…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead are a high energy and lively rock band from Austin that’s been around the block more than a few times. Even so, with their latest album, IX, the band has crafted a crowning achievement. While they have always been known during their 20-year career for intricate-sounding albums and intense live shows, IX is a melodic and pleasing record that will turn newcomers into fans.
Members Jason Reece (drums, vocals, and guitar) and Conrad Keely (guitar, vocals, drums, and piano) met in Hawaii, and while they would go on to form several short lived bands, it was not until the friends moved to Austin and began performing under their current moniker, that things started to fall into place. The group would go on to release eight albums including Madonna (1999), So Divided (2006) and Lost Songs in 2012.
IX opens with “The Doomsday Book” a rousing track that brings a sense of melody to the song that is not normally heard in Trail of Dead tunes. Expansive and explosive, the group sets the stage for a great record that will burn bright in the minds of both their hardcore and casual fans long after the album stops spinning. While both Reece and Keely are the bands two main members, often times switching between their main instruments of guitar and drums, both musicians create an energy that is rare in the local scene.
“Jaded Apostles” is the albums next track, and its spacey guitar line that kicks off the song is another great tune as it introduces new listeners to the bands interesting spin on music, which sounds unconventional. Sounding like it came out of a jam session, Trail of Dead bring in their varied musical influences to create something that sounds different then what one would normally hear from well known artists, whether it be in Austin or elsewhere.
“The Dragonfly Queen” is the album’s strongest tune as it sounds like an alternative rock track that everyone can get into, regardless of their musical preferences. The songs melodic and beautiful guitar work really creates a dreamy vibe that makes “The Dragonfly Queen” an addicting song to listen to.
IX’s closing track “Sound of the Silk” is a grinding and busy cut that would work well as part of the bands live shows, since it has a certain energy that only Trail of the Dead can create. By the end of the record, listeners can gauge that the bands musical and performing abilities are some of the best around town, and while the group is not in the spotlight often, with IX they prove that they should be.
Here is a selection from IX called “The Dragonfly Queen.”
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Featured photo by Emily Cheng, via TrailofDead.com.