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SOUTHERN CROSS

Progressive Metal • Canada


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Southern Cross biography
SOUTHERN CROSS is a progressive power metal act formed in 2003 in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. The band was started by Lead vocalist/ guitarist David Lizotte, bassist Jean-François Boudreault and drummer Frederic St-Onge who began playing together in a metal tribute act. After a while they began writing original material and thus SOUTHERN CROSS was born. The trio were later joined by keyboard player Jean-Benoit Lemire and guitarist Olivier Perrier-Maurel. SOUTHERN CROSS debut full-length studio album "Rise Above" was released in February 2006. The follow up "Down Below" was released in June 2009. Drummer Frederic St-Onge had left the band after recording the album and new drummer in SOUTHERN CROSS is Antoine Guertin.

SOUTHERN CROSS inclusion in the Prog Archives database was approved by the Progressive Metal Team.

( Biography written by UMUR)

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From TragedyFrom Tragedy
Import
Unicorn Digital Inc. 2013
Audio CD$12.05
$17.44 (used)
Down BelowDown Below
CD Baby 2009
Audio CD$11.88
$22.47 (used)
Don't Care No MoreDon't Care No More
Sharp Records Inc. 2014
Audio CD$15.00
FIELD ON!FIELD ON!
INDIE (JAPAN)
Audio CD$19.31
Ikuji Nashi Ashide MatoiIkuji Nashi Ashide Matoi
Import
Imports 2003
Audio CD$17.83
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SOUTHERN CROSS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SOUTHERN CROSS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Rise Above
2006
2.18 | 3 ratings
Down Below
2009
4.05 | 24 ratings
From Tragedy
2012

SOUTHERN CROSS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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SOUTHERN CROSS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 From Tragedy by SOUTHERN CROSS album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.05 | 24 ratings

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From Tragedy
Southern Cross Progressive Metal

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Collaborator Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams

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.

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 From Tragedy by SOUTHERN CROSS album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.05 | 24 ratings

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From Tragedy
Southern Cross Progressive Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'From Tragedy' - Southern Cross (8/10)

The melodic brand of progressive metal was once my go-to style of music a few years ago. While I haven't become oblivious to the obvious technical brilliance that many of these bands put into their music, it's often difficult to argue that they are really 'progressing' things along. With that in mind, it was not a surprise to hear the unquestionable presence of Dream Theater in Southern Cross' music. The energy and quality of arrangement is strong enough to overlook the arguably lack of originality however; you may very well have heard this sound before, but it's executed with skill and passion. Progressive metal may be a crowded style of music, but Southern Cross' "From Tragedy" is a firm reminder that there are still great albums coming out, even if it may still be a little too comfortable for challenge- seeking listeners.

"From Tragedy" is my first full-length experience with Southern Cross, although my history with particular songs of the band were amicable. In essence, Southern Cross felt to me like a band taking the 'melodic-yet-proggy-and-technical' mission of Dream Theater, and supplementing it with an added power metal edge. "From Tragedy" maintains this vision, although there is a noted improvement performancewise from their previous album, "Down Below". The production is crisp and no longer permits the overindulgent double-kick that rode on previous work. To fresh newcomers, it's enough to say that the band are framed within a tight studio production, and considering the precision required in their brand of music, it's a really great compliment they pay themselves.

The guitar is the lifeblood of "From Tragedy". Paired off between Olivier Perrier-Maurel and vocalist David Lizotte, the guitars are graced with a thick yet elegant sense of distortion. Lead riffs and rhythms are often fused together, making the songwriting feel remarkably fluid for such technical music. The bass guitar and keyboards take more of an auxiliary role. Tipping a hat to Dream Theater, many of the guitar leads are matched with keyboards. This is particularly evident on the fiery highlight "Tightrope", a prog metal tour-de-force that instantly had me digging what Southern Cross were doing. Keyboardist Antoine Guertin also takes helm of the drumkit, and delivers an impressive performance that meets the guitars both at their most subtle and most furious. Southern Cross also succeed on a vocal level, which is often that weak link in prog metal bands. David Lizotte's voice is warm, first reminding me of Novembre vocalist Carmelo Orlando's gloomy tenor. Harmonies provided by the rest of the band help give a welcome touch of beauty to their technical chops.

Although I find myself enjoying Southern Cross' third album a lot more than I first thought I would, I cannot shake the feeling that they hold themselves back under the guise of prog metal formula. The vocals feel less acrobatic than many of the so-called 'Dream Theater clones' I have heard, but given that "From Tragedy" is full of tricks pulled directly from some of the genre's greats, I feel it discredits them. As it stands, Southern Cross' powerful mix of melody and passionate complexity is excellent, and certainly deserves the time to grow on a listener. It may not reinvent the wheel (nor invent the jetpack) but "From Tragedy" ranks among the best prog metal albums I've thus heard this year.

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 Down Below by SOUTHERN CROSS album cover Studio Album, 2009
2.18 | 3 ratings

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Down Below
Southern Cross Progressive Metal

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

2 stars For those seeking the epitome of formulaic progressive metal, look no further. I generally don't like constant double bass pedaling, and this album is loaded with it, as though it is a compulsory technique. Chugging guitar makes an appearance in every track, as though there is no other way to craft a powerful rhythm. The lead instruments shred as though it is a constant requirement for the genre. The whole album reeks of triteness, to be frank. On the plus side, the vocals are clear, and the production is excellent. In terms of arrangement, there are moments of sheer brilliance. What makes this album terribly frustrating is that it combines all the hackneyed elements of progressive metal with some exceptionally creative morsels. Overall, I would compare this to Dream Theater's Images & Words, which I am sure the members of this band (and progressive metal fans in general) would take as an enormous compliment, so perhaps my evaluation of this album should be taken with a grain of salt (or the whole Morton company).

"Weak and Sober" Riddled with cliché, both musically (pedestrian pentatonic runs and banal chugging rhythms) and lyrically (lines of angst like, "I'm sick of all this [&*!#]"), this opener somewhat failed to impress me, except to say that is has plenty of variety packed into it, and I really love how tight the band is, especially in transitioning from one segment to the next.

"Open Scars" A rapid-fire riff serves as the basis for light synthesizer, followed by thicker instrumentation and a great guitar theme. It has occasional growling, which seems to work as a heavier contrast to the clear singing. The express rhythms are impressive, but sound mechanical, although the soloing is quite pleasing.

"Thirteen" Additional thudding and guitar, with a good lead (throughout), gives way to vocals over piano, although the rest of the song is heavy and constant.

"As Goodwill Falls" Here is a neat blending of metal and symphonic tendencies, although metal remains the dominant genre. The guitar solo is impressive on a technical level, although for me it seems like shredding for shredding's sake (a common vice, I'd say).

"Undisclosed" With regard to overdone metal staples, this one has them in spades. The instrumental section, however, is one of the most brilliant moments on the album.

"Something Vile" Something vile? Not at all- just something stale, as there's plenty of formulaic progressive metal here than I care to write about. Again, there's a few good moments peppered throughout, but they are overwhelmed by the cookie-cutter nature that pervades the track.

"Whistle for the Dead" For once, the metal clichés work to the advantage of the piece, which has an intriguing polyrhythm in the middle and some more varied instrumentation here and there.

"The Pawn" Predictably, there is a very quiet song that serves as the shortest track on the album by far. Over piano and clean guitar however, the vocals are unnecessarily and ineffectively harsh, although the last minute or so invokes some fairly creative and melodic electric guitar work.

"Left for Dead" Piano gives way to heavier instrumentation, and it would seem this is the most inspired song on the album, particularly with its use of the piano. This song has such wonderful sonic diversity while remaining amazingly coherent- it forces me to wonder why more of the album were not more like this. This piece does show what overwhelming music Down Below is capable of.

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