Shortly after 2013 and from out of the residue of a band called ‘Unitopia’ keyboardist Sean Timms emerged with a portfolio of musical suggestions and interesting ideas. Facing the prospect of all this material going to waste he set about assembling ‘Southern Empire’ a new band in which to improve, expand, refine, record and exhibit the music to international audiences of progressive rock persuasion. 2016 saw the band’s first album release and one which which captured the imagination of the worlds progressive fraternity.
Winding forward to 2018 the band now consolidated as strong working unit have produced their second album entitled ‘Civilization’ which is the subject of this review.
Like a gigantic melting pot ‘Southern Empire’ have absorbed and attractively mixed together just about every elemental facet of what could be construed as progressive rock and its multiple sub-genres. In fact this album could be considered as a preverbal A-Z of this entre musical category. Four lengthy tracks to encaptivate the listener one of which that exceeds thirty minutes. But of course length isn’t everything, for within the structure of each track there has been integrated many different symphonic movements, oodles of stimulating time changes, shifts in musical direction all of which can be summed up as orchestral perfection.
Everything about this album spells out ‘class’, with its superb production wonderful instrumentation, beautifully composed melodic passages , exceedingly challenging layered instrumental arrangements all full of delightfully complicated interchanges between the various lead instruments. The vocals from Danny Lopresto are unbelievably good, perfect in fact and the various sections of two and three part harmonies are a total delight. It is an album that reaches out and saturates all of your all of your emotions with pure delight. It is an album to cherish and enjoy.
Whilst it is probably unfair to pick out and give special reference to any one of the fabulous musicians in this band but there is no doubt that Sean Timms is an absolute genius, a wonderful talent his keyboard contributions being the absolute cornerstone to the whole production. But in ‘Southern Empire’ Australia can pride themselves in having a band equally as good, if not better, than all of the other giants of this genre including Dream Theatre, IQ, Transatlantic, Karnivool, Steven Wilson and many more.
Summary: An easy five star album, wonderful in every respect. A must have slice of Progressive Rock Art for every aficionado of this genre.
Artwork: A delightful well considerd packaged creation
1. Goliaths Moon.
2. Cries For The Lonely.
4. Innocence and Fortune
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