Tau Cross Regresses On “Deep State”

Tau Cross previewed the cover art and a track of their upcoming Pillar of Fire album on Relapse Records. “Deep State” sees the supergroup headed by Rob “The Baron” Miller regress towards a hybrid of crust, thrash, and modern rock as seen on the final Amebix album, Sonic Mass. While free of the overt Brit pop and Godsmack of Sonic Mass, “Deep State” is still almost static like a rock song with riffs around a static chord for catchy rhythms and vocal hooks to be arranged around. The instrumental music is a tired retread that I have heard at least a few dozen speed metal band do better before.


Tau Cross featured crust and speed metal riffing in Motorhead type heavy metal songs with leads strongly evocative of the post-punk of Killing Joke. While “Lazarus”, the first single from the debut, lacked the power chord progressions and urgency of Motorhead, the post-punk lead riff ¬†effectively progressed over the course of the composition in heavy metal fashion where Killing Joke kept their guitar melodies mostly repetitive and static. The debut album also featured a heavy British folk influence and occult lyrics.


“Deep State” is a major step back towards pandering towards a radio rock audience. The overtly political lyrics are present to resonate with the contemporary liberal backlash against everything Donald Trump has done and will do. This bodes badly for Pillar of Fire. I fear Relapse Records seemingly has genericized Tau Cross down to crusty protest rock for hipsters. Hopefully the rest of the album plays to the band’s strengths and not their desire for commercial success.

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5 thoughts on “Tau Cross Regresses On “Deep State””

  1. Rainer Weikusat says:

    This reminds of Motorhhead because the singer slips into “plastic Lemmy souvenir” mode a couple of times. But heavy use of reverb is always suspicious. That’s usually supposed to give an impression of depth where none exists. The guitar is distorted in way which makes it somewhat sound like synthesizer, something Killing Joke also used to use. There’s also some 1980s-style dit-dit-dit keyboard sound in the background which comes to rescue the composition from itself in various places. The lyrics of Lazarus are of supreme nonsensicalness,

    “I’m standing like sundial casting shadows on the late September grain/ A scarecrow crucifixion hanging lifeless for nobody to explain

    — OMG ! The Scarecrow ! Lifeless ! Why ?? —
    [seen a living scarecrow, anybody?]

    there’s a “metal cliche” guitar part somewhere (plam-muted tremolo-picking ending in some long chords) but nothing resembling a riff, just distorted chord accompaniement with a well-known popular ‘edgy’ sound. “Lacking urgency” is a real compliment as this doesn’t even qualify as rock — it’s mild-mannered living-room compatible guitar pop and even that badly. “Summer hit” if Relapse can pull that off.

    1. but nothing resembling a riff

      This is the most pointed critique of it that I have seen from most quarters.

      However, does Tau Cross want to be metal, or just a heavier version of classic rock?

      Clearly Amebix loved Motorhead, but so did almost all of punk — Motorhead was the bridge between the Stooges, Blue Cheer and the Ramones — but with this lineup, it is unclear that they actually want to play metal.

      Someone should ask them.

      1. Ethan says:

        They never wanted to be a metal band, Amebix always wanted to be a punk band and Tau Cross continues that.

  2. It's just brown and water says:


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