Band: …And You Will Know us by the Trail of Dead
Band Website: www.trailofdead.com
Label: Superball Music
Label Website: www.superballmusic.com
Release Date: 2011
I first heard about these guys, reading Classic Rock presents PROG and initially there were two things that caught my eye; 1 – was the strange name of the band and 2 – the intricately drawn CD cover. The reviews I read were inconclusive so while in Las Vegas I picked up a couple of their discs and I have to say they are a real treat. Hailing out of Texas they originally formed in 1999 but have recently slimmed down to an official four-piece consisting of Conrad Keely (vocals, guitar, drums piano), Jason Reece (drums, vocals, guitar), Autry Fulbright II (bass, vocals) and Aaron Ford (percussion).Tao of the Dead is their 7th CD release and shows the band constantly making incremental adjustments to their sound incorporating slightly evermore proggy influences.
Tao of the Dead is made up of two long multi-part compositions; part one being “Tao of the Dead” and part two being “Strange News from Another Planet.” Within these two compositions segments are joined together and fade into one another. One comes away from the first listen with the sense that these guys are loud. There is an intensity and denseness to the music that is both invigorating and exhausting. Two bands came to my mind while listening – Polyphonic Spree mixed with Mars Volta. You get a kind of big-picture, large scale, grand sound mixed with all manner of shifts in time and tem. They infuse some great power chords building into huge swells of music and recurring musical themes. There are three vocalists and the punk sensibility does tend to come through as there are many times where they’re shouting the vocal lines quite forcefully. While no one is actually listed on keyboards, there are plenty of keyboard sounds that run through the disc providing a cinematic symphonic feel. They like to start off with a hook and build on it until it fills the air and then subsides before sliding into the song’s next segment. Quiet parts are brief and used only for accents. But what they’re really good at is creating well-crafted guitar hooks.
I read somewhere where someone described these guys and bands like them as “noise-prog” which I thought was funny but after listening there is something to it. There’s also some wonderful 60’s influences like early Kinks smashed together with aggressive punk feels all arranged with a prog sensibility. Clearly filed under new-prog, …And you will Know us by the Trail of Dead have developed a good sized following and you can add me to the list. Looking for a different prog sound? I’d recommend you check them out.