Tau Cross – “Pillar Of Fire” (Relapse)
With their legacy rooted in cult bands like crust punks Amebix and alt thrash metallers Voi Vod, Tau Cross is a super group in more ways than one – not in the least in bringing to bear once more a number of styles whose addictive hold on those who still yearn to hear them again is as strong as when they were first touched by their tones! Crucially made up of drummer Michel ‘Away’ Langevin and Rob ‘The Baron’ Miller on bass and vocals, and joined by Tom Radio (Frustration), Jon Misery (Misery) and Andy Lefton (War//Plague), Tau Cross resurrects the original decayed sound of Amebix, but now adds a fuller and more solid body thanks to the twin guitars along with Langevin’s eclectic drumming. That said, while utilizing metal elements in some of the guitar work, this isn’t a metal album and sticks to its anarcho punk roots with a distinct 80s sound although thankfully not resurrecting the past but instead bringing itself into modernity admirably. Completed by new age tribal rhythms and Miller’s alternating hoarse crust / new wave vocals definitely adding to that affect the likes of ‘Deep State’ bring the grinding bass, nihilistic riffs and Miller’s possessed voice together with some classy licks and Langevin’s frantic drumming – along with some serious cymbal fetishes ha ha! Moving into a grinding groove on ‘Killing the King’ the tribal drumming forms the solid back beat to hard metallic riffing topped off by new age melodies and Miller’s now cleaner, but soon drifting back into harshness style in keeping to the alternating mood of the song. It all builds into a catchy chorus but still retains a punk as f–k label as all the classic ingredients are still there so nicely done lads! To show that even a mangy dog can do new tricks is the dark n somber closer ‘What is a Man’, beginning quietly enough acoustically with Miller’s baritone vocals almost goth like before wailing guitars come crashing in and culminate in heartfelt guitar god solos on what must be the only crust punk ballad ever written! This might be music to old punks come of age but it is also sure to resonate among new generations of angst and socially conscious youth searching for the answers the world over – but with a difference to the same old tune.