3. Tau Cross, 'Tau Cross'
Tau Cross made as confident a metal debut as we've seen in ages — but the band's three-plus-decade collective pedigree makes them a bit of a special case. The international quartet features two survivors of the Eighties underground: bassist-vocalist Rob "The Baron" Miller of British crust-punk originators Amebix and drummer Michel "Away" Langevin of Québécois sci-fi-thrash machine Voivod. No lazy supergroup effort, Tau Cross stake out clear aesthetic terrain — in this case, a melding of moody, Killing Joke–style postpunk and anthemic, post-Motörhead hard rock. Miller's lyrics can skew cornball ("Night falls; these walls are leaking memories again"), but he sells the material with conviction, singing in a gravelly, yet determinedly melodic croak. H.S.