|Southern Cross - From Tragedy
1 March 2012
02. Between The Lines
04. Invisible Roads
05. Reaching The Bottom
07. Violento [bonus]
08. Confession [digital download bonus]
Rating supplement: Although it doesn't come without flaws, this was a relatively enjoyable listen and it should sate you while you're waiting for upcoming releases by your favorite prog metal bands.
Southern Cross hail from Quebec, Canada and their career path so far has taken curious turns: their debut was completely in the vein of dark power metal, the follow-up was enhanced with progressive influences (both albums were reviewed by Metal Storm's Jeff in 2007 and 2009) and their latest offering, From Tragedy is completely in style of classic - one could even say orthodox - progressive metal. Their first trip deep into the heart of Progland is indeed well-planned and well-executed, although From Tragedy's biggest advantages are also its biggest downsides.
The first thing you'll notice about the music is that it's incredibly relaxing. Songs never (excluding the bonus track, which harks to the band's speedy past) go above medium pace and, although they do pick up in intensity towards the middle of each track, the impression is never overbearing. This is partly due to band's way of playing - vocals are restrained and highly melodic, lyrics fit the vocal melodies like a glove and solos are rare and tasteful. The synths often take the lead from the guitar, but the music still sounds "metal enough" due to guitar being higher up in the mix, exactly the way I like it.
Although the aforementioned qualities make their sound quite memorable, the album's homogeneity is its fatal flaw. Even though the melodies are crafted very well, when you have an album full of songs structured in exactly the same way, it has to do wonders to hold your attention. Also, I prefer my progressive metal more punishing - heavier, and/or more intense, and/or more haunting/atmospheric. The middle ground usually doesn't have the power to entice me, but I can safely conclude that, since the quality of the music won a part of me over, the rest of you progsters should at least check this one out. As for people who are not usually drawn to the genre (if any one of you made it until the end of the review, that is) - their music is (refreshingly) not heavy on "wankery" and similar things people tend to hate in progressive metal, but I believe Southern Cross will not go down well with you. You're welcome to prove me wrong on that though.
Written on 09.05.2012 by
A part of the team since December 2011, writes about the progressive, the sad and the melodic. She's nice until she's not.