Saturday, August 22, 2015

ALBUM REVIEW: Tau Cross "Tau Cross"

Another awesome super-group collaboration for 2015 (see my upcoming posts on Gruesome and Johansson & Speckman), Tau Cross most notably (to me) combines the mighty D-beats of Away on drums and on loan (from space-thrashers Voivod) with the stirring vocals of Rob "The Baron" Miller of crust godfathers Amebix.

I ordered the colored vinyl version (orange and green splatter) that adds to the atmosphere of the cover photo, setting a tone of Autumn, of fulfillment, death, and preparation for rebirth; which are common lyrical themes on the album.

 "Lazarus" kicks off the album with a crustier sounding Killing Joke riff that Voivod space-prog-ified. In other words, EXACTLY what you want in this album. Minor chords add some darkness and early Death Rock undercurrents mixed with recent Amebix stylings. Prepare to sing along when the Baron bellows out the chorus, LAAZARUUUS!!!!

"Fire In The Sky" opens with a brief keyboard intro and drops the guitar, but fast. The riff and keyboard/guitar interplay make for another catchy song.

"Stonecracker" baffles and delights me in that the riff feels like an Amebix appropriated KMFDM riff (specifically I'm thinking "A Drug Against War" and "Light"). Away's hammering is very 80's here, and I love every second of it.

"Midsummer" is depressive as hell with another great Baron-chorus to stretch your vocal chords on. Some more Killing Joke beats and flavor surface towards the end of the track before bridging back to the main riff progression.

"Hangman's Hyll" gives us another depressive sing along, you'll be remembering all your lost and dead friends, tearing up. Practically guaranteed. Should be on the cover with a warning sticker, methinks. The vocals here sound a bit muppet-ish at times, which is always a bonus for me, even if they sound more Bert than Cookie Monster.

"We Control The Fear" relies mostly on acoustic guitar riffs with some electric guitar and drums adroitly inserted to punctuate central moments.

"You People" feels more like Tau Cross did a mid-period Prong cover, not too fast, decent chorus, but not my favorite from the album.

"Prison" has some more Killing Joke vibes mixed with early Voivod (say, "Rooaar") drumming and gang vocals. Pretty solid.

"Sons Of The Soil" has some trippy guitar/synth effects behind the Baron's rasp until the Muppet-vocals return. A very slow, pensive song. Minimal aggression but quite enjoyable.

"The Lie" picks it back up but I find it to be the weakest song on the album, the least memorable.

"Our Day" has a minute-and-a-half of buildup before breaking into some decent speedin' an' hollerin' but also not my favorite track.

"The Devil Knows His Own" closes the album out with some depressive Baron-vocals and acoustic guitar, not much else (excepting a cello). This would have worked much better if the previous songs were stronger, but the second half of the album brings you back to earth while the first casts you into the sky, perhaps now ready for the long hibernation of winter, until the next harvest of this very exciting collective.

*Review and photos copyright The Samnambulist, 2015*

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