Had high hopes for this after seeing them on one of the late nights
so much for that
not sure what song they played on there
hoping it was Weight Of The Sun as that's the only thing I liked here
16 minute closer was ok, if it hadn't have been 16 minutes

Grade - 1.3

released Feb 8th, 2011

from the album - The Weight Of The Sun - 2.0


from all music


...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead were formed in late 1994 by singers/guitarists/drummers Jason Reece and Conrad Keely, longtime friends who originally met in Hawaii before settling in the perennial indie hotbed of Olympia, WA, where Reece fronted the notorious Mukilteo Fairies. After relocating together to Austin, TX, the duo began playing shows as "You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead," eventually adding both the conjunction and the ellipsis to the band's name. The pair also recruited guitarist Kevin Allen and bassist/sampler Neil Busch, thus transforming the group from an indie two-piece into an arty quartet. After issuing a live cassette on the local Golden Hour label, AYWKUBTTOD -- already legendary in indie circles for their anarchic concert sets -- released their self-titled full-length debut on Trance Syndicate in early 1998. Following the label's collapse, the band moved to Merge's roster and issued Madonna in the fall of 1999.

After signing yet another record deal with Interscope, they issued the formidable Source Tags & Codes in 2002, followed by The Secret of Elena's Tomb EP in 2003. Worlds Apart, a prog rock-inspired epic, arrived early in 2005. Despite widespread acclaim for the album, its sales were disappointing, leading Keely to consider disbanding the group. However, he and the rest of AYWKUBTTOD found inspiration in their frustration and bounced back with So Divided -- initially conceived as an EP, but gradually expanded into a full-length effort -- in late 2006. Their subsequent departure from Interscope Records convinced the musicians to launch their own label, Richter Scale Records, in partnership with the Texas-based Justice Records. Free of the constraints of conventional label deals, the band then brewed up a batch of contemporary prog anthems and released an EP, 2008's Festival Thyme, to ramp up support for a full-length album. The Century of Self followed in early 2009. AYWKUBTTOD then scaled down their lineup, choosing to record their next album as a four-piece instead of a sprawling sextet. The result, Tao of the Dead, also doubled as one of the most band's most conceptual works to date, with a 16-song set list divided into two lengthy tracks, each of which was performed in a specific musical key.

Album Review

The sense of liberation that rejuvenated … And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead on The Century of Self, the band’s first album on their own Richter Scale imprint, continues on The Tao of The Dead. Indeed, the way Conrad Keely and company flex their brains and muscles here, without any confines except the ones they make for themselves, makes The Century of Self feel like a dress rehearsal. It's easy to see why any other label might not want to take a risk on an album like this: it’s divided into two parts, it’s written in two specific tunings, and the album artwork is the first installment of Keely's steampunk graphic novel. Yet these are exactly the kind of things -- along with the music, of course -- that make the Trail of Dead special: they revel in grand sounds and grand concepts. But The Tao of the Dead is far from pretentious, mostly because it’s so loud. From the opening blast of “Let’s Experiment," the band’s fusion of punk energy and prog rock fantasies on the first part of The Tao of the Dead is nearly flawless. “Pure Radio Cosplay” serves up a meta-critique of the death of rock radio that’s as radio-friendly as any song they’ve released, riding a “Jumping Jack Flash”-style riff as it charges through the album’s elaborate trappings like a bull in a china shop. “Summer of All Dead Souls” and “Cover the Days Like a Tidal Wave” follow suit, delivering the heavy yet nimble rock the band perfected on Source Tags and Codes. Yet there’s also plenty of variety, from “Weight of the Sun (Or the Post-Modern Prometheus)”'s bracing shanty rock to ballads like “The Wasteland” and “Ebb Away,” which keep the tension of the album’s louder moments. The album’s second part, “Strange News from Another Planet,” is where the Trail of Dead truly unveil their devotion to prog rock. A 16-minute suite with five movements bridged by Krautrock-inspired interludes, it’s much too driven to ever be called noodling as it spans the stormy “Know Your Honor” and “The Ship Impossible” and the shimmering power ballad “Rule by Being Just” and the fiery “Strange Epiphany.” As well-executed as the album’s second part is, The Tao of the Dead might have been more dynamic without it, but this is why the Trail of Dead call their own shots. This is another fascinating and unfashionable album from a band unwilling to cater to anyone’s expectations except their own, and thriving because of it.

Track Listing

1 Let's Experiment (Intro) 2:23
2 Pure Radio Cosplay 5:26
3 Summer of All Dead Souls 4:17
4 Cover the Days like a Tidal Wave 2:51
5 Fall of the Empire 2:27
6 The Wasteland 2:33
7 Spiral Jetty 1:48
8 Weight of the Sun (Or the Post-Modern Prometheus) 2:19
9 Pure Radio Cosplay (Reprise) 3:17
10 Ebb Away 2:41
11 Farlight Pendant 5:43
12 Strange News from Another Planet: Know Your Honor/Rule by Being Just/Th 16:31