

Trail-of-Dead-IX-Hi-Res-Cover-ArtArtist: …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
Album: IX
Our Verdict: 7/10
Release date: Out now
Find it at: …Trail Of Dead’s merch store
Review by: Graeme Blackwell

“The band have delved deep and dug out their strongest set of songs in a decade.”

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead first appeared on our music radar in 2002 with the release of their excellent album, Source Tags and Codes. It was the band’s third full length effort and their third record deal. It seemed to all concerned as though the group were finally ‘crossing over’ having built an already formidable following in indie music circles.

Theirs was a refreshing brand of expansive post-rock, bolted to more progressive tendencies, that built to a thoroughly satisfying whole. But despite critical acclaim, album sales started to suffer in the middle of the new millennium’s first decade. By the band’s own admission, they nearly called it a day.

Fortunately the quartet now return with a bold and brilliant new album, IX, that sees the band sounding fresh and reinvigorated. It’s true to say that their ninth LP sees the judicious reigning in of those mid-career progressive and experimental flourishes, but it results in a more lean and powerful beast that’s pumped and ready to go.

Opener “The Doomsday Book” delivers a pounding volley of drums and guitars carried in on the strength of the song’s melody, soon giving way to the rumble and roll of “Jaded Apostles.” Things take a turn for the epic and emotive a little later on with the self-lacerating “The Ghost Within” delving in to some heavy inner personal angst, nevertheless set to the life-giving heartbeat of an enchanting guitar and piano refrain.

IX’s second half sees the …Trail Of Dead sound expanding, opening up and stretching out into that beloved post-rock territory, with “Lost In The Grand Scheme” in particular providing thrilling tension and release across its seven and a half minute running time. In fact the song titles prove to be just as poetic as the sounds, with “Like Summer Tempests Came His Tears” and “Sound Of The Silk” drawing proceedings to a close with stories of “…the terraces where we used to run.”

Lyrically and musically, IX feels as though it is perhaps the most personal work of …Trail Of Dead to date. In the album’s mid-section “Bus Lines” proves to be a seemingly simple tale of globe-trotting with a back pack, a very human story of travel and homesickness. Throughout “The Dragonfly Queen” too, Conrad Keely acts as accomplished storyteller, singing “We were singing and drinking and wanted to let go…” Let go of what he might not explicitly say, but there is an overarching sense of loss and acceptance throughout the song and the album as a whole.

Whether or not IX sees …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead’s sales figures soar remains to be seen. Whether or not you care probably depends on how you define success. Fortunately, for the rest of us, the band have delved deep and dug out their strongest set of songs in a decade. IX sees the Austin stalwarts refine their sound to come up with an energetic and highly entertaining album that is deserving of both time and attention. Seek it out.

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New music releases, 20th October 2014

Here are the new and notable music releases for this week, 20th October 2014:

Slipknot 5 The Gray Chapter
5: The Gray Chapter, Slipknot

A Forest Of Fey , Gandalf’s Fist
Start Together (Box Set), Sleater-Kinney
Melody Road, Neil Diamond
Aquostic, Status Quo
Phantom Radio, Mark Lanegan
Irish Tour ’74 (Box Set), Rory Gallagher
Kings & Queens of the Underground, Billy Idol
Soused, Scott Walker and Sunn O)))
Primus & The Chocolate Factory, Primus (with the Fungi Ensemble)
Ypres, Tindersticks
Massive Addictive, Amaranthe
Painkiller, Little Big Town
Hold It In, Melvins
The Best Day, Thurston Moore
Starless (Box Set), King Crimson
Lugal Ki En, Ring of Saturn
Earth Suck, Oozing Wound
Heavy Lies The Crown, Army Of The Pharaohs
Cabinet Of Curiosities, The Pop Group
IX, And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
Sounds of a Playground Fading (w. extra tracks), In Flames

You can buy all of the above – and many more! – from the Skin Back Alley Music Store, powered by Amazon.

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Listen! Trail Of Dead stream new track ‘The Ghost Within’


…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead are streaming a track, “The Ghost Within”, from their forthcoming new album, IX.

The LP is scheduled for release via Superball Music on the 20th of October.

The band have said of the new album: “From the crowded streets of Phnom Penh to the vast empty landscape of West Texas, we have cut through, burned through and followed through to reach you.”

“From the heat of the desert, to the heat of your city’s sprawling squall. This transmission is here to transport and ruin you. It is the release of your mortal coil. Just let the rain wash it away from the mountains, down to the motherfucking sea, wash it away, blow it all away and check this moment out.”

The band will play four live dates in the UK during November:

Nov 14th: Glasgow Art School
Nov 15th: Coventry Kasbah
Nov 16th: Manchester Ruby Lounge
Nov 17th: London Dingwalls

You can listen to “The Ghost Within” below:

The full tracklist for IX is as follows:

Trail-of-Dead-IX-Hi-Res-Cover-Art01. “The Doomsday”
02. “Jaded Apostles”
03. “A Million Random”
04. “Lie Without A Liar”
05. “The Ghost Within”
06. “The Dragonfly”
07. “How To Avoid Huge”
08. “Bus Lines”
09. “Lost In The Grand”
10. “Like Summer”
11. “Sound Of The Silk”

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New music releases, 23rd June 2014

Here are this week’s new and notable music releases for the 23rd June 2014:

Mastodon - Once More Round The Sun
Once More ‘Round The Sun, Mastodon

Magical Dirt, Radio Moscow
Electric Brick Wall, Black Bananas
Revival, Bellowhead
while(1<2), Deadmau5
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, Rick Wakeman
Return To The Centre Of The Earth, Rick Wakeman
Perils From The Seas, Mark Kozelek and Jimmy Lavalle
The Amanuensis, Monuments
Ix, Corrosion Of Conformity
Europe Live, Eric Johnson
7 Skies H3, The Flaming Lips
Titan, Septic Flesh
Heal, Strand Of Oaks
Live in 1970 (Box Set), Soft Machine
Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of…, Andrew Bird
Mexico, Gus Gus
Duulirium, Amon Duul II
Umbra, Arc
Unchained, Elias Hulk
World Funeral, Marduk
Elements Of The Infinite, Allegaeon

All of the above albums, and many more, are available via the Skin Back Alley Music Store.

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