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Southern Empire - Civilisation CD (album) cover

CIVILISATION

Southern Empire

 

Crossover Prog

4.00 | 238 ratings

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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)

David64T | 4/5 |

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