The Century Of Self - ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
Metascore
68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 24
  2. Negative: 1 out of 24
  1. Sometimes the rigid pattern of power-murk-power gets a little too predictable, but the pleasure of having a Trail Of Dead album that contains mostly good parts and no blind alleys more than makes up for any reduction in ambition.
  2. The Century of Self is compelling proof that the only way a band as fiercely ambitious, righteous, and single-minded as ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead can do things is on their own.
  3. 80
    After the proggy overindulgence of their previous two albums, these Texans gracefully balance the dynamic alt rock of 2002's Source Tags & Codes with their more recent multimovement epics.
  4. The Century of Self finds the pride of Austin, Texas, continuing to push baroque prog-rock to orchestral new heights. [Mar 2008, p.112]
  5. This Texas rock combo returns to form on The Century of Self, with producer Chris Coady stepping in for longtime collaborator Mike McCarthy.
  6. After releasing two albums that bored even its most ardent fans, . . . And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead is back to blowing minds with The Century of Self.
  7. The feeling persists that The Century Of Self marks an important moment for ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead--one in which they began to weave together their diverging paths and one that, after all, should be hailed as a victory.
  8. For the most part, Trail of Dead veer back and forth between styles mined on "Worlds Apart" and "Source Tags," making The Century of Self the strongest of their recent efforts. But it’s still an inconsistent one.
  9. Ultimately The Century Of Self won't trouble the charts and Trail Of Dead's status as a cult act will be assured. But there's enough here to keep their small group of followers very happy indeed.
  10. The Century of Self turns out to be every bit as stubborn as its predecessors, even as it goes a certain way towards justifying them.
  11. Conrad Keely’s vocals remain scabby and untreated and there’s still a bit much sonic compression, but the relative rawness adds a subtle flair to this record.
  12. Trail of Dead's post-major label debut, The Century of Self, may be the Austin institution's most conceptually complete work to date, a post-prog cathedral of mythical mini-epics, though it's by no means the band's masterpiece.
  13. There's early promise of a Dead revival in rocker ''Far Pavillions'' and the epic prog of ''Bells of Creation,'' but the album's meandering second half loses us as it loses itself.
  14. Texas's Trail of Dead settle into a nice groove somewhere between the two on their sixth album.
  15. As promising as its initial concentration of songs foretells, The Century Of Self suffers from careless sequencing, its tempos haphazardly spooned together and flung like high school portions of mashed potatoes and gravy, slopped into sections of the tray with no real purpose or benefit.
  16. No other band could legitimately produce this record without being accused of extreme plagiarism, and perhaps that goes some way to explaining why, despite its shortcomings, it is still likeable.
  17. 60
    A familiar sound predominates: an impressive fanfare for a royal procession that never quite arrives. [Apr 2009, p.78]
  18. Trail Of dead have kept faith with their traditional mix of prog pomp and grunge power for their sixth album. [Apr 2009, p.97]
  19. Trail of Dead succeeds here by putting together a collection of songs that accurately reflects the kind of band they have always been. This is still a brash, sweeping, “ring the alarm bell!” brand of music. It’s just not that fun to listen to anymore.
  20. Self's intense sound feels like much ado about not so much.
  21. Century of Self is at times a stirring, effective rock album, familiar but stable, but the band's general creativity is less vital than they think, and rather than settle down they continue a fussy streak of projects loaded with hollow, stilted ambition.
  22. The good news is that this is, in fact, a throwback to their earlier work. The bad news is that it’s not throwback enough.
  23. 40
    Their sixth album enlists Michael Bay levels of volume and grandeur in the service of alarmingly generic, hookless power ballads and plodding prog etudes.
  24. Any way you slice it, Trail Of The Dead is a sad case in selling out. [Winter 2009, p.68]
User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 37 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 16
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 16
  3. Negative: 1 out of 16
  1. Oct 10, 2010
    9
    They show glimpses of the kind of band they were ST&C era but it is the regained confidence that shines through. No-one writes music like these guys now. Biggest criticism is the track layout, 'Insatiable 1' and 'Insatiable 2' are lost instrumentals that make the second half of the album unbalanced and slightly weaker than the first. 'Luna Park' and 'Halcyon Days' are personal favourites. Overall, it's a very strong 'comeback' album. Whatever they do now will surely be amazing. Full Review »
  2. DavidG
    Mar 22, 2009
    10
    In an age of sleepy pianos, predictable hooks, & industry regulators like click track recordings; Trail of Dead have delivered an amazing tour de force that casts off the arms of the record industry, and the hack record reviewers who aren't happy with a record that stands apart from the same ol' same ol'. At SXSW 09' I saw tons of Arcade Fire-esque bands w/10 members on stage doing very little. I long for the days when more bands sound like TOD. Full Review »
  3. KarenH
    Mar 19, 2009
    0
    Terrible album, so boring.