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…and You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – The Century Of Self (Justice)

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andyouwillknowusbythetrailofdead

…And You Will Know US By The Trail Of Dead
The Century Of Self
Justice

Sometimes the very relationships that are supposed to nurture and inspire us to new heights are the very same that keep you trapped in a quagmire of frustration and resentment. Since the critical pinnacle of ‘Source, Tags and Codes’ in 2002 this has been a fair assessment of the feelings between …Trail of Dead and their ex label Interscope. This push me pull you confrontation ended in 2007 when the band finally cut off their association with Interscope off at the head and embarked into a brave new contractless world, with galvanising effect.

‘So Divided’ and ‘Worlds Aparts’ main problems were not that they were difficult records, …Trail of Dead’s raison d’etre could simply be the word ‘difficult’. No, for all their layered interest and expansive experimentation they lacked the fire and purpose of previous efforts, fleeting moments of genius lost adrift in vast seas of mediocrity, Conrad Keeley often despondent, frustrated and morose in interviews. However, freedom is something …Trail of Dead wear well, their YouTube recording diary show unprecedented studio harmony and frisson with the resultant energy clearly present on record.
‘Don’t let them run away with your soul’ croons Keeley on ‘Fields Of Coal’ in a neat assessment of exactly what ‘Century of Self’ has brought back to the Dead. The sound is bombastic and epic. Songs such as the vibrant and vital ‘Far Pavillions’ echo ‘Madonna’ era …ToD whilst elsewhere they push on into uncharted territories. It’s a record of such oppressive creation that at times the sheer size of the songs threatens to sink it under it’s own weight. Yet there is never a sense of loss of control, where before it sounded bloated, now it sounds like creative zeal straining at a harness. This is an album of focused assembly and destruction. They build songs high then tear them apart with raw, naked glee, they are once more back on their true trail.

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