By Jamie Jolley
The title of the opening track. Let’s Experiment, certainly holds true on And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead’s latest album, Tao of the Dead.
But then the band have never been ones to hold back or take the less trodden road when they’ve needed to.
It was only three months before the release of this album that they announced the mysterious departure of three members of the band, including long-standing guitarist Kevin Allen despite of the success of their previous record The Century of Self.
The strange thing is that even though the band has been stripped back down to a four piece, the music sounds just as expansive and heavy as ever. In fact, more so, given the use of synthesizers to bulk out the sound.
The album is essentially a glistening version of The Century of Self.
It is more melodic, with the combination of notes between the guitar and synth in The Wasteland echoing the harmonies of ’60s prog-rock band Yes.
The wall of sound distortion and heavy riffs remain with devastating effect, and the chord developments rise and fall effectively – often in unexpected directions.
This does become a little tiresome as the album continues and, in typical …Trail of Dead fashion, all the best tracks are placed at the beginning. So, although the album begins to tilt towards the end, it is not as prevalent as in their previous releases.
New drummer Jamie Miller deserves a particular mention. His drumming is consistent and keeps up with the guitar and bass admirably adding even more intensity, especially in Summer of All Dead Souls – arguably one of the best tracks on the album.
The riffs swirl around him in ridiculous patterns, but the cymbals splash and the snare resounds out from the storm of music.
Once again …Trail of Dead have managed to put together a hugely competent album despite the usual turmoil behind the scenes.
Although there isn’t a huge amount of progression from The Century of Self, the sound draws you in so much that you can’t help but appreciate the quality of the musicianship.