...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, 'The Century of Self' (Richter Scale/Justice)

8
The Century of Self
Critical Mass
Label: Richter Scale/Justice

by William Goodman

After the proggy overindulgence of their previous two albums, these Texans gracefully balance the dynamic alt rock of 2002's Source Tags & Codes with their more recent multimovement epics. "Halcyon Days" combines lilting, cathedral-size vocals, colossal guitars, and an organ coda without sounding bloated; the poppy surge of "Fields of Coal" has Conrad Keely musing about a fatal prophecy between rousing sailor chants; and the double-vocal punisher "Ascending" (featuring Brooklyn zanies Dragons of Zynth) and slow-burning ballad "Luna Park" showcase Trail of Dead at their unvarnished, poignantly roaring best.

Watch: VIDEO! Trail of Dead Performing Live at SPIN's NYC Offices!

Listen: ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, "Ascending"

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