Is that an acoustic guitar on a … Trail of Dead record? Sounds like it.
The Secret of Elena’s Tomb finds the band exploring the inverse of loud, with “Counting Off the Days”, the fourth track on this five-track EP, sticking to a relatively sparse arrangement and a slower tempo.
But this EP isn’t a token unplugged effort.
Everything that makes … Trail of Dead distinct — seismic shifts within songs, a penchant for distortion and fucking chaotic drumming — is still very much present.
It’s just interspersed with some decidedly quieter moments.
“Mach Schau” distinguishes itself for starting off the EP slowly, not blistering like most every other … Trail of Dead disc, while “All Saints Day” starts off as a close cousin to Sonic Youth’s “Dirty Boots”, till the thundering verses crash in.
But it’s “Crowning of a Heart” which marks the most notably zip in the band’s zag. It almost sounds radio-friendly.
“Intelligence” concludes the EP, first indulging in the quieter aesthetic but then giving way to the white noise of … Trail of Dead’s sturm und drang.
This more nuanced sound fits the band well, and it wouldn’t sound bad stretched over an entire album. But like Source Code and Tags before it, The Secret of Elena’s Tomb feels structurally tight — it’s more a suite than an EP.
As such, the five tracks on Elena’s Tomb feel complete, even if the tweak in … Trail of Dead’s usual modus operandi leaves a listener starving for more.