Oh what did I accidentally stumble upon here? Before I even go into this review, I have to say that this album is absolutely amazing, and I say that with no exaggeration. Certainly as of late, I know I mentioned previously, that I’ve had an abnormally good run of non-crap *(getting to the point of spoilage – – – oh when and how will the scales tip?), but for these current listens to actually be getting better and better with each release that I give the time to, is almost unheard of *(maybe going M.I.A. for awhile was a good idea after all).
That said, PILLAR OF FIRE by TAU CROSS is a masterpiece of songwriting, lyricism, philosophy and sound that’s somehow managed my personal all time top ten list. Since I first popped this on about four days ago, I haven’t been able to stop listening to this goddamned thing. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking to hear that I didn’t know was there. I guess you could call TAU CROSS a supergroup, of sorts, consisting of members of some quite legendary punk, metal, and crust bands, namely AMEBIX, VOIVOD, MISERY, FRUSTRATION, and WAR//PLAGUE. But don’t let the lineup belie the dark beauty, morose triumph, and intense passion of the lurking sounds within, each one tied to tales of personal Occultic turmoils, Cosmic Wrath, and the concerns of a much larger and increasingly paranoid, turbulent, highly controlled world. In a sense, much of it is an extension of certain AMEBIX and VOIVOD components, but more than the metalpunk you’d expect, it’s instead blended to moribund perfection with heavy gothic, apocalyptic folk, psychedelia, and a serious point that should be heeded.
The album opens with the jaw dropping “Raising Golem,” the sheer force and genuine emotion of which had me hooked from the first few moments. This touched me like a chord of light electrifying every overlapping universe laying over my being at the time. And the lyrics show a stunning intelligence and studied knowledge of the subject matter at hand: “And down among the reeds and mud, The mouths of creatures form the words, Through invocation and the rod, The army of forgotten gods, Oh what have we done? Adversaries of the sun.” Holy shit, that’s fukking intense. Perhaps my favorite song on the album, each subsequent piece flows perfectly into the next, a strange and dire tale being woven throughout the transmutation of this Beast. Of the Occult, they touch on a much different aspect, drawing greatly from 17th century mysticism and ideas spun from the minds of fevered alchemists revelling in their hallucinatory madness, and of the Necromancers who manipulated the dead to achieve an abyssal knowledge of the Great Work. “On The Water,” “Pillar Of Fire,” “A White Horse,” “Seven Wheels,” and “What Is A Man” *(containing more lyrics of an immense beauty and depth: “I have struggled with the Angel and the Demigod, I have faced the night of Sorrows on my own,” potent, strong and raw words that I understand only too well, more than lyrics, this is poetry) all deal with this ardent mysticism, Gnosis being the order of the day.
My other favorite track is the albums harshest number, the biting and justifiably paranoid “RFID” *(yes, the information and tracking chip we’ll all very likely soon have forced upon us), which bring us to the other major topical aspect of the band, being the evermore subversively controlled and scripted dystopia within which we currently live *(of course taken to some absolutely frightening ends in the tales told here). “Bread And Circuses,” “Deep State,” and “Killing The King” are some of the more potent tracks on this subject, but believe this when I say that I can find not a bad moment on this album. It’s so drastically different than anything else I can think of that’s around right now, that I’m truly kind of blown away. I’ve been harassing my friends and co-creators who’re into similar sounds with this, “You have to hear this!” And so do you.
Who to recommend this to? Everyone. If you need a comparison, think KILLING JOKE, NEW MODEL ARMY, VOIVOD, DEATH IN JUNE, and more recent CHRISTIAN DEATH chopped to bits and very, very carefully rearranged, and you get this goth infused metalpunk slab of mesmerizing, incredibly well thought brilliance. There’s so much here to take in that multiple listens will not only be desired, but required. And I had no idea what this was going into it, I picked it up based entirely upon the name *(a TAU CROSS is a cross in the shape of the greek letter TAU, or think of a “T” with the ends of the top winged upward). This resonates with me on so many levels that I feel it’s entirely too easy to either say too much or not enough all at the same time, so I’ll end it here. In fact, to prove my point, I’m not even going to leave you with the usual barrage of “check it out” verbal abuse. Check out PILLAR OF FIRE by TAU CROSS, regardless of your taste. This is a true listening experience, and if you’re of the right mind, it’ll take you someplace very, very interesting, perhaps even touch in you what it has in me. *(This, by the way, is their 2nd full length, meaning I’m going to have to give the first one a listen as well.) 93.
TAU CROSS at Bandcamp: https://taucross.bandcamp.com/
“Killing The King” video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkhdKOZrdMg
“Deep State” video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gd3xYtars8
VINCENT DAEMON is a writer of the macabre & nonfiction, reviewer, editor, essayist, student of Phenomenology and the Occult, musician, founder of Grave Demand Publishing, social observer, photographer, historian of film/music/literature and the general strange. His Weird Fiction has appeared in over 40 anthologies and periodicals, in both print and digital. He’s also contributed hundreds of film, music, and book reviews to T.I.F. and various other sites. Whatever is not out-of-print can be found at AMAZON and in various dark corners of the internet. For a free sampling of his work, check out his stories at the FREEZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION:http://freezineoffantasyandsciencefiction.blogspot.com/ To sample the multitudes of music he’s recorded over the years, check out VINCENT DAEMON’S AGE OF DESIRE at Reverbnation: https://www.reverbnation.com/vincentdaemonsageofdesire3 He can be found at Facebook, as well. MUSICIANS! WRITERS! FILMMAKERS!: If you would like your work reviewed/covered in the ROSETTA BONES, please send works and materials to firstname.lastname@example.org.