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Review: Southern Cross - Down Below
Southern Cross
Down Below

Label: Independent
Year released: 2009
Duration: 48:44
Tracks: 9
Genre: Progressive Power Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: June 6, 2010
Reviewed by: PowerMetal59
Readers Rating
Down Below

Rated 3.3/5 (66%) (10 Votes)

The origins of Southern Cross began back in 2000 when David Lizotte, Jean-Francois Boudreault and Frederick St Onge joined forces to form a Quebec-based tribute band, and from there Oliver Perrier-Maurel and Jean-Benoit Lemire joined forces to round out the lineup. The new lineup performed several shows including a set while opening for Edguy in Montreal in 2004. The band's debut, the independently produced Rise Above hit the market in 2005, once again followed by numerous concerts in both Montreal and Quebec City, opening for such stalwart metal acts as Kamelot, Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius and Yngwie Malmsteen. Shortly thereafter the band began writing material for what would become their follow-up album Down Below.

With their sophomore effort Southern Cross come straight at you with their unabashed brand of dark laden heavy Power Metal with a sprinkling of progressive influences. As a suggestion I would strongly encourage fans of Angel Dust to snatch this bad boy up without undue delay as David Lizotte's expressive vocals strike a subtle similarity with Dirk Thurish, but coyly shy away from being just a cheap imitation. As a whole Down Below is heavy, very heavy, with thick muscular riffs leading the way, but what really separates Down Below from the remainder of the generic Power Metal field is its diversity. Straying clear from "happy"-based metal, Down Below contains within its expansive, diverse body of work some Death Metal vocals and thrashy riffs, all of which blended brilliantly together with tasteful but not overdone progressive touches which include some classy keyboard work. Aside from the Angel Dust comparison other influences which can be detected due to the strong and heavy dark metal atmosphere are Evergrey and also subtle hints of Dream Theater from both a vocal and instrumental point of view. The production is sonically explosive, thus providing a stark contrast for those who may be familiar with the debut.

If you are into Power Metal loaded with originality then Southern Cross may be for you. If this hook-filled opus is any indication, the future looks bright for these young Canadians. They have made a deep enough impression to earn them a place on my radar screen. Highly Recommended!

Other related information on the site
Review: Down Below (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
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