Parts of the beginning of this album reminded me of Battletoads. Who really could guess why, and maybe I’m alone in thinking this. Maybe I’m also the only one that still gives that Sega Mega Drive super game the time of day for some reflection.
It was probably the first instrumental track off And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead’s latest release The Century of Self that did it for me. There’s something foreboding and archaic that underlies The Giant’s Causeway, that wouldn’t be out of place as the audio counterpart for a pixel-challenged battle to the death.
What I can tell you is that Battletoads has no visual correlation with the album art for this latest offering, which by the way is amazing. I’m not going to lie to you; it’s one of the reasons I picked up the album in the first place.
Whether that displays a certain musical ignorance or just a penchant for meticulous ballpoint illustration (in this case penned by …Trail of Dead singer Conrad Keely), I’m sure glad I got around to listening. The first time I gave The Century of Self a spin, I wasn’t so sure, though every time since then I’ve found myself digging a little deeper into a warm burrow of aural enjoyment.
Having freed themselves from the clutches of long time record label Interscope Records in 2007, the band released their album newly independent and free to do as they pleased. With such lack of restraint, one might have expected … Trail of Dead to go head over ass with new possibilities and creative endeavours but with this album they flourish. The thematic content is tight throughout, weaving in and around history, mythology, the devil and the divine, all the while in a deep-rooted, primordial kind of fashion.
If this album were a meal it’d be half a pig arse on a plate, which just goes to say, it’s all meat and no fuss and it still works a treat. It’s grand-scale but still unpretentious and it’s got me wanting more.