20 Best And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead Songs

Jason Reece destroying his Drum kit on stage in 2005

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.

They were both in different bands but eventually decided they would move to Austin, Texas where they began performing as a Duo under the name “You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead”. After adding additional members guitarist Kevin Allen and bassist Neil Busch they expanded the name to its current and long standing one. Nine albums in & they are still going strong bar a number of lineup changes but the core members remain.

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.

And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead (1998)

Trail of Dead - And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead (1998)Album on Amazon | Apple Music

Rating: 3.4 out of 5 stars (3.4 / 5)

Key songs: Prince With a Thousand Enemies, Half of what

This was the 1st Album by Trail of Dead. Recorded in only a week and mixed in a couple of days. It’s only 8 songs but it’s a full album taking into account that 3 of the songs are 6, 7 & 8 minutes long. It’s a bit rough around the edges compared to later albums but there are still good songs on here nonetheless.

Other than the ones listed below be sure to check out “Gargoyle Waiting” and “Richter Scale Madness”.

Prince With a Thousand Enemies
And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - half of what
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Madonna (1999)

Trail of Dead - Madonna (1999)Album on Amazon | Apple Music

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Key songs: Mistakes & Regrets, Mark David Chapman, A Perfect Teenhood

This was Trail of Dead’s 1st “Real” album. Unlike their low-fi debut, this sounds like a properly constructed album full of polished tracks that fit together quite cohesively. You could call it organised chaos. This album might not have happened or could have ended up completely different had it not been for a run of bad luck. While touring the previous album the band had their van stolen with all their gear inside. To add to the misery their record label shut down.

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.

...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead
And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead-Mark David Chapman
...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead - A Perfect Teenhood
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Source Tags & Codes (2002)

Trail of dead - Source Tags & Codes (2002)Album on Amazon | Apple Music

Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Key songs: Another Morning Stoner, How Near How Far

Trail of dead’s 3rd & critically acclaimed release. The album that broke Trail of dead into the “big time” after signing on the dotted line with Interscope. The band finally had a budget to work with and they made every penny count with this one. Many fans & critics cite this as the pinnacle of their career.

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.

Another Morning Stoner
...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - How Near How Far
it was there (that i saw you)
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Worlds Apart (2005)

Trail of Dead - Worlds Apart (2005)Album on Amazon | Apple Music

Rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars (3.8 / 5)

Key songs: Worlds Apart, The Rest Will Follow

After a 3 year wait with only an EP to bridge the gap “The Secret of Elena’s Tomb” in 2003 much was expected from Trail of Dead’s 4th studio album. After the removal of Bass player & Vocalist Neil Busch in 2004, this album sees Co-founder Jason Reece step in to fill his shoes with his 1st vocal contribution on “Caterwaul” so be sure to check that out. The album is a bit of a mixed bag really and I was disappointed with it to be honest bar the 2 songs listed below.

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.

world apart - And you will know us by the trail of dead
...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - The Rest Will Follow
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So Divided (2006)

Trail of Dead - So Divided (2006)Album on Amazon | Apple Music

Rating: 3.6 out of 5 stars (3.6 / 5)

Key songs: Stand in Silence, Gold Heart Mountain Top Queen Directory

Fifth studio album So Divided ups the ante on the more mellow adventurous side of their sound, following along the lines of its predecessor.. You won’t find any blistering guitars here but nonetheless, those with a varied musical scope will still find songs to enjoy on here. This is probably my least favourite Trail of Dead album.

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.

...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - Gold Heart Mountain Top Queen Directory
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The Century of Self (2009)

Trail of Dead - The Century of Self (2009)Album on Amazon | Apple Music

Rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars (3.8 / 5)

Key songs: Bells of Creation, Isis Unveiled

For their sixth album Trail of Dead left their Record company Interscope and became independent after a lack of support before creating their own label and self funding this release. This is the last album with guitarist Kevin Allen, having been in the band since the very early days. It feels like on this album the band have taken stock of their situation. Without doing a U-turn on the direction they were going in opted to continue on but crank the intensity & dials on the guitar amps up again on a number of songs.

Be sure to check out “Halcyon Days” & “Bells of Creation”. Definitely their best album since Source tags in my opinion.

...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - Isis Unveiled (OFFICIAL VIDEO)
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Tao of the Dead (2011)

Trail of Dead - Tao of the Dead (2011)Album on Amazon | Apple Music

Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)

Key songs: Spiral Jetty/Weight of the Sun, Pure Radio Cosplay

Seventh studio album Tao of the Dead was recorded in ten days. The band here has stripped down to its core four-piece lineup, deviating from the past two Albums that featured a filled-out six-piece band. The Album features two parts with different musical tunings, Part I in D and Part II in F.

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”.

...AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD spiral jetty/weight of the sun
...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead- Pure Radio Cosplay
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Lost Songs (2012)

Trail of Dead - Lost Songs (2012)Album on Amazon | Apple Music

Rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars (3.8 / 5)

Key songs: Heart of Wires, A Place to Rest

The bands eighth studio album. The title of this one had me believing this was just a album of discarded or leftover songs but no, it’s a proper album. A large portion of this album sees Trail of Dead back to full guitar and drums assault mode which will please fans of their earlier work. The most mellow song on this album is the final track “Time and Again”.

In my picks below “Heart of Wires” is probably my favourite song on the album. It’s to me classic Trail of Dead songcraft.

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IX (2014)

Trail of Dead - IX (2014)Album on Amazon | Apple Music

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Key songs: The Doomsday Book, The Ghost Within

IX is their ninth studio album and it contains a few tracks that went straight to the top of my Playlist..

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”.

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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.

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