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Southern Cross - From Tragedy CD (album) cover

FROM TRAGEDY

Southern Cross

 

Progressive Metal

4.00 | 27 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Second Life Syndrome
5 stars Disclaimer: I originally composed this review for powerofmetal.dk.

It's high time that this amazing album finally gets reviewed here on our site. Southern Cross is a band out of Canada that had released a couple albums, but they really haven't received much attention until 2012's release "From Tragedy". Honestly, I've heard their first album, "Rise Against", and I was slightly unimpressed. It seems that the band has re-thought their approach, and it has paid off for them. The reason I say it is "high time" for this album to be reviewed is because it received a re-release from Unicorn Records in April 2013. Hopefully, this time around, the band will receive even more attention.

I sound quite enthusiastic about this album, but I promise that I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that this album was a toss-up for best album of 2012 for me. Only one album defeated it (Distorted Harmony's "Utopia"), but I must admit that the top 5 were basically all a toss-up seeing as how 2012 was such a great year for progressive music. So, this album almost topped my list last year, but why?

I've heard it said about Southern Cross that they are a Dream Theater clone that overcomes this status by playing and composing extremely well. I disagree with the first part of this statement: While I'm sure Dream Theater is an influence, they sound absolutely nothing like Dream Theater in style, composition, structure, or ambiance. I wasn't going to do this, but I must: I'm really tired of the Dream Theater nuts comparing everyone to their mediocre gods. I've heard so many bands written off a clones of Dream Theater, when these bands have little in common with them---in fact, these bands often possess more of the spirit and soul of prog than Dream Theater itself! In my opinion, DT has been stuck in a massive rut for 15 years, and these newer bands show no signs of joining them there. So, as I've heard, if you think a new prog metal song sounds like Dream Theater, your music collection is probably way too small (If you don't like what I said, try asking me about Rush!). *Rant finished*.

Southern Cross is anything but a clone of the "great" DT. In their first two albums, they managed to create a more metal approach that incorporated harsh vox and a lot of bombast. "From Tragedy", however, displays the band's new-found maturity. Melody is 100% at the forefront here. Indeed, the band almost throws off the prog metal mantle for the most part, although they really bring it at times. The melodies are extremely memorable, and the lyrics are as well. Weighing them against the sea of amazing 2012 releases, I couldn't help but notice how profound and emotive the vocals and lyrics appear. This album portrays the life of a really messed up guy and how lost and "missing" he is. At the end of the album, we find out why, and it is rather heart-breaking. The songs are sung with punishingly emotive style, and the lyrics themselves are never cheesy and never cookie cutter. All along, the melody shines.

Now, then, the album sounds pretty good thus far, correct? Well, there's more. This album hands-down delivers the best instrumental portions of any album in 2012. This was my first impression; and, after listening to it dozens of times, it is still my belief. Southern Cross pulled out all the stops and created masterful, melodic passages that really suck you in deeply. This can especially be seen on my two favorite tracks, "Between the Lines" and "Poetry": These two tracks both made it into my Top 10 list of best songs for 2012. There are 3 instrumental passages in "Between the Lines" alone that require the attention of every prog lover. Piano, keys, flute, awesome orchestration, masterful drumming, and wonderful bass lines combine to form a perfect storm of truly progressive music, the like of which is rare to find. Notice, however, that I didn't mention guitars: That is because they deserve special mention. The guitars on this album are the best that 2012 had to offer. Read that again. The guitars on Southern Cross' "From Tragedy" are the best I heard in 2012. That is really saying something, and the flexible, mature sound earns this praise. The passages are well thought-out and well-played. The lead guitarist busts out solo after solo that would make even Gilmour jealous.

So, when you combine a heart-breaking storyline, amazing lyrics and vox, and the best instrumental passages of the year, what do you get? You get an instant masterpiece that should be heard by all fans of prog metal. Spotify has it. Amazon.com has it. Youtube has it. The band is re-releasing it. There's no excuse. Give it a listen soon. I hope you will share my opinion of it.

Second Life Syndrome | 5/5 |

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