SOUTHERN EMPIRE – Another World (2023) *HQ*

SOUTHERN EMPIRE - Another World (2023) *HQ* - full

SOUTHERN EMPIRE has made a name for themselves over the last several years, and they are back with their new album, “Another World“, that features a new singer, Shaun Holton (Projected Twin, The Voice Australia ).
Australia always deliver quality rock music, SOUTHERN EMPIRE isn’t an exception. The band plays a modern prog rock with plenty of melody, technical instrumentals, gracious choruses, and even some surprisingly heavy moments. One of the things I like about their music is that they balance heaviness with ambience and darkness with, I daresay, happiness.
Think a mix of Dream Theater, Sons Of Apollo, Marillion, Tresseract, with clean lead vocals and multi-part harmonies. They also give various instruments, such as saxophone and flute, their due time and room in the mix, and so the whole package sounds illustrious and classy, but it also rocks hard.

“Another World” is the showcase for SOUTHERN EMPIRE impressive chops.
Shaun sings his heart out; he really reaches and hits some amazing notes, and his signature timbre is on full display. I would also highlight Cam Blokland’s guitars for having such a perfect crunch, and Jez’s voluptuous bass and Brody’s intricate drumming that are such characters in this story. Sean Timms’s keys, too, hover over it all, like the morning dawn, and there are a few piercing synth solos that feed my love for such a thing.

There are highlights all over the place here. Opener “Reaching Out” is the shortest track, a song format heavy progressive rocker with a bouncy and maybe gushing vibe that takes you by surprise every time
“Face the Dawn” has plenty of heavier moments and has such deep personality, and Shaun sounds fantastic. It does not feel twelve minutes long.
“Hold On To Me” comes next, and is one of the most sing-able songs on the record, almos pop-rock at places, at others Melodic Rock. I believe it is a duet between Cam and Shaun, and the contrast between their voices makes it sound amazing, in addition to the chorus being truly memorable and emotional.

The last four tracks do not let up on quality. ‘When You Return” is such a cool track with its groovy vibe and driving guitars, and I even love the narration in the second half. “Moving Through Tomorrow” is a tribute to the famous poem Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night by Dylan Thomas, and possibly of the movie Interstellar, which used that poem liberally. The lyrics quote it, but it comes off as completely natural, and the breezy chorus is a terrific extension of that.

The last two tracks are quite different from each other. “White Shadows” is an epic that has plenty to offer in its various transitions. I love the flute and sax touches on this one. This expansive track is cinematic and a truly great song.
The closer, “Butterfly”, is much more reserved. It is mostly an acoustic sort of track with Cam on vocals. It feels precious, for lack of a better word, and it is a beautiful ending.

I’m pretty sure that if you never heard SOUTHERN EMPIRE with “Another World” you’ll become a fan. It’s melodic, progressive, with many twists, some hard rocking guitars, even melodic rock passages.
I love this sound, and Shaun Holton’s voice results a great addition to the band. “Another World” has such zest and life within it that it becomes simply infectious. It’s almost impossible not to love it to some degree.
Highly Recommended


01. Reaching Out (4:18)
02. Face the Dawn (12:44)
03. Hold On to Me (6:30)
04. When You Return (6:13)
05. Moving Through Tomorrow (10:24)
06. White Shadows (19:25)
07. Butterfly (4:23)

Shaun Holton – vocals
Cam Blokland – guitars, vocals
Sean Timms – keyboards, vocals
Jez Martin – bass
Brody Green – drums, vocals
Danny Lopresto – vocals
Adam Page, Marek Arnold – saxophone
Steve Unruh – violin, flute



You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.