...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead The Century of Self

...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead The Century of Self
The term "return to form" is thrown around like beer at an AC/DC concert. If a new record doesn't suck quite as slickly as a previous release that tag will become the go-to quote. But every term must have an example that proves true, and Trail of Dead's Century of Self is it. Not to say Jason Reece, Conrad Keely and their current cohorts have fully recaptured the flame of the Source Tags to Worlds Apart era but they sure as hell sound like they're trying. The confrontational vigour that was stripped from 2006's limp So Divided has been re-injected and the resulting grit and urgency do wonders for a group beginning to risk redundancy. Three tracks from 2007's teaser EP, Festival Thyme, have been included, all of which stand out more in the context of the album. Occasionally, Keely and Reece (whose songwriting voice is more present here than it has been in years) allow verses and bridges to get bloated and drag on past a chord progression or riff's "best-before" date. It's a minor quibble that yokes Century of Self at good rather than great. Still, when Trail of Dead hit their mark, those epic choruses make me feel like I could hurl a spear while charging on horseback to win an ancient battle. (Richter Scale)