...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - IX

by Eric Loranger

´┐ŻAnd You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead have often confused me. The once punk-tinged, angular songwriters who put out hard-rocking classics like Madonna and Source Tags & Codes morphed into a lighter alternative band for a couple albums (the decent Worlds Apart and So Divided), before diving deeper into a type of progressive rock I'll refer to as "wannabe-epic" (the lamer Century of Self and Tao of the Dead) that bore little resemblance to the early days.

But then a strong burst back came in the form of 2012's Lost Songs, an album as heavy and fast as the group had ever written. This was a comeback album if there ever was one. Keeping with that streak of energy, the band toured in early 2014 playing the entire Source Tags & Codes album, a major crowd pleaser. It was around that time that the new album was announced. So, does IX live up to the potential laid out by A.) an amazing predecessor album, and B.) a tour reviving Source Tage & Codes?

In a word, no.

Sadly, IX is not prime Trail of Dead but rather a revisit of the Century of Self / Tao of the Dead era. There is nothing here that could stand with the best of the band's catalog of songs. The album just floats by without doing anything memorable. Just imagine Trail of Dead songs filtered through a sort of bland U2 pop filter and you're halfway there.

Songs like the opener "The Doomsday Book" are devoid of character, without an obvious hook. "Jaded Apostles" is a slight improvement but it's over-produced and doesn't really go anywhere. "Lie Without a Lie" is a lame pop song that sounds like it could have come out of any band at anytime, anywhere. The rest of the songs blend into one another without much of anything standing out.

In short, you can skip this album when you're looking into the Trail of Dead discography. If you're unfamiliar with the band, avoid it. Even if you are familiar with the band and you particularly like the Century/Tao era, this one is far more boring. I found this to be a major letdown after the enormous success and promise of Lost Songs.

Order the album here.

...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - IX

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