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...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead - X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Album Review)

Monday, 20 January 2020 Written by Jacob Brookman

Photo: Viktor Scott

...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead’s 10th album (and first since 2014) straddles art-rock and post-hardcore, while frequently delving into operatic prog and indie grunge. It’s a tempestuous blend; sometimes thrilling, sometimes hypnotic and very occasionally flat, despite high emotional intensity. The Austin, Texas band have thrown everything at this, including the kitchen sink, fridge-freezer, washing machine and mug tree.

An early pace-setter is Into the Godless Void, which is a chundering dirge led by smashy snares and whipped power chords. Interestingly, the production⁠—handled by co-founders Conrad Keely and Jason Reece themselves⁠—actually recalls the massive guitar sound favoured by Owen Morris and Noel Gallagher on Oasis’s mid-’90s albums ‘(What's the Story) Morning Glory?’ and ‘Be Here Now’.

It’s anthemic and overbearing, with the audibility of intricate playing sacrificed in favour of deep, deep noise. When it works, as on this track, Don’t Look Down and the excellent Opening Crescendo, the textures meld in a marvellously immersive and theatrical experience.  

There is also some gentler balladry at play. Children of the Sky channels a very particular brand of grungy indie music that felt ubiquitous in 1995, and which has practically disappeared from radio playlists in the intervening quarter of a century. Who Haunts the Haunter also soars, as a kind of sustained musical hairpin; building and building and never quite giving you what you want.

For longtime Trail of Dead fans, this record should tick all the boxes. But it probably won’t convert many new people to the cause. It is music that sounds like Pearl Jam without the actual grime and muscular introversion. The lyrics, though quite fun, often feel cartoonish in their doom laden gothic poetry. ‘X: The Godless Void and Other Stories’ is an undeniably rich and involving tapestry with some great, memorable tunes, but the aesthetic of this album is sometimes needlessly naff. 

And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat February 29 2020 - BRIGHTON Patterns
Sun March 01 2020 - BRISTOL Exchange
Mon March 02 2020 - NOTTINGHAM Bodega Social
Tue March 03 2020 - EDINBURGH Mash House
Wed March 04 2020 - MANCHESTER Night and Day
Thu March 05 2020 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Riverside
Sat March 07 2020 - LEICESTER Cookie
Sun March 08 2020 - HUDDERSFIELD Parish
Tue March 10 2020 - LONDON Dome
Wed March 11 2020 - ST ALBANS Horn @ St Albans

Click here to compare & buy And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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