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Southern Empire biography
Founded in Adelaide, Australia in 2014

SOUTHERN EMPIRE was formed by Sean TIMMS after the breakup of the highly acclaimed (at ProgArchives) group, UNITOPIA.

Influenced by the likes of DREAM THEATER, IQ, TRANSATLANTIC, KARNIVOOL and Steven WILSON, SOUTHERN EMPIRE bring a harder, more edgy sound to their music whilst displaying a knack for catchy songs and great melodic hooks.

Their debut, self-titled album, released in 2016, achieves the above goal with memorable melodies and lyrics, infused with challenging prog adornments and virtuoso performances.

The present lineup is:
Danny LOPRESTO - Lead Vocals / Guitar
Cam BLOKLAND - Guitar / Vocals
Brody GREEN - Drums / Vocals
Jez MARTIN - Bass / Vocals
Sean TIMMS - Keyboards / Vocals / Saxophone / Lap Steel Guitar

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Giant Electric Pea 2018
Southern EmpireSouthern Empire
Giant Electric Pea 2016
Southern Empire by Southern Empire (2014-10-21)Southern Empire by Southern Empire (2014-10-21)
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SOUTHERN EMPIRE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.88 | 82 ratings
Southern Empire
4.11 | 75 ratings

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

4.00 | 2 ratings
Live @ HQ 22nd May 2016

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Civilisation by SOUTHERN EMPIRE album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.11 | 75 ratings

Southern Empire Crossover Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars A really comfortable album offered by this Aussie prog rockers. SOUTHERN EMPIRE are headed, or at least founded by experienced musician Sean Timms, who is also known for playing with the band Unitopia, amongst other collaborations. Seemingly their passion is to elaborate extended songs, no matter what. I mean, basically it's not a problem to offer a 30 minute rock music suite. But this without running into boredem and aimlessness at any one time? And so I'm really enjoying the album from the first to the last minute. When listening you will have other known bands at hand for a reference quickly, some glimpses, influences can't be denied, no question.

New young bands probably will prefer being compared to respected artists, could be helpful for gathering some reputation. Not necessary in this case. Concerning so much richness to detect the list would take half the review maybe. Well, nevertheless, this is a unique case, due to a very special outfit being shaped, while skillfully combining different styles, as there are neo prog, heavy art rock, jazz, folk, AOR, metal aso. And well crafted compositions are vital, on top of it a virtuoso execution is given to make it rounded. Now the last hurdle solely would be to reserve enough time for this gem, okay?

Danny Lopresto is serving very good lead vocals. On one hand somewhat AOR close in the vein of Bob Catley, Danny Bowes or maybe Mike Tramp. But then also more charming when it comes to the neo and art rock parts. Not to forget, furthermore, often demanded musician and producer Steve Unruh and german prog iconic figure Marek Arnold have been invited for some decorative adds via violin, flute and saxophone. The aforementioned long track might be emphasized as the ultimate highlight. Definitely a monster epic including multiple faces, nearly being out of equal. Recommended! 'Civilisation' delivers 70 minutes of intricate and highly melodic stuff - 4.5 stars.

 Civilisation by SOUTHERN EMPIRE album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.11 | 75 ratings

Southern Empire Crossover Prog

Review by David64T

4 stars For my first review on Prog Archives, I think it's only proper to put virtual pen to virtual paper and contribute a review of a release by one of the few "prog"bands that is based in my own home town of Adelaide, here in Australia.

Civilisation is the second album released by the Adelaide-based band Southern Empire.

After a disconcerting false start to the first song (several bars of what resembles a very scratchy gramophone record), the album gets off to a punchy start with Goliath's Moon, a well-crafted song written by guitarist Cam Blokland - over it's 9 minute- plus length, this song detours into some significant guitar pyrotechnics before returning to the well-crafted chorus, which becomes something of an earworm after a couple of listens.

The remaining four songs offer the sound of Southern Empire stretching their legs into more diverse musical territory and styles. Cries for the lonely stretches out to 19 plus minutes but doesn't outlast it's welcome.

The centrepiece of the album is Crossroads, which shares considerable musical and lyrical overlap with the song Travelling Man (The Story Of ESHU) as recorded by United Progressive Fraternity; UPF is the "other" band that, like Southern Empire, can trace it's ancestry to the earlier talented Adelaide band, Unitopia. Crossroads, like "The Bridge That Binds" (from the first SE album), twists and turns throughout it's 29 minute length through a range of styles and atmospheres from world music to a heavier onslaught; like "The Bridge That Binds", I find I can listen to it over and over again without losing interest.

Innocence & Fortunewraps up the album with yet another 9 minute-plus song that I've also found lasts up to repeated listening.

In a nutshell, this album is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys the music of bands such as Spock's Beard and IQ in particular, and of course Unitopia, with distinct - but not overwhelming - detours into progressive metal. More specifically, if you enjoyed the first, eponymous, album by Southern Empire, it is extremely likely that you will also enjoy this second musical expedition by SE; I think it's fair to say that Civilisation offers a continuity of approach but with diverse song-writing that never left me thinking that I was listening to "Southern Empire v.2". If you're not familiar with SE, I'd recommend that you give both their albums a listen.

A Rating of a strong 4 - this being my first review, I am not sure that I will ever give any album a rating of 5, apart from the known shortlist of "masterpieces of progressive rock music" (DSOTM, TAAB, CTTE, etc)

 Live @ HQ 22nd May 2016 by SOUTHERN EMPIRE album cover Live, 2017
4.00 | 2 ratings

Live @ HQ 22nd May 2016
Southern Empire Crossover Prog

Review by ScarRitual

4 stars Stunned was I. Stunning this album is.Rich and catchy melodies, virtuosic performances, heavenly choruses, tight and complex rhythms intertwined with deep in the pocket grooves, crystal clear well balanced mix. Stunned and conquered am I. Truth be told i never listened to Unitopia but thankfully this project arose from the ashes of that project. There is a Saga influence that stands out quite clearly, which I find delightful.

The rhythm section is superb. Love the lead vocals and background vocals. Keys are omnipresent and quite good, while the guitar is never overbearing despite being given many opportunities to shine by maestro Sean Timms.4.499(9) stars.

 Southern Empire by SOUTHERN EMPIRE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.88 | 82 ratings

Southern Empire
Southern Empire Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Australian band SOUTHERN EMPIRE is a fairly recent project, instigated by composer and musician Sean Timms shortly after his former band Unitopia disbanded. For this new venture he has sought out proven quality musicians with a fairly varied background to continue exploring the progressive rock genre, and their self-titled debut album was released by noted UK label Giant Electric Pea in the spring of 2016.

One of the striking features of Southern Empire is how they don't really sound like a progressive rock band actually. If you listen to the music with half an ear only the main details you'll mainly take note of is that the compositions by and large are fairly vocal driven, accessible and compelling throughout, and without too many of the intricate instrument details you tend to expect when listening to a band labeled as progressive rock one way or the other. Of course, when you start listening closer it does become rather obvious why progressive rock is the only fitting description for the music of this band, and it's not only due to one of the compositions being an almost 30 minutes long, multiple sectioned suite that this genre description has been chosen.

My main impression is that Yes is a good place to start when describing this band. 80's era Yes that is, alongside the Yes but not in name project Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman & Howe towards the end of that decade. While not a dominating aspect of the music of Southerm Empire, certain recurring keyboard sounds and movements are comparable within this context, as are some of the tasteful and elegant vocal harmonies that appears here and there throughout. One might say that this aspect of this album is a commonly recurring feature rather than a red thread throughout though, as Southern Empire is about a lot more than this as well, and unlike the aforementioned possible influences the style here is actually a bit further removed from symphonic progressive rock as well.

Other recurring aspects of this album, and by and large more common as well, are gentler atmospheric laden passages more in line with late 80's neo progressive rock bands, and then most commonly alternating with and tied into harder edged passages sporting more powerful guitar and keyboards driven passages with a more distinct melodic hard rock sound, bordering melodic metal at times. Powerful and majestic, and less elaborate and quirky in execution than what you would expect from a progressive rock band. Or, as others might describe it, more accessible. Occasional details with a slight exotic or folk music tinge to them appears as well, and in the second half of this production interludes that takes the songs into jazz and jazzrock-oriented territories becomes a common and recurring feature as well, which expands the scope and depth of this CD quite a bit as well.

The quality, highly appealing lead vocals of Danny Lopresto is the most striking feature, and most likely what most will recall when reflecting on this album on first inspection, and the at times gorgeous vocal harmonies probably coming in at a close second. But there's ample room here also for elongated instrumental sections and solo runs of various kinds. Those who fancy striking, dramatic keyboard solo runs, blazing guitar soloing and combinations of those will find plenty to recall and enjoy as well. That there's also room for delicate saxophone motifs and elongated wandering piano runs is also something that should please listeners, especially those with a general taste for progressive rock I suspect.

Southern Empire comes across as a high quality band that have chosen to explore a rather broadly appealing variety of progressive rock, with room for sophisticated instrument sections and the occasional jazzrock oriented run just as much as for driving, energetic and vibrant melodic hard rock sections, in between more careful and atmospheric laden passages closer to neo-progressive rock. While rather different than both of them, I would suspect on a general basis that fans of bands such as Magic Pie and Spock's Beard might be something of a key audience for this band, and presumably quite a few of Unitopia's fans will also experience this album as a worthwhile experience.

 Southern Empire by SOUTHERN EMPIRE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.88 | 82 ratings

Southern Empire
Southern Empire Crossover Prog

Review by 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.

Thanks to evolver for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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