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Southern Empire - Southern Empire CD (album) cover

SOUTHERN EMPIRE

Southern Empire

 

Crossover Prog

3.86 | 110 ratings

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tbstars1
3 stars The trouble with a lot of bands from Australia, in common with some from the USA, is that they are unable ever to acknowledge that enough can be as good as a feast. Even when they have developed some beautiful and catchy melodies which are just crying out to be cushioned to a perfect resting place, they cannot resist the urge (at some stage) to insert some dazzling technical pyrotechnics which serve to highlight their individual and collective virtuosity, but are simply out-of-place in the context of all that has gone before, and ruin the whole effect. Think Glass Hammer, Spock's Beard, Unitopia....and there are plenty more examples. Southern Empire don't buck the sorry trend. They create some magnificent puddings, but then proceed to over-egg them mercilessly, "Forest Fire" and "Hold" being prime culprits. "How long" and "Dreams and Machines", in contrast, are more understated and consistent throughout (the former actually being an elongated version of "Intersection" by United Progressive Fraternity). The magnum opus, "The Bridge that Binds", duly determines whether the whole offering should attract two stars or three. As always with any track from Australia or the USA which exceeds 10 minutes, you know, you just know, that, sooner or later, your ears are going to be afflicted by some element of bombastic silliness or ugliness...and, true to form, after some sixteen and a half minutes, all that has gone before degenerates into a characteristic spell of barbaric incongruity. Raucous guitars and, yes, kitchen sink thrown in for good measure. And this lasts for nearly seven minutes - that's a quarter of the length of the track. Any casual listener would simply walk away to feed the chickens. Happily, however, persistence pays off - the track reverts and recovers nicely before the end; and closes elegantly. So, on a count back, I might properly award three stars. However, on behalf of the chickens, I really should deduct one for bad behaviour. Sometimes, in music, less is more: a valuable lesson.

tbstars1 | 3/5 |

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