Tau Cross’ 2015 self-titled debut took many in the metal and punk communities by surprise. It shouldn’t have, given the legendary contributions of band leaders Rob “The Baron” Miller of Amebix and Michael “Away” Langevin of Voivod. That album melded thrash, crust, punk, and a little bit of old fashioned heavy metal into a storming amalgam of heaviness and speed that catapulted the band into the limelight and gave the album more than a few nods on best-of lists at the end of the year. Such an auspicious debut from wily metal veterans such as Miller and Langevin has led to immense excitement regarding the band’s next album and whether or not they could keep pace with their scorching debut. Thus Tau Cross find themselves in the midst of the eternal quandary of all bands who have released excellent debut records. So how do they fair with their new record Pillar of Fire? Not bad at all, to be honest.
Metal, like any current history, is a neverending story -- a songbook perpetually revising its denouement in the storm of new releases shattering our ears and expectations by the month. But as exciting as it is to experience the history unfolding before us, that work is already done by listeners and blogs like this one on a daily basis. Vitally important and critically overlooked, I think, is the history of metal -- the first chapters yellowing in the forty-odd years since they were bound in black and leather. This post, then, will serve as a continuation of this article detailing the early days of metal, and particularly the incredible importance of Iron Maiden’s The Number of the Beast to the fledgling genre.