Published Dec 01, 2004This has not been a pleasant year for Austin's instrument smashing heroes And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead. First their bassist and founding member Neil Busch left the band due to health issues, forcing the group to face instant and undesired mayhem. Luckily, the Rise's Danny Wood stepped in, while multi-instrumentalist Doni Schroader also joined as a full-time member for the album sessions to beef up percussion and turn the band into a quintet. With their fourth album done and set for an October release, Trail Of Dead seemed to be stable, but another wrench was thrown into their plans when the album was shelved until January. Deciding to motor on with the scheduled tour, the band walked into Toronto's Opera House without a new record but a handful of new unreleased songs to give out as an early Halloween treat. Entering the stage to the opening "Overture," from the forthcoming Worlds Apart, the enhanced line-up kicked straight into the album's second track, "Will You Smile Again For Me." Bursting with a surplus of deafening synchronic guitars, the song abruptly slowed down into a militaristic marching rhythm section for the better part of the tune. From there, the band played it smart, mixing in healthy portions from each of their albums. With two drum kits and a wide selection of other instruments, their stage presence felt bigger and more powerful. Even with Schroader manning a kit, Conrad Keely and Jason Reece continued their tradition of playing musical chairs with guitars and drums. Reece took full advantage of his time in front of the mic, jumping into the crowd and muscling his way across the stage. Keely was no less manic, evoking his usual frenzied fit when it came time to climax in "A Perfect Teenhood." With a performance as such, you'd never suspect the troubles they've seen, but that's what comes with being one of the most exhilarating live bands the world has to offer.