...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, 'Tao of the Dead' (Richter Scale)

7
Tao of the Dead
Critical Mass
Release Date: February 8, 2011
Label: Richter Scale

by William Goodman

It had to happen. After 16 years and six albums, these noisemongers finally indulge their proggiest tendencies on this epic excursion inspired by frontman Conrad Keely's childhood love of '70s concept albums (Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, Yes' Relayer, Rush's Hemispheres, etc.). Tao of the Dead is split into two songs, each tuned to a different key: Part I, a 35-minute jam in D effortlessly shifts over 11 chapters; and II boasts six movements over 16 minutes in F. The band's typically thunderous melodic sprawl and cryptic musings on life and death perfectly fit the conceptual bill, with everything cranked to its natural extreme.

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