Published Jan 14, 2020After 25 years together, and a break of six years since their last full-length album, …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead return with their tenth studio album, X: The Godless Void and Other Stories. A dynamic and commanding effort, it showcases some of the elements the band are best known for, namely, dream-like intervals of eclectic ambience that crescendo into epic explosions of pummelling noise. Unfortunately, after 12 tracks that follow this formula, the album falls a bit short, as it relies too heavily on repetition.
Beginning with the aptly titled "The Opening Crescendo," X: The Godless Void and Other Stories introduces the listener to a taste of what to come — melancholic and foreboding ambience that slowly builds in tension and anxiety to a booming resolution. Standout tracks like "Don't Look Down," "Something Like This" and "Into the Godless Void" succeed by adhering to a more linear, classic rock composition of verses and choruses, with patented ethereal bridges building into an epic finish. Tracks like "Blade of Wind" and "Through the Sunlit Door," while experimental and sonically interesting, tend to meander and build to nothing, or simply trail off, leaving the tension unresolved.
However, the album is strong in general, and the time Conrad Kelly spent in Cambodia (five years, before returning in 2018 to start working on the album) can be clearly heard influencing the songwriting and production.
All in all, while sometimes dragging and repetitive, there are enough moments of epic tension-resolving buildups and sonically interesting tracks that make this album worth checking out. (Dine Alone)