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"A greater sense of menace, grinning back at me". - 91%

Oss1, January 9th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Relapse Records

Tau Cross' debut is really not metal, but the spirit is as strong as in good heavy metal CD. Some of these songs remind me of Vikernes' work in a way that they send me to another dimension, far from the hassle and neuroticism of modern times. The song "Prison" reflects this outlook: "Sometimes in my darker dreams, I catch a glimpse of something, a greater sense of menace grinning back at me".

Rob's voice rises to the top commenting these songs with a shaman-like feeling. Voivod drummer Michael Langevin provides a backbone for this album with steady hits behind the drumkit while the guitarists play simple and energetic speed metal influenced riffs with the occasional acoustic or guitar-free passage. Punk, speed and progressive metal collide with mellow tracks on this album that are often lead by the melodic bass lines of Rob Miller.

Riffs are forged from drifting punk chords and fast speed metal picking, while odd, non-melodic leads appear and disappear with no consistency. There are no ultra heavy distortion guitars on this record, but the intensity of all the instruments played on this album give it a heavy feeling. If you're looking for a pure heavy metal experience this album is not for you, but for those who can enjoy great songwriting in a format that is maybe less heavy on the surface, but strong on the inside, this the kind of an album that you will not likely hear in the next 5-10 years.

Standout tracks are 'Lazarus', which possess some of the strongest lyrical content I've seen in heavy metal in a decade, and 'Hangmann's Hyll' with it's eerie feeling and grim vocal delivery. Inherently this is not metal, but should be considered by metal fans all over the planet, because of it's strong sense of songwriting and cliche-free ethos.