...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead: IX

Schizophrenic return of Texan noise-rockers.

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You could never accuse Trail Of Dead of being slackers. This ninth album is their fourth in five years and shows precious few signs of fatigue. In fact, it carries on where 2012’s Lost Songs left off: bulldozing riffs, pummelling energy and tunes that fairly gust through the bones.

The first half of IX gets by on adrenalin alone, songs like Jaded Apostles and Lie Without A Liar carrying an anthemic, Killing Joke-ish quality, whereby vocals tend to be punched out rather than merely sung. The downside is that it all gets a bit samey, as if noise alone is enough of a statement of intent. Thankfully, things pick up in the second half.

There’s a certain progginess to the extended keyboard runs and drum tattoos of How To Avoid Huge Ships, while Like Summer Tempests Came His Tears contains enough string-driven chamber-rock to support its weighty title. But the band are at their blazing best when tilting at an epic, with Sound Of The Silk marked by the kind of sprawling psychedelia once patented by fellow Texans, Lift To Experience./o:p

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.