Hot on the heels of 2011’s Tao of the Dead, the punk-rock&death&death&death&FUCKYOU&rollers …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead have released a new, full-length LP which goes by the name of Lost Songs. As a bit of a fanboy (well, a lot of a fanboy), I was pretty excited to hear the latest offering from the Texan four-piece and boy, do my neighbours know about it. Here’s the video for Catatonic, the first single from the album.
Lost Songs is something of a change of pace from Tao of the Dead, which was a very high concept album, split into two parts. This record, on the other hand, is more of a straight up rock-out kind of affair. Whilst there are still the occasional breaks in the pace, the majority of tracks will leave you a little bit out of breath from the fist-pumping, head-banging, arse-shaking fun you’re gonna have the second you press play. I genuinely stopped taking the bus this week cos I couldn’t sit still on it whilst listening to this on my morning commute.
In this respect I can see this album being quite divsive for Trail of Dead fans, as this is a far cry from Tao of the Dead, Worlds Apart and, to a lesser extent, Source Tags and Codes; many of the extra instruments and electronic wizardry in those albums has been left out in favour of a stripped back, fast paced, sonic-assault approach. And fuck me does it work. Tracks like Pinhole Cameras, A Place To Rest and single Catatonic, to name but a few, really crank up the decibels and are sent racing ahead by a booming toms and guitars that sound like they’re on MD. There’s also a distinctly funky trend throughout; I’m starting to get RSI in my neck from all the head banging that 4 days of continuous listening has caused. Genuinely, it’s a health and safety hazard. When the pace does occasionally drop, it’s in favour of some damn catchy bass lines and beautifully discordant guitars. Overwhelmingly, though, is this an aggressive, high-tempo collection and I have to say that I like it alot.
Another interesting new development has been a more political edge to the bands music, not in a very overt way but it is noticeable. For example, the first single from the album, Catatonic, is a swipe at the apathetic society and music scene which is becoming increasingly prevalent on both sides of the Atlantic, whilst the immensely fun Up To Infinty was written about the uprising in Syria.
The only criticisms I have of this album are regarding the slower tracks toward the end. Personally, Awestruck and Time and Again really don’t fit and I’ll admit that I have skipped them a few times in favour of some of the louder tracks. That’s not because I want this to be a purely punk rock album, it’s because I just don’t think they fit the overall tone; the country stylings in Time and Again jar a little and the same applies for the guitars in Awestruck. However, I have a total of 0 albums released and these guys have 8, so what the fuck do I know?
Overall, then, this is a damn good listen. There are easily 5 tracks on here which any band would be proud to release as singles and as a whole the album is exciting and engaging. Source Tags it ain’t, but then if bands like Trail of Dead just made the same music all the time then we wouldn’t have bad-ass music like this to listen to. Lost Songs is well worth the money you should spend on it instead of downloading it illegally. Yes, I’m looking at you.