In case you don’t know who Trail of Dead are I’ll fill you in. Trail of Dead are a Alternative rock, Post-hardcore band from Austin, Texas. The band “And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead” was formed in 1994 by 2 friends Conrad Keely and Jason Reece who had known each other since their College days.
During the early 2000s they courted the big time and the big Album budgets and Main Stage appearances at the biggest festivals but it didn’t last and in my view they simply don’t belong in that World (Or they would do if that World wasn’t ruled by huge corporations who largely ignore alternative rock music). Today they remain largely off the radar of Mainstream Music but just as relevant to their Army of Fans around the World.
My Journey With And You Will Know US By The Trail of Dead (TOD or Trail of Dead for short) began in the back of a Car as a Teen being collected after a party where I was a bit worse for wear. I was barely keeping my eyes open and the radio was playing in the Car at around 2am and this song comes on. Everybody else in the Car was talking over it but my ears were drawn to this sound I was hearing. I told myself “No-matter how drunk you are you cannot forget this” (While trying to memorise a few words).
Weeks passed before I finally discovered who was playing the song and I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s worth adding that Conrad Keely is a talented artist too & most if not all the Album covers artwork were created by him. He also directs, edits & produces a lot of the bands music videos.
Trail of Dead Albums
And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead (1998)
Rating: (3.4 / 5)
Key songs: Prince With a Thousand Enemies, Half of what
Other than the ones listed below be sure to check out “Gargoyle Waiting” and “Richter Scale Madness”.
Rating: (4 / 5)
Key songs: Mistakes & Regrets, Mark David Chapman, A Perfect Teenhood
Having no gear to tour with they had several months on their hands to record this album & a new label soon picked them up. In the end you could say their bad luck ended up working in their favor.
My favorite songs from this album are below. The albums artwork was painted by the lead singer Conrad Keely. The song “Mark David Chapman” is about the man who shot & killed John Lennon. John Lennon was killed in New York City on December 8, 1980. Mark David Chapman remains behind bars to this day.
Source Tags & Codes (2002)
Rating: (4.2 / 5)
Key songs: Another Morning Stoner, How Near How Far
The song “How Near, How Far” gave me goosebumps the 1st time I heard it & is my favourite on the album. “Another Morning Stoner” is probably the most well known song from the album and probably the most ambitious rock song of that year.
Worlds Apart (2005)
Rating: (3.8 / 5)
Key songs: Worlds Apart, The Rest Will Follow
Songs which captured my attention are “Worlds Apart” which if you follow along with the lyrics paint a picture of the problems with greed in the World. How we moan and complain over the smallest of things and how we will one day pay the price for our abundant lifestyles while other countries live in poverty. The other song is “The Rest Will Follow” and the video is a big production going by Trail of Deads standards. Music videos mean so much more when they convey a message.
So Divided (2006)
Rating: (3.6 / 5)
Key songs: Stand in Silence, Gold Heart Mountain Top Queen Directory
The song “The Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory” is a cover of the song originally by the group Guided by Voices, and a good one it is at that.
The Century of Self (2009)
Rating: (3.8 / 5)
Key songs: Bells of Creation, Isis Unveiled
Be sure to check out “Halcyon Days” & “Bells of Creation”. Definitely their best album since Source tags in my opinion.
Tao of the Dead (2011)
Rating: (3.9 / 5)
Key songs: Spiral Jetty/Weight of the Sun, Pure Radio Cosplay
The song “Spiral Jetty” is a lovely piece of music that feels like it could have evolved into more rather than just ending up sounding like an interlude to “Weight of the Sun”.
Lost Songs (2012)
Rating: (3.8 / 5)
Key songs: Heart of Wires, A Place to Rest
In my picks below “Heart of Wires” is probably my favourite song on the album. It’s to me classic Trail of Dead songcraft.
Rating: (4 / 5)
Key songs: The Doomsday Book, The Ghost Within
I think the perfect balance between hard edge & grandiose is achieved in lots of places on this album. Some of the best songs I’ve heard from the band in years are on here. There’s the 2 listed below but also check out “The Dragonfly Queen” & the Epic “Lost in the Grand Scheme”.
So what’s next for Trail of Dead? After touring the IX Album Conrad Keely moved to Cambodia and released his Solo Album Original Machines in 2016. The album is definitely interesting with a couple of songs standing out “Warm Insurrection” & “Hills of K-Town”. January 2020 sees the release of their tenth studio album X: The Godless Void and Other Stories.
You can check out the latest on the band on their Facebook page.
Know somebody who'd like this?