The cross of the south hails from the not really southern Québec, so Canada, and had been founded in 2001 by David Lizotte (vocals/guitars), Frédéric St-Onge (drums) and Jean-Francois Boudreault (bass). The five tracker “Rise Above“ now is SOUTHERN CROSS’ debut and despite their origin the five guys have a pretty European sound, which sits somewhere between Melodic and Power Metal with at times pretty strong use of keyboard, together with the high, but thankfully and surprisingly not extremely high voice of David Lizotte (for some reason I had expected a full high pitched onslaught in the style of the “old” Italians).
And despite the a bit unbalanced production the Canadians reveal potential, as they quite successfully try to avoid the biggest style cliffs, like through some heavier guitars, use of piano and a little less “happy” passages, even though SOUTHERN CROSS’ songs will still send all Power Metal haters running with ease.
Thankfully the band sets out with an intro (yes, even on EPs this “plague” has struck) with “Slave To The Game“ and combines straight Power Metal with some tempo and mood changes, including a very well placed acoustic passages, while the following “Never Dare Say (Memories)“, despite some double-bass-driven passages, stays away a bit from the typical Power Metal and has a nicely subtle melody. “A Night On The Edge“ stands a bit closer to the “old world’s” Power Metal, but well done and very catchy indeed.
As mentioned before, they show potential, even though it becomes just as obvious that quite some work still lies ahead of them, especially in terms of production. They show the will and also skills to break away from the usual Power Metal clichés and incorporate some of their own ideas, for now only a moderate recommendation, I’d rather wait for a full album, but if you like your Power Metal European, give them a listen. (Online September 19, 2005)