Southern Cross, From Tragedy, 2012
Ah, a progressive metal band that is stretching the boundaries of the genre! And succeeding at it too… I believe Southern Cross are a Canadian band, and so far have released a couple of albums. All independently which again says absolutely nothing about the quality on offer here. This sounds big and professional, so no worries.
But let´s get back to that stretching thing. In progressive metal we have come to expect a couple of things: heavy grooves and guitar riffing, technical interludes and mind blowing solos on guitar and keyboards, that type of thing. And yes, Southern Cross come from the Dream Theater side of things. But I feel they added some accents that seperates them from wannabees.
First I think they have quite a good ear for melodies. Both vocally as instrumental. Themes are often revisited, albeit with different arrangements. So even the longer songs attract and keep your attention. I would even go as far as to say their melodic capabilities are a huge selling point. Even in regard to to my second highlight: they sometimes use growling vocals. And while I cannot say I am a big fan of those, here I feel they fit the band and music really well. It did not turn me off one moment, so kudos for that. And I really think the lead vocals are very pleasant (but that is more department 1 in this case).
So what we have here is a band that write songs that stick, meet nowadays standards of the genre, and stretches out a bit. In total a winning combination that I hope all lovers of the genre will look into. Totally deserved!