|Label:||Richter Scale / Superball|
I'll be honest with you, ...And you will know us by the trail of dead were the last band I got into mental style before I left my teenage years. Hearing 'Richter Scale Madness' and all the tracks after it had an euphoric effect on me, like the feeling you get after getting the best wank ever off Frank N Furter from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. It was incredible. Sure, every dickhead mag said they sounded like Sonic Youth, but I'd only heard the Sonic Youth shit that never really sounded like ...Trail of Dead.
So aye, I was heavy into this band. I never got to see them until 'Source Tags..' period but reading about them smashing fuck out their gear and impaling their hands on cymbal stands would give me an erection as I read the reviews. As time went on, the band just kept releasing more and more good shit. It was like Celtic in the 00/01 season. Just scudding every cunt and winning everything. In 2003, they released an EP called 'The Secret of Elena's Tomb'. It was utterly divine, but little did I know at the time that it was the beginning of the end of my love affair with the band; afterwards, nothing was ever that good. Sure, 'Worlds Apart' had good songs on it, but it was just missing something. Plus, at this point in time they started using two drummers and I think really that was the final straw for me. They went from four vampire goth-looking sonic terrorists to Rush featuring some kind of Peart octopus in one large jump. I like Rush by the way. I dunno what my problem was.
I'll not bang on about the albums that really never appealed to me (the ones after Worlds Apart), so when people on the internet were using patter like “return to form” I gave this new album a listen. After listen one I thought, meh, nothing really different. Listen two I was fucking hooked. This is good shit! They seem to have ditched the two drummer set up as well, forgotten about all the prog rock world music shit, and gone back to angry, loud rawk yer baws off music.
In true on-form ...Trail of Dead fashion, the album starts with a juggernaut of a track in 'Open Doors', a fine statement of intent if there ever was one with its charging guitars and drums and anthemic vocals. 'Pin Hole cameras' doesn't ease off the throttle, the drums especially making this song the coolest song ever about cameras. 'Up to infinity', a song about the Syrian War and general tyranny, ramps up the speed; here, the drums get more frantic and heavier, the vocals harsher and we get some Jason Reece on this one. I fucking love Jason Reece. He once stage dived on me. I like his voice the best. Good drummer too. 'Opera Obscura' calms the vibe down a bit with its slow intro and prog (FUCK) synths. But aha! The joke's on me because this picks up like fuck and you are probably thinking, 'four fast tracks in a row?' Yeah, this is not just a return to form; it's the form of their LIVES! 'Lost Songs' has a gothy 80s UK post-punk vibe to it. The drums in particular sound very Paul Ferguson (Killing Joke). This track might not be as upbeat and furious as the previous ones but it's still full of adrenaline. It discusses all the amazing songs you will never hear because there are simply too many songs in the world. Very fucking true.
There are some things I love more than most: one is Jason fucking Reece, another is GAME OF FUCKIN THRONES. 'Place to Rest' is Jason Reece singing a song about Game of Thrones over his typical massive guitar and deafening drums kinda tune. Aye! I pished myself when I read all the well thought-out meanings of each song on the press release and this one purely had “This song's about Game of Thrones”. Any fan will know what I mean when I say this is Jason's big epic song on here. “Heart of Wires” is a dirty wee cute and catchy number, while 'Catatonic' is another massive Jason tune, this time about hipsters.
'Bright Young Things' is ...Trail of Dead at their unrelenting finest, chugging riffs all over the place and the feeling you never ever want it to stop. Lastly, we are treated to a song about all the guys who used to play with Trail of Dead, 'Time and Again'. I thought this was a sweet tune that wouldn’t have been amiss on one of The Replacements' best albums; a band of four guys that looked like the anti-Beatles that I fell in love with in a not very gay way but completely gay all the same. Thinking this tunes about Neil Busch and Kevin Allen makes it all the sweeter. Seeing Neil sing tunes like 'Monsoon', 'Mark David Chapman' and 'Baudelaire' live was a pretty fucking awesome thing. Kevin was also the band's John Enwhistle in a way, quietly playing his guitar while the rest where doing their rock star thing on stage. His contribution to the band was insurmountable and in a way his absence in my opinion probably helped the band descend into god awful tame prog territory.
This new album is a magnificent one. Is it a return to form? Yes. It's up there with their best. It might not have that amazing vampiric feel of yore, but that was a past moment I can happily keep in my mental photo album; 'Lost Songs' is certainly the sound of a band giving it their all, and that is the key element which made those albums so amazing to me. WELCOME BACK.
Posted: Wed 31 October 2012