TAU CROSS - Pillar of Fire

Pillar of Fire FORMAT: CD
REALEASE DATE: 21.07.2017
RECORD COMPANY: Relapse Records

Top 2017: #108
Tau Cross more
Rob (The Baron) Miller - vocals
Michel (Away) Langevin - drums
Andy Lefton - guitars
Jon Misery - guitars
Tom Radio - bass

1. Raising Golem2. Bread and Circuses3. On the Water4. Deep State5. Pillar of Fire6. Killing the King7. A White Horse8. The Big House9. RFID10. Seven Wheels11. What Is a Man
When Rob “The Baron” Miller revealed the resolution of the Amebix’s history through the album “Sonic Mass”, which came out about 25 years later from the previous one, a thing was clear: he didn’t care at all about the unwritten laws of the extreme music scene and perhaps he was never concerned about that. Amebix’s thrash-oriented crust punk appeared as a natural deed once with the tendencies unleashed by a gang of British punks from the 80’s, some talented fellows having autonomous views and good taste in music. Their music got established as an interesting influence marking bands such as Neurosis or Sepultura, and these guys came eventually to enjoy the status of a cult band. It was only after 2010 when the actual idea of a new Amebix album emerged and the world was hungering for “Arise!” part two, but Miller and his new drummer Roy Mayorga wrote a piece which didn’t show that urban grimness and illuminating revolt that people expected and that would retrieve the band. Thus, they would sell plenty of albums during a couple of years and would ensure some constant touring. Did these musicians have any reasons to go back in the past and live what wasn’t there left for living?! I doubt they did and therefore, Amebix came with an epic work, a different type of punk intertwined with a different type of heavy metal, leaving room for a sort of Northern folk, which brought a fantastic touch to the whole album. This could be taken as a sonic fairy tale filled with some kind of wisdom, which seems to be found in the magical and fabulous realms of the Isle of Skye where The Baron settled down and became a renowned craftsman dealing with swordsmithing. 

In 2013 Rob Miller teamed up with the extraterrestrial drummer of Voivod, Michel “Away” Langevin and gave birth to the band Tau Cross, which carried forward what was built once with the album “Sonic Mass”. In 2015 they released the eponymous album and revealed a pretty heavy substance with riffs which would make you believe that this record is more of a Killing Joke than Killing Joke itself. While Killing Joke remains a huge and unquestioned name in the rock music and its influence upon Miller’s creation cannot go as a mystery, the work achieved by Tau Cross lives through an immense and independent energy. Having the Americans Jon of Misery and Andy Lefton of War//Plague on guitars, and Frustration’s Tom Radio on bass, Tau Cross gets on with the intense force unfolding on their debut album and this month we rejoice over the release of their second full-length, namely “Pillar of Fire”, which makes the band’s approach sound fiercer to the fans’ ears. 

I play this album and I listen to an atmospheric intro, which is worthy of various urban explorations that send chills up your spine and animate some morbid curiosities. After about 40 seconds the guitars come into action with a classic tension, the drums increase their effects and the bass player favours easily this start like in the most adorable punk songs. This is how they announce an extremely fair riff going as an instance of punk and heavy metal at the same time. Miller’s crucial vocals go in soon, bringing that gruff tone which made so many people compare him with the mighty Lemmy. Then I see that the song’s name is “Raising Golem” and I become more enthusiastic about what I hear there. All those musical things that involved Miller were based on lyrical themes which represented rich views describing the surrounding world without the use of tricks and touching a certain essence that can be discussed by any philosopher and reasoned by any individual. The Golem myth and its Talmudic legends have fascinated me in a peculiar way due to the human’s principles of creating a destructive something through the agency of an absurd nature so that the fear degrades the human. He loses the control of his creation while the golem’s apparition annihilates the equilibrium. From Gustav Meyrink’s novel to Paul Wegener’s expressionist films and the filmic dystopia of Polish director Piotr Szulkin, I’ve just devoured this mythical clay figure and its transformations and each time various artists make mention of it, I have a great feeling despite the terror associated with the golem’s image. I enjoyed that theatrical performance staged by Vulture Industries, based on the metaphors emerging from the golem’s fabrication, and now, the Tau Cross song makes me glad as well. 

The following songs on “Pillar of Fire” gather plenty of glorious tendencies from the rock and metal music. “Bread and Circuses” or “Deep State” resemble some tempered fragments from the halcyon days of Slayer or Kreator and other sections bring some mid-tempo death metal resemblances, although all these moments are enshrouded by the post-punk rigors. The lines are pretty simple, seemingly and sometimes we hear 4/4 structures which deliver great expressiveness and they just haunt you. It is all about riffs and rhythms which cannot be refused by certain minds. Each song presents a climax which makes you want to sing with The Baron and to spread the message brought by his voice. Baron’s vocals range mainly between that gruffness I was mentioning before and an almost spoken, clean technique, but sometimes we hear a totally clean manner and besides its individual touch, it may send you into the old world of the Goth singers or the country dimension. 

The folk influences are also integrated on the “Pillar of Fire” and some acoustic fragments produce a certain dynamic through the whole musical construction. Another thing is that Tau Cross writes an anthem for each album. On the debut record, we had “We Control the Fear”, and I would love to listen to this song at a big arena, as being timed up by the big crowds or the wandering protesters on various streets, because I imagine for a few seconds the greatness of such ritual based on the acknowledgement regarding the human condition and the rebellion against fear through the medium of a single line. I dreamed of such happening, but I know that for various reasons, this will not happen. On the new album, the title track comes with the heaviest dose of awfulness and this time it is all about a deep sadness in my opinion, but then again, it’s just facts that happen and therefore, it’s nice to accept them. “Oh no, they are burning their gods again,” Miller begins his grave interpretation and the instrumental execution gives the listener a thrill. No musical reference is required for this song since it’s just a dramatic moment in the present, which should be displayed to the crowds through radio stations and popular channels, but we know that this will not happen as well. This music and its poetry shape a mirror and no one wants to find the reflection of the self in these circumstances and it appears that the synth I hear by the song’s ending conveys exactly this thought. 

The next track is one of the other big things on this album. It’s “Killing the Kings”, a monument of eloquence which awakes the pure power of the English rock music. I think that the song “RIFD” has the same role and here the guitars do something like an amazing strife, while Away leads them towards a universe dominated by blasting phenomena. It’s wonderful how this drummer punctuates each group of measures, and although his approach can be taken as a conventional manner on most of the tracks I believe that his technique is a factor which comes with the beautiful energy of this release. If I hadn’t seen him live with this band, perhaps I would not have understood what happened there since a non-musician loses often some details, but during a live show the drums get a significant sound and one can watch the drummer’s dynamics and thus, the perspective changes a lot. 

I think that the overall sound of “Pillar of Fire” is pretty appropriate for this music. This is not a pretentious production, but I don’t feel something missing in terms of tones and balance, so it’s a perfect record. I have nothing more else to say about this, except that the album must be played loud and maybe one day, many people will meet and will attempt at agreeing the fact that “We control the fear.” 

Gina S. more Nota: 9.5

Posted at 15:23 |  18 Iulie 2017  | 1 Comments  | 4890 Views

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