Art-rockers Conrad Keely and Jason Reece make whopping orchestral waves on their 10th studio album, X: The Godless Void and Other Stories.

…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead

X: The Godless Void and Other Stories

Trail of Dead formed in 1994. I’d heard the name often but never heard them. Now that I have, there’s a lot to unpack about this epic, symphonic art-rock and its progressive accessibility. Godless Void combines post-punk angst and remarkable musicality akin to T.o.D’s own influences, Rush and Sonic Youth, and matches it with spirited urgency.

Conrad Keely and Jason Reece alternate on vocals, drums, and guitar, resulting in captivating mood changes and fascinating breakdowns. In “All Who Wander,” massive percussive tsunamis rip into wailing, down-tuned guitar arpeggios. Emotional, anthemic vocals call Morrissey to mind, and even the band’s use of synths is choice. On “Gone,” piano and cascades of guitar delay blossom over ominous industrial beats.

Speaking of crescendos, “The Opening Crescendo,” starts the journey and sets the pace for pummeling buildups and melodic reprises. Keely says the album was built around the cyclic manipulation of one musical motif. It sounds incredible.

Must-hear tracks: “All Who Wander,” “Who Haunts the Haunter”

Magnatone unveils the Starlite, its new 5-watt amplifier with a vintage look designed for the office, backstage, or the studio.

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Diatonic sequences are powerful tools. Here’s how to use them wisely.



• Understand how to map out the neck in seven positions.
• Learn to combine legato and picking to create long phrases.
• Develop a smooth attack—even at high speeds.

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Knowing how to function in different keys is crucial to improvising in any context. One path to fretboard mastery is learning how to move through positions across the neck. Even something as simple as a three-note-per-string major scale can offer loads of options when it’s time to step up and rip. I’m going to outline seven technical sequences, each one focusing on a position of a diatonic major scale. This should provide a fun workout for the fingers and hopefully inspire a few licks of your own.
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