Tau Cross – Tau Cross (Relapse)

Thursday, 11th June 2015
Rating: 8/10

A name that often veers into metal territory, yet doesn’t quite have the cache as it should, Killing Joke bears the primary influence over supergroup Tau Cross. Comprised of members from Amebix, Misery, War/Plague, and perhaps of most consequence, Voivod, Tau Cross has styled its sound to pay homage to the apocalyptic, slightly melancholic punk sound Killing Joke waged across the 80s and better part of the 90s. Familiar ears (like DR’s) can at least pinpoint most of where these ideas are coming from, but for the rest, and probably even Voivod’s crowd, it may be a stretch. No sweat, though. This self-titled debut can roll with ‘em with just fine.

The distinctive drumming of Voivod’s Michel “Away” Langevin is the first element that jumps out. His lively, almost off-beat, but not really drumming is so centered on feel that it’s a bit remarkable the Canuck hasn’t gotten more praise for skills. Therefore, Langevin’s smooth time-keeping across “Fire in the Sky” and “We Control the Fear” provide Tau Cross with ample muster in the harder punk field, which is where most of these songs come in. Amebix throat Rob “The Baron” Miller is in charge of vocals, and while his atonal croak lacks any real variation, he’s right down the middle on the industrial “You People” and the simmering “The Lie.”

Given Langevin’s long-standing interest in politics, as well as the Iron Curtain (DR knows this from one-on-one conversations), the underlying thread of hopelessness is present throughout the 12 songs that comprise of the album. While it may be reflective of a bygone era, many of the principles and ideologies that come to serve as Tau Cross’s foundation are still relevant today, which in turn, makes a side-project/supergroup as this, relevant as well.

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