SOUTHERN EMPIRE

(AUSTRALIA)

ANOTHER WORLD

(2023)
LABEL:

GIANT ELECTRIC PEA

GENRE:

PROGRESSIVE ROCK

TAGS:
Epic
"Despite the presence of excellent musicians and impeccable production, Southern empire has confused eclecticism with dispersion."
ABADDON (06.12.2023)  
2/5
(0) opinions (0) comment(s) (1) Biography + (2)
The third album from the Australians of Southern Empire (a band created by Sean Timms after the Unitopia split), "Another World" features the same (neat) aesthetic on its cover, for an a priori tempting content: only seven tracks, including an epic of almost 20 minutes, a habit with this combo attached to convoluted tracks.

However, it's not the progressive aspect that jumps out at you. There's a dominant melodic hard rock aspect to "Another World", unfortunately without much originality, with "Reaching Out" displaying a catalog of the genre's clichés from the outset. 'Face the Dawn' is reminiscent of Kansas' Elefante period (not the best), 'When You Return' has a funky Bon Jovi feel, and their guitar solos are much more about demonstration than emotion. The two ballads, 'Hold On To Me' and 'Butterfly', are insipidly banal, and the performance of newcomer Shaun Holton at the microphone does little to enhance the whole. In place and very accurate, but often overpowering in the quiet passages and lacking presence in the more emphatic sectors, he remains confined to a standard pop register...

The listener thinks he can take comfort in the album's epic track. 'White Shadows' is an all-in-one-piece where Sean Timms seems to have wanted to compact everything he likes. What he ends up with is a big, incoherent set-piece where the piano concerto cohabits with the (filthy) electro transition, progressive flights in odd bars, uninspired Haken-style metal passages, a Camel-like lull with flute, a totally incongruous free jazz section... It may be virtuoso, but it's not all that brilliant, as the listener struggles to get to grips with this overly heterogeneous mix. It's a pity, because by eliminating the metal and jazz parts, we could have produced a more comprehensible track.

Fortunately, there's the ten minutes of 'Moving Through Tomorrow'... well, the last seven minutes, as the beginning loses itself in a weighing metric with a huge riff on the chorus. The rest of the song delivers a nice progressive evolution, with a nice synth solo (at last!) that reconciles the listener with the band.

Finally, "Another World" lives up to its name: Southern Empire has taken us into a world quite different from the symphonic progressive to which he was attached (but not only). Perhaps Sean Timms chose to please his fellow musicians and let go of the reins when Unitopia's remarkable "Seven Chambers" was released, but despite the presence of excellent musicians (Steve Unruh, Marek Arnold) and impeccable production, he has confused eclecticism with dispersion here.
- Official website

TRACK LISTING:
01. Reaching Out
02. Face The Dawn
03. Hold On To Me
04. When You Return
05. Moving Through Tomorrow
06. White Shadows
07. Butterfly

LINEUP:
Brody Green: Batterie
Cam Blokland: Guitares
Jez Martin: Basse
Sean Timms: Claviers
Shaun Holton: Chant
   
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SOUTHERN EMPIRE: Another World
 
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