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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 a good heavy metal CD. Punk, speed and progressive metal collide with mellow tracks on this album that is often lead by the melodic bass playing of Rob "The Baron" 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 delivery of all the instruments give this album a heavy feeling, with Rob's voice rising to the top commenting these songs with the feeling of some kind of shamanism from few thousand years ago. Voivod drummer Michael "Away" Langevin provides a backbone for it all with his steady and constant hitting behind the drumkit. 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.

Some of these songs remind me of Vikernes' more magical work in a way that they send me to another time, when the world was still young and free of greed. The song "Prison" reflects this outlook with it's lyrics: "Sometimes in my darker dreams, I catch a glimpse of something, a greater sense of menace grinning back at me". Standout tracks are the first one, "Lazarus", which possess some of the strongest lyrical content I've seen in heavy metal or rock in a decade, and "Hangmann's Hyll" that stands out with it's eerie feeling and grim vocal delivery.

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 in the inside, this is an album that you will not likely hear in the next 5+ years.