...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead
Tao of the Dead - Richter Scale/Superball
FILTER Grade: 70%
By Marty Sartini Garner on March 11, 2011
On “Pure Radio Cosplay,” Tao of the Dead’s opening track, Trail of Dead singer Conrad Keely declares rock music dead and gone, and we know he believes it by the trail of disappointing songs that follow. The sentiment’s nothing new—2005’s “Worlds Apart” made the same point to a jauntier melody—but the sound is, at least for the band. Tao borrows heavily from the twin canons of modern rock and album-oriented radio, running Smashing Pumpkins’ foaming rhythms through Pink Floyd’s flangers. They drag together Japanese folk and punchy guitars in “The Wasteland,” nearly reaching past glory, and co-leader Jason Reece continues his role as the ghost in Keely’s machine, injecting hardcore sand into sections of the 16-minute suite that closes the album. But while bombastic and ambitious as ever, Tao suggests that Trail of Dead have once again lost the taste for subtlety and texture that’s past served to elevate their sound from the prog pack.