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...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - XI: Bleed Here Now (Album Review)

Monday, 25 July 2022 Written by Tom Morgan

Photo: Dave Creaney

...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead are one of this era’s great cult bands. The Austin six-piece have developed a committed fanbase through a unique musical aesthetic that journeys between art-rock, prog-rock and post-hardcore, with fantastical artwork and narratives offering another side of a unique, grandiose concoction.

‘XI: Bleed Here Now’ is a vast, sprawling creation, even by its creators’ standards. These 22 tracks represent a true opus, full of interludes, jam sections and wild indulgence. This means that it lacks the comparable rigour of Trail Of Dead’s best albums and contains both distinct pleasures and occasional stumbling blocks.

At its best, ‘XI: Bleed Here Now’ plumbs powerful emotional depths. Lead single Penny Candle is a melancholic anthem that recalls their ‘00s post-hardcore peers Sparta and Rival Schools, while the Band Of Horses-esque Millennium Actress and the interstellar Golden Sail also hit poiginant sweet spots.

However, a few shorter filler tracks are less than the sum of their parts. Darkness Into Light and Sounds Of Horror aren’t especially engaging, nor are some of the larger cuts that bulk out the back half of the album.

Protest Streets has an intriguing ending but most of its runtime is a bit of a slog, as is the 11-minute centrepiece Taken By The Hand. Both contain compelling ideas, but don’t justify their unwieldy running times.

It’s hard for any 22 track album to maintain a consistent level of quality across its runtime. As a whole, ‘XI: Bleed Here Now’ is a rich, overstuffed epic that will deeply satisfy …Trail Of Dead fans and perhaps even attract some curious new listeners.

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

Wed September 28 2022 - LONDON Dome 

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