Having been a fan during the early years of Trail of Dead’s career, purchasing their eponymous debut album after witnessing their incendiary live show at a festival here in Glasgow back in 1998, I lost track of their progress by third album ‘Source Codes & Tags’. Following a glowing recommendation from Exploding In Sound I decided to check out new LP ‘Tao of the Dead’, and was pleasantly surprised to find that the band has honed it’s sound from its early acerbic Sonic Youth-isms into something that you could consider more Prog orientated. To say ‘Tao of the Dead’ is one of my favourite record of the year so far would be an understatement. It’s chock full of excellent, inventive instrumentation, leftfield tangents and possess anthem after anthem such as ‘Summer of All Dead Souls’ featured in the video above.
As revered as Source Tags & Codes (their calling card and still the go-to album for noise-rock newbies, with good reason) still is, there are moments on Tao… that surpass it for sheer joyous racket-making. Summer of All Dead Souls and Weight of the Sun (Or the Post-Modern Prometheus), for example, burn with firestorm guitars and air-punching choruses and mix melody and squalls of noise with the deft touch you’d expect from a band this accomplished. The core of the band, Jason Reece and Conrad Keely, might have chosen to switch up their supporting cast but in staying true to their ineffableness they’ve updated their sound without leaving anything behind.