February 23, 2011

Check it out: “Tao of the Dead”

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Written by: Pierce Vernacular
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tao of dead

Those not familiar with the band …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, may think that it’s kind of a ridiculous band name. Those same people may also think they are some kind of over-the-top death metal group who’s members have names like DeathHead and Trog. Well the former are kind of right, it’s a mouthful. But the later is way off.

Trail of Dead hail from the new alt rock Mecca of Austin, Texas. Jason Reece and Conrad Keely comprise the heart of the band, sharing all the vocal and instrumental duties. The two students of music pump out a progressive/alternative brand of rock. High energy at times, mellow and provoking at others.

They are far from a new thing; they self released their first EP in 1995. In 2002, their album Source Tags and Codes was praised by critics, but still didn’t afford them widespread popularity. The album really is brilliant, marked with orchestral breakdowns and interludes. In 2006, Trail of Dead released So Divided, it was also very well done but not as well received by all critics.

Which brings us to the newest release: Tao of the Dead. This album is a bit different from their earlier efforts, but still amazing. I think it’s their best work since Codes. They dropped the orchestral interludes, and have instead focused on short, anthemic rock songs. Full of peaks and valleys. And the valleys are just as amazing as the peaks; very nuanced and hopeful. The kind of valleys you like to take a minute to look around and enjoy. But as soon as you feel sheltered, they grab you by the balls and blitz you up a peak. High energy guitars, drums and stalwart vocals course through every vein and it’s damn near impossible to not sing/scream along.

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