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CROSSOVER PROG

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Crossover Prog definition

Crossover Prog contains progressive rock music that, though 100% progressive, may have a musical connection to popular music-- whether it be the lack of emphasis on extended compositions, or an influence from mainstream music in addition to classical, jazz and folk. Compositions, however, still exhibit a high degree of sophistication, sometimes outright complexity, and the musicianship and virtuosity is often on a par with established Prog acts. Much like their kin in the established prog sub-genres, these groups will incorporate many major parts of what defines prog rock: the fusing of rock with the structures and discipline of more traditional musics, the use of syntheisizers and new technologies, intelligent thematics, and the expansion of the form.

The defining characteristics of Crossover Prog are a pop music influence that is largely vacant in typical prog rock. Songs tend toward shorter, more concise presentations though still reach beyond the typical verse, bridge, chorus pattern. The harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic structures may be more easily digested in Crossover while not losing the musical integrity that a prog listener expects. Whereas Prog Related bands are generally commercial groups with certain prog elements or players that were involved in prog acts, Crossover Prog artists are predominantly progressive with elements of popular music.

The most representative examples for this genre include The MOODY BLUES, SUPERTRAMP, DREDG, CINEMA SHOW, RADIOHEAD.

- written by micky (Michael) and Chus (Jesus)

Current Team Members as at 04/26/2015

Tom (Roland113)
Evolver (Scott)
tszirmay (Thomas)
rogerthat (Madan)

Crossover Prog Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Crossover Prog | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.33 | 1282 ratings
CRIME OF THE CENTURY
Supertramp
4.31 | 1589 ratings
THE RAVEN THAT REFUSED TO SING (AND OTHER STORIES)
Wilson, Steven
4.32 | 1040 ratings
OMMADAWN
Oldfield, Mike
4.32 | 985 ratings
HAND. CANNOT. ERASE.
Wilson, Steven
4.23 | 830 ratings
DOOMSDAY AFTERNOON
Phideaux
4.20 | 1448 ratings
GRACE FOR DROWNING
Wilson, Steven
4.20 | 832 ratings
ENGLISH ELECTRIC (PART ONE)
Big Big Train
4.20 | 722 ratings
PETER GABRIEL (3 - "MELT")
Gabriel, Peter
4.21 | 451 ratings
~
iamthemorning
4.18 | 724 ratings
SNOWTORCH
Phideaux
4.17 | 597 ratings
THE UNDERFALL YARD
Big Big Train
4.16 | 648 ratings
DAYS OF FUTURE PASSED
Moody Blues, The
4.41 | 87 ratings
SHINY EYED BABIES
Bent Knee
4.19 | 269 ratings
ONES & ZEROS: VOL. 1
3RDegree
4.13 | 648 ratings
ENGLISH ELECTRIC (PART TWO)
Big Big Train
4.12 | 510 ratings
NIGHT
Gazpacho
4.23 | 136 ratings
THE SHAMING OF THE TRUE
Gilbert, Kevin
4.21 | 144 ratings
LOVE REMAINS THE SAME
Von Hertzen Brothers
4.11 | 328 ratings
HOUNDS OF LOVE
Bush, Kate
4.12 | 290 ratings
SPIRIT OF EDEN
Talk Talk

Crossover Prog overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Crossover Prog experts team

FOLKLORE
Pez
GENERAL WINTER'S SECRET MUSEUM
Tea Club, The
PRE-EMPTIVE FALSE RAPTURE
Chrome Hoof
BROKEN CHINA
Wright, Richard

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Latest Crossover Prog Music Reviews


 Shiny Eyed Babies by BENT KNEE album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.41 | 87 ratings

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Shiny Eyed Babies
Bent Knee Crossover Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

2 stars After seeing an album with such few ratings (86) creep into the top 100, I was intrigued. Surely this must be an INCREDIBLE album to garner a rating even higher than albums as coveted as "Red", "Animals" or "Fragile"! Unfortunately, after several listens, I've been deceived.

I suppose that Bent Knee can be seen as a modern day Van Der Graaf Generator. It seems that most fellow reviewers have been commenting on the lead female vocals. Personally, they have a Hammill-esque marmite effect on me; some seem to adore it, I feel like my ears are being gouged an hour. The singer's voice, and its subtly grating quality, combined with the generally dark subject matter and generic sounding "metal-prog" instrumental accompaniment that seems to be the rage nowadays (you know which one I mean; put on just about any celebrated prog album of the 2010's) make for an album that I really don't care to listen to again in the future. If you enjoy Van Der Graaf Generator and darker prog, or if you like the sort of metal-ish sound that I described earlier, then this may be right up your alley. But personally I can't bring myself to give this above 2 stars.

 Maps of Non-Existent Places by THANK YOU SCIENTIST album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.00 | 93 ratings

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Maps of Non-Existent Places
Thank You Scientist Crossover Prog

Review by marcobrusa

3 stars After the first two songs the bombastic arrangements become exhausting. The band shows great potential though, then can play many different styles. However, i think they make an abuse of heavy guitars and fast rhythmic patterns. I think i can explain why i like them but at the same time they are a little unbearable: they sound like The Mars Volta with the high pitched voice and the fast tempos, but much more musical and genuine. The arrangements sometimes are too much. No need to use violin for accompanying for example. It's weird, sometimes the instrumentation works great but sometimes not. There are no pianos nor keyboards right? So they put 3 melodic instruments (violin, sax, trumpet) to "replace" the old classic keyboards and piano we are used to in this progressive rock we like. 3.something stars. They sound very very loud so be careful!
 A Salty Dog by PROCOL HARUM album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.55 | 199 ratings

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A Salty Dog
Procol Harum Crossover Prog

Review by ses

4 stars Captain heavy-hearted and his men welcome you to a doleful journey among weeping seamen and crying Valkyries, in this album on life at sea.

Before the release of "A salty dog", Procol Harum already had accomplished enough to earn their place in the history books. With a worldwide hit single and a ground breaking 17-minute rock suite in their baggage, bandleader Gary Brooker and his fellow musicians manage to redefine themselves with this 1969 classic.

The sound here mixes a wide variety of influences; from the bluesy feel in "The milk of human kindness" and "Juicy John Pink", to the orchestrated grandiose on "Wreck of the Hesperus". Maracas, flutes and xylophones lark on "Boredom", with the playground touch predating The Cures "Close to me" by nearly two decades.

Despite the nautical theme, the tone of the album is in many ways similar to The Bands self-titled masterpiece released the same year; the melancholy and Gary Brookers voice isn't that far away from the Americana in songs as "The unfaithful servant". Procol Harum does not however reach to the same heights as the rich and lush song writing their Canadian counterparts delivers. Album finisher "Pilgrim's progess" is merely a? paler version of "A whiter shade of pale". And the heavenly sensations of the title track (which by no doubt is one of the best songs of the 60's) make the rest of the offering look bleak.

To me, this is the peak of Procol Harums career. "A salty dog" sometimes sails on calm sea, but when the tides arrive, it is well worth the listen.

 Pieces Of The Unknown by UTU album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Pieces Of The Unknown
UTU Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars Already five weeks since my last PA review! Well, I've been very busy with my book script on Finnish prog all-time, but anyway I'm continuing my reviewing activity here - especially on new releases whenever I get them.

This one is the second album of UTU, a Finnish art/alt-pop group led by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Petra Poutanen, also known as a member in the ethnic group AALTO . With only slight differences in line-up and instrumentation, Pieces of the Unknown continues in the vein of Songs in Flesh-minor (2012). Poutanen is a personal, modern female singer-songwriter comparable to e.g. Bj'rk or Regina Spektor, her smoky voice full of girlish sensitivity. The songs are, again, in a minor key and sort of introvert in spirit, as if the protagonist was a social outcast watching the sad world from a distance. Without a deeper dive into the lyrics I can't say if this image has anything to do with the artist's own intention.

On vague listening the album probably feels quite monotonous, joyless and too artsy for its own good. There may not be very memorable melodies, and the rather dry, ethnically flavoured sound featuring uncommon Instruments such as kantele, electric cello, viola -- and guzheng and sansula of which I have no clue -- rarely gives any easy hooks. But the more one concentrates on this music, the more rewarding it gets.

The dark-toned strings are effective on 'Safest Place', and Teemu kiiskil''s spatial guitar chords are beautifully interwoven with other Instruments on 'Skin' (which is inspired by novelist Monika Fagerholm). The 8-minute 'My Friend Sorrow' is the most progressive and dynamic composition. As a whole this album is emotionally strong and original music for dedicated listening. 3' stars.

 Equations of Meaning by PATTERSON - EYRE album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.21 | 43 ratings

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Equations of Meaning
Patterson - Eyre Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

4 stars Breaking news: This is NOT a "Patterson-Eyre" output! The album is clearly listed as a "Tony Patterson" project. Yes, long-time collaborator Brendan EYRE contributes to Tony's album. But only on one song. This is clearly a solo album and should be credited thusly. Equations of Meaning is a collection of lovely Neo Prog drawing from 70s ALAN PARSONS PROJECT, 80s GENESIS, and current day STEVEN WILSON with plenty of lush keyboard arrangements and ethereal vocal displays. The drum machines may drive you crazy but the songs are definitely all gorgeous, mature constructs--they will quickly dig their way into your brain and never leave--you will never want them to; they are addictive.

1. "Ghosts" (4:01) captures the quintessential sound of the gorgeous STEVE HACKETT GENESIS and solo electric guitar stylings before giving way to a more cinematic song style. Gorgeous. (9/10)

2. "The Magdalene Fields" (5:59) opens with an obvious "Entangled" GENESIS/ANTHONY PHILLIPS sound before the gorgeous AMERICA-like voice harmonies enter. The key shift down into the rather disappointing chorus are this song's only flaws. Otherwise, beautiful--especially the ethereal section beginning at 4:08. (9/10)

3. "Each Day a Colour" (4:48) opens with some gorgeous spaciness very much like the work of Steven WILSON's PORCUPINE TREE in the 1990s ("The Sky Moves Sideways" and Signify come to mind). When the band's rhythm section and vocal join in it still has a bit of the WS feel but also a kind of California dream-pop feel not unlike that of bands like PORNO FOR PYROS and WEST INDIAN GIRL. The keyboard work, chord progressions, and 'light' rhythmic approach make this another absolutely gorgeous song. (10/10)

4. "Cast Away" (2:35) again we find Tony and company masterfully replicating the STEVE HACKETT songs style when Steve is at his most melodic and intimate. Another absolutely hypnotic, dreamy gorgeous song. (9/10)

5. "The Angel and the Dreamer (i.vision, ii. journey, iii. reprise)" (7:02) feels like a long lost song from one of ALAN PARSONS PROJECT's earlier days--Pyramid or even I, Robot era--even with the ANTHONY PHILLIPS-like 12-string presence in the middle. (9/10)

6. "Beneath a Perfect Sky" (5:09) casts such a hypnotic spell of lush beauty that you may find yourself pushing the 'permanent repeat' button and lying down to sleep in a poppy field ... forever. Echo-y repeat piano chords, intermittent synth washes, Mark ISHAM-like percussive keyboard sequencing, languid drum pace, Kate Bush-like background vocal incidentals, laid back Tony Banks-ian synth soloing, even a lazy trumpet solo, all contribute to the magic here. (10/10)

7. "Sycophant" (5:23) reminds me of the cinematic work of Poland's LEBOWSKI over-lace with an intermittent Hogarth-like vocal. Pretty good song! (8/10)

8. "And When the Sky Was Opened" (2:07) could've come off of one of STEVEN WILSON's spacier 1990s albums. Really cool. I'd love to hear a 10 to 20 minute version of this. (10/10)

9. "Pilgrim" (5:24) another hypnotic technologically created beat (quite similar to that of STEVEN WILSON's song from Hand. Cannot. Erase., "Perfect Life") whose dreamy music, melodies, and vocal don't quite stand up to some of the album's other gems. But it's still great! (I love the slow, single-note piano play at the 4:00 mark. Very dreamy!) (8/10)

10. "As the Lights Go Out" (2:44) is a pretty little piano-based song embellished by the occasional contributions of synths and flutes. (9/10)

11. "The Kindest Eyes" (6:30) again replicates the beautiful harmony vocal stylings that were so perfectly perfected by AMERICA in the early 1970s--but Tony here does only that: replicates; he offers nothing new, exciting, special or innovative. It's just okay, maybe even a little disappointing for its lack of buildup or climax. It would never be a radio hit in the way that AMERICA songs were. (7/10)

4.5 stars; a near masterpiece of progressive rock music. This is without a doubt a collection of very beautiful, well composed songs. In fact, this is one of the most beautiful collections of beautiful songs I've come across in a long time. Astounding and spell-binding.

 Shiny Eyed Babies by BENT KNEE album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.41 | 87 ratings

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Shiny Eyed Babies
Bent Knee Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Imagine you take a vocalist like Christina Wolfe or Jarboe - someone who really isn't afraid to get into some seriously dark areas, but is also capable of singing quite beautifully as the mood demands. Add modern-day keyboard mastery, and then put her in front of the most bizarre and sonically diverse bands in rock music since Mr Bungle, and you have something that might approach the outrageous rollercoaster ride that Bent Knee offer up here.

Don't let the pretty album title - or, for that matter, the charming intro that shares its name - fool you for a second: just as you think Bent Knee are going to ease up on you, they go for the kneecaps again, creating an alternatingly intoxicating and terrifying sonic landscape. This album makes Disco Volante by Mr Bungle (the closest sonic comparison I can come up with), with all of its extremes, seem like a walk in the park - and that's before you even consider the lyrics. In some of the most beautiful moments of the album, frontwoman Courtney Swain is singing to a corpse.

 The Illusion's Reckoning by MANTRA VEGA album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.53 | 22 ratings

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The Illusion's Reckoning
Mantra Vega Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

5 stars This has been a truly surprising find for me. I know most of the members of this "band" (Heather Findlay, Dave Kerzner, Alex Cromarty, Chris Johnson, and Dave Kilminster) as well as the supplemental contributors (Troy Donockley, Irene, and Arjen Lucassen) but never have I enjoyed any of them as well as I do on this album, in this presnetation of music. It's as if these seasoned prog rockers have stripped down all of their music to the barest of constructs and forms. The end result is stunningly beautiful, breathtakingly simple, deeply engaging and hauntingly memorable. I found myself utterly astonished--moved to my core--with the discovery of each and every song. I couldn't wait to start over from the beginning once it was over!

1. "Every Corner" opens the album in a totally surprising way--beautiful music with Heather Findlay talking over it-- very much like STEVEN WILSON's "Perfect Life" from 2015's Hand. Cannot. Erase. And it works! Well! What a way to open the album! (9/10)

2. "Island" (5:53) (9/10) and especially its reprise, 9. "Island (reprise)" (1:42) (10/10) are gems straight out of the KATE BUSH playbook.

3. "Veil of Ghosts" (6:48) is the most musically complex, heavy and uptempo song on the album (if you can believe that)--and it's "low" point (though it has some truly magical parts--like the double keyboard solos beginning around the three minute mark). (8/10)

4. "Lake Sunday" (6:10) is just as simple and lazy as you might expect from this title. Heather Findlay's vocal in the opening verse gives the song it's country/Linda Rondstadt "Blue Bayou" feel but as soon as the chorus enters it shifts. (8/10)

5. "Mountain Spring" (6:09) comes at you like a great Joni Mitchell or Christoffer GUNRUP/THE AMAZING song. And then the Mellotrons and chorus hit--it's awesome! CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG heaven! Flutes, muted lead electric guitar a la Stephen Stills. Wonderful! (10/10)

6. "In a Dream" (5:20) opens with spacey background keyboard washes and reversed notes of electric guitar before giving way to Celtic flute and strummed acoustic strings and Heather Findlay's folkish vocal. With Troy Donockley's flute play, piano, and anthemic adult & children's choral support, this turns into quite a powerful song--with the message that "we are made of star light." Quite a RENAISSANCE feel to this one, as well. (9/10)

7. "Learning to Be Light" (5:03) is gorgeous in a FLEETWOOD MAC/Stevie NICKS way, hauntingly beautiful in a TOBY DRIVER way. (10/10)

8. "I've Seen Your Star" (6:00) is gorgeously delicate like something from an old SHAKTI (gentle John McLaughlin guitar style) or JAN GARBAREK (wooden flutes) or even K.D. LANG (vocal) album. (10/10)

10. "The Illusion's Reckoning" (9:54) has vocal moments that remind me of the ascendant moments of LULU's amazing 1967 rendering of "To Sir With Love" and others like KATE BUSH in at her absolute best--which is all enabled by the simple musical constructs around and behind her. Heather's amazing vocal melodies are supported throughout by absolutely crushingly beautiful instrumental and choral chords. Brilliant solos from keys in the fifth and ninth minutes. This gorgeous song makes the album end on such a high! Awesome! I am in heaven! (10/10)

I want to make a special comment here: I have never been much of a fan of Heather Findlay's vocals--they just never grabbed me. Until now. The song style used here is the absolute perfect winning formula for her talents: not mixed within the music but isolated above and in front of the minimally constructed instrumental music. Also, because of the chordal structures and keyboard dominance, this album is a real delight for all you Kevin Moore/CHROMA KEY fans.

Though this is an album of kind of pop-oriented simple melodic music, it is rendered proggy by the amazing cast of seasoned prog veterans. They have simplified their musical delivery but done it in such a refined and masterful was as to still have created wonderful music for the progressive rock fanatic.

Five stars; a masterpiece of progressive rock music.

 Hope for a Mourning by MICE ON STILTS album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.75 | 10 ratings

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Hope for a Mourning
Mice On Stilts Crossover Prog

Review by shaunch

5 stars I have decided to write a short review to support the work of NZ band Mice on Stilts. I love prog and have realised that I am not in the best place in the world to experience my passion, except from a distance. Well, I have to say these guys should open the ears of many a Kiwi and should be a must listen for all you prog lovers out there!

This is a step up in my opinion. I enjoyed their approach in their first effort and in particular Tuatara lawn which has a much more of a full sound and compliments the bare bones that they often display, similar to Tim Bowness. The selection of songs here displays much of this approach which I enjoy greatly. As an Englishman living in NZ I still enjoy my old pastimes such as the Football. My team Everton have just lost at Wembley so I normally turn to reflective, gloomy music to cheer me up. I tend to pick out a couple of Stevens being either Wilson or Hogarth. In this case I read a review for Mice on Stilts here and decide to give it a go. Well I was rewarded with exactly the experience I was looking for and more. The sound is rich, minimal at times, different but in a good way with their use of instruments, such as brass, and has the rare ability to make the hairs stand up on my neck and create emotion similar to the voice of Hogarth. This was most apparent in the tracks "Kallandah", "YHWH","Funeral" and the title track where the music hits new heights and reminded me of the catchy sounds of early Coldplay without staying in that safe territory for too long before moving into more Steven Wilson like sounds found in his most recent material, mixed with a little NoMan.

I don't write reviews very often as I am not very good at them but this sort of quality music which often falls below the radar needs to be shouted about from the rooftops. I just need to get them to visit the Nelson area in the near future as I miss the live experience and have to spend massive amounts of money to satisfy my prog needs, such as Marillion weekend next year. More of a prog appreciation in NZ might encourage more bands to make the trip this way!

5 out of 5 emotional stars from me.

 The Illusion's Reckoning by MANTRA VEGA album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.53 | 22 ratings

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The Illusion's Reckoning
Mantra Vega Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Dave Kerzner AND Heather Findlay? Are you kidding me? Two of the brightest stars in Progland working together is a sublime blessing and a nearly divine revelation. The musicianship here borders on perfection, extremely expressive, technical and so very very cool. What else could one expect from such a dynamic duo, a master musician /producer of the very highest caliber whose recent solo album 'New World' raised the bar very high with a scintillating effort both musically and sonically. Pink Floyd, move over, your time has come and gone! Kerzner's work with Sound of Contact made some serious waves until Simon Collins got arrested that nearly killed his career, but Kerzner had already this project in mind , uniting with lovely and talented Heather Findlay, Mostly Autumn's original vocalist, a gem on those fine first 8 albums, almost marrying Fish and then staying away from the spotlight a tad to plan her next step. She has been touted as prog's finest female voice and a thoroughly enchanting visual presence to boot. The two are dynamite together, Kerzner surely demanding the very highest standards of excellence and Findlay more than able and willing to deliver. Surrounded by the finest UK musicians such as the magical Troy Donockley on Irish pipes, vocals and guitars whose work with Iona, Nightwish, The Enid and countless others, needs no further acclaim. Add the tremendous Dave Kilminster (who blew my mind as Steve Wilson's axeman on his latest tour) is rock solid and deadly precise. The rhythmic tandem is so tight, they may need surgery to separate them, Alex Cromarty is a first rate basher, one of those hard hitters that like to remind music fans that they rock too. Bassist Stu Fletcher is too deep in the mix but occasionally really shines brightly. Chris Johnson is the unknown to me card, knowing him from his stint in Mostly Autumn. Ayreon's Arjen Lucassen guests on the stunning title track, leading the cast of guests who provide cameo spots throughout.

Everything about this release oozes class and distinction, from the splendiferous artwork, the quality packaging and the pristine sound to the sheer excellence of the song writing, a true accomplishment of the highest order. Upon the very first listen, the qualities leap forward immediately and on a multitude of levels. Blended emotions into the poetic words, various human subjects are addressed, such as depression, hope, faith, solitude and forgiveness. Musically, there is a great amount of diversity and stylistic adventurism, each song fitting nicely in the procession, purpose and determination ruling the waves, from the misty piano-fed contemplation of the intro "Every Corner", where Heather narrates dreamily to the epic finale that gives the debut album its name. A suave "Island" is the 'single', though entirely not a commercial song, just a beautiful piece of romantic music that strikes the heart and impresses the soul , both male and female vocals in a sultry duet , shoved gently along by Cromarty's steady pulse that gives the arrangement an almost Fleetwood Mac-like feel. Kerzner provides a shimmering ivory carpet to work on, piano, organ and synths all in harmony, and crowned by a sensual guitar solo from Kilminster Lyrically, uncertainty and doubt find refuge in solitude.

The ambitious "Veil of Ghosts" showcases Heather's emotive singing style, a sincere and devout passion that knows no bounds, flying over a foundation that owes a lot to classic Led Zeppelin mostly due to Cromarty's meaty drumming. Hints of Kashmir swerve uncontrollably, with Kilminster and Donockley both providing swirling guitar pyrotechnics. A thunderous piece of moody music, indeed. Rekindling memories of classic early Mostly Autumn, "Lake Sunday" presents a massive melody expertly marshaled by Heather's seductive voice, allied to some fine guitar work from Johnson, a bluesier, more country-styled technique that fits nicely the mood. A thrillingly laid-back mid-section does wonders to the anticipation, a gentle organ flurry amid the tapping drums is a real highlight as the tune gently fades into the misty, waterlogged horizon.

"Mountain Spring" is another crest that does not fail to impress, an intoxicating slice of inquisitive musical genius, buttressed by spiking keyboards, choppy guitars and Heather's celestial vocals. Urgent, insistent and relentless, the spirit of yearning is expertly addressed and delivered. Kilminster in particular delivers quite a show on lead guitar, as the lovely Heather Findlay bellows mightily in the background. Guest Angela Goldthorpe does wonders on the recorders, edgy and desperate. The pastoral beauty of "In a Dream" is perfectly dosed to prevent any redundancy , a surprisingly fragile loveliness, both with lead voice, choir work, mandolin and the exotic south Asian flute known as bansuri taking the listener into another world, child voices adding to the fantasy.

A hushed voice and a binary beat introduces the glossy "Learning to be Light", a smoother than silk ride that does not fail to surprise and delight, giving guitarist Chris Johnson the platform to squeeze some tight notes from his instrument, a bluesy, dreamy composition that gets the job done big time. Things get really introspective and mellow on the crushingly exquisite "I've Seen Your Star", an acoustic tour de force , a tranquil universe that is simple, gorgeous and addictive, fueled by acoustic guitars, bansuri flute and Kerzner's harmonium leading the way. Sheer magic.

There is a brief reprise of the magical "Island ", in order to prep that table for the album's unmitigated high point, the tremendous 9 minute 53 second epic that gives this work its title. While some pieces here lean more towards classic rock or even classic folk, this monument is outright progressive rock, a slow cooker that is in constant ebb and flow, lyrically very profound and musically exploratory, proving unquestioningly the prowess of Heather Findlay's voice and the rather unpretentious musical foundation provided by Miami-man Dave Kerzner and his cohorts. Chris Johnson provides most of the guitar work but smartly leaves the spotlight to Arjen Lucassen to shred mightily and at length. His shimmering, slippery and jittery solo is perfect timing and delivery, adding to Dave scorching synthesizer additions. Magnificent!

An acoustic version of "Mountain Spring" is added as a bonus track, a slightly different take than previously stated, a gentler version that presents that vocal work in greater light, proving again the diversity and clean handling of quality material in the hands of gifted artists , unafraid to bridge styles and genres and craft something original, buoyant and refreshing.

Perfectly balanced, this album just maybe the revelation of 2016, a thrilling and poetic masterpiece that should conquer the prog charts as well as all the lonely hearts who yearn for sonic beauty and lyrical charm. Heather is back on top of the prog world's list of female voices to reckon with !

5 mirage estimates

 Southern Empire by SOUTHERN EMPIRE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.25 | 15 ratings

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Southern Empire
Southern Empire Crossover Prog

Review by tbstars1

2 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 should perhaps be awarding three stars. However, I deduct one for bad behaviour. Sometimes, in music, less is more: a valuable lesson.

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Crossover Prog bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
17 PYGMIES United States
1974 United States
1O1 United States
3 United Kingdom
3 LEGGED MONSTER United States
3RDEGREE United States
7TH KIND United States
90 DAY MEN United States
A.L.F. Brazil
AARDVARK United Kingdom
AARDVARK' Finland
THE AARON CLIFT EXPERIMENT United States
ABACUS Germany
ABARAX Germany
ABBFINOOSTY United Kingdom
ABIOGENESI Italy
LEE ABRAHAM United Kingdom
ABSENTE H Spain
ABSINTHE JUNK United States
ACANTHE France
ACTIVE HEED Italy
THE ADDICTION DREAM United States
THE ADVANCEMENT United States
AFTER... Poland
AGATHORN Denmark
AGRABAH Argentina
EDUARDO AGUILLAR Brazil
AHOORA Iran
AKIN France
AKROPOLIS Denmark
ALIAS EYE Germany
ALL OVER EVERYWHERE United States
ALTERNATIVE 4 United Kingdom
ALUX NAHUAL Guatemala
AMAROK Poland
AMAZING MACHINE Norway
THE AMAZING Sweden
AMITY IN FAME Austria
TORI AMOS United States
AMPERA Norway
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