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TAU CROSS - Pillar Of Fire

[EDIT: Since this is still regularily getting views, please also consider reading my last post regarding Tau Cross - or the one before that when the BS was very fresh.]

Ok, let's start directly with the obvious question: Is this second album better than the self-titled debut from 2015?

And let me not answer that question with: Fuck you, man! What do I know?

TAU CROSS - Pillar Of Fire (2LP) (2017)

So the crust super power Tau Cross, led by ex-Amebix mastermind Robb "The Baron" Miller and relentlessly driven forward by Voivod drummer Michel "Away" Langewin is back, this time with a shitload of fourteen tracks on two LPs.

That goes at least for the record version and the digital download. With fan favorite "Hangmans Hyll" and "Stonecracker" the previous album lacked two songs on the vinyl version and it seems like Relapse Records is compensating for this now, because this time it's the CD version that misses three tracks, among those one of my personal highlights, the hymn "We Are The Terror", so I advise at least to check those additional songs out on bandcamp if you're a CD listener. The running orders are also different, but I changed my download to match the vinyl, so I can't really judge what's better.

The gatefold is crested with great artwork, more than unmistakebly by  Costin Chioreanu, and also includes a lyric sheet.

Speaking of the lyrics, Miller shines again with great verses, which are simple yet deep at the same time, worldy and mystical, clearly political, but symbolic enough to remain timeless.

If you know his past work and the first album, of course this doesn't came as a surprise at all. Neither does the musical direction. Everything on "Pillar Of Fire" is kind of more of the same, but rightfully with a capital MORE - and this is not in the slightest a negative criticism, because obviously the established formula is fucking awesome, so there's absolutely no need for drastic modifications.

That means you can expect a rough ride through a diverse collection of songs, which all share a level of aggressive urgency and subtle eeriness, as well as an undeniable catchiness.
Post punk, hardcore, thrash are the words, put together in a manner that doesn't make any prisoners. On several songs like the title track there's also that dark folk influence again, which felt a little underrepresented on the recent tour, where I saw them in Hamburg.

Tau Cross live 2017
The main spectacle on top of all that however is Robb Miller's voice. His gargling inhumane organ remains as unique as unexplainable and ensures that there's just nothing else out there like Tau Cross.

Has "Pillar Of Fire" any weaknesses?

It's probably too long to fully digest and appreciate it at the first listen, but that's not a bad thing.

There are a few passages though, which have me on the edge. I've never been a punk kid, so especially during the first couple of tracks there are some riffs which feel a little shallow and worn out. There are also some instances where Miller goes for a cleaner vocal approach and... damn, there's no proper english word for "knödeln" I guess... well, just say he sounds a bit off.

But in both of those cases there's no further harm done, because either the weaker riffs are redeemed by killer vocals or the other way around. And all of the rest of the album is ace anyway.

Which brings me back to the initial question.

"Pillar Of Fire" surely is on par with the debut album, maybe it's even slightly or significantly better. But I just don't know yet.
The chances that songs like "The Big House" or the fantastic "Killing The King" (love that merging of lead guitars and synth noises) will leave the same lasting impact on me as the modern classics "You People" or "We Control The Fear" are pretty high though.

But only some more time can surely tell.

So until this is settled I probably just have to spin and enjoy both Tau Cross works to the death. Lucky me.

Highlights: Killing The King, We Are The Terror, Deep State, The Big House, Bread And Circuses, Pillar Of Fire

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