The Sign of the Southern Cross - I Carry The Fire Review
by Matt Hensch
Is there anyone here on planet Earth that wouldn't download a free EP? Hey, if the band's offering, why not? The Sign of the Southern Cross, an American groove metal band heavily inspired by southern rock, put "I Carry the Fire" online and downloadable for not a penny of charge, so I laughed hoarsely as it was added to my music library knowing my bank account was unblemished and proudly saluted my computer screen for this humanitarian act of charity. "I Carry the Fire," although tainted by inconsistencies on occasion, is actually a highly enjoyable release I find myself coming back to. Well, maybe that's because I enjoy southern twang in hard rock/heavy metal; bands like Down or Corrosion of Conformity see a lot of playtime. But whatever the reason, The Sign of the Southern Cross are fresh to this juxtaposition between groove metal and southern color, giving it a rare sense of clarity often unseen.
I guess I'm more inclined to truly appreciate this EP because it isn't that long; only three tracks, as a matter of fact. Originality isn't The Sign's focal point of progress, although the two hard-hitting numbers they deliver - the title track and "Doomswagger" - are still pretty swell: imagine offspring from Pantera and Lynyrd Skynyrd sharing a cheap motel room, both of which pay homage to husky grooves with sugary, crawling riffs that scream southern pride. But the other track, "If You Find Yourself Looking Back," emerges as an acoustic jam that dips itself deep in bluesy guitars and southern tint so strong you'd guess these dudes lived in a Mississippi cabin for twenty years. It may sound simple, but the result is absolutely phenomenal; the strings are brilliant, the guitar full of soul and power, and Seth Uldricks' vocals are magnificent. So sublime, yet so sensational.
So all in all, The Sign of the Southern Cross have a lot more to offer than what meets the eye. I'd say their core strength definitely resides within the southern caverns, but the groove essence they provide is mighty fine too, which really can't be said about many contenders. "I Carry the Fire," in the end, becomes a release that rightfully justifies the ends and means of southern tinge in metal; foul play of any kind isn't part of its routine. I wouldn't bother with this if you detest southern rock/metal. For those of you that love it, know free things are hardly ever this good, especially ones that travels up your neck of the woods.
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