Currently, if you hear of a band from North Carolina, they have to be given attention as there seems to be a wave of great artists appearing by the month from this state, crossing all sub genres of rock. The Sign Of The Southern Cross, from Ashville, NC, is another such band with their dirty, angry southern metal.
Their new three track EP “I Carry The Fire”, is a taste of their forthcoming album and some say an angry response to accusations thrown at them over their debut album “Of Mountains and Moonshine”, that they were merely Pantera clones. Not having heard that release I cannot comment but certainly with “I Carry The Fire” there are similarities, as with a lot of bands but they bring their own touch and ideas giving the sound ultimately something different. Yes, they have more than passing elements of Pantera, Down or Corrosion Of Conformity, but there are also elements that remind me of Red Fang or even Mastodon. Despite this they do have their own distinct fingerprint to their sound.
‘I Carry The Fire’ is the first of the three slices of musical bourbon, aggressive on the palate demanding attention before warming with great riffs, hooks, and melodic interplay and solos. The vocals of Seth Uldricks growl with spite and venom, and croon with a great clean delivery, with no disrespect to the others who create quality sounds within all songs, are the best element to the sound of The Sign Of The Southern Cross.
The guitars and solos from Uldricks and Ryan Sturm are creative and stirring throughout, especially on ‘If You Find Yourself Looking Back’, a bluesy slower paced track which nestles in the ear and subtlety takes over. It is a good contrast to the energy and fight of the other two songs and though not totally to my taste it is not something that had me running for the forward button either.
Final track ‘Doomswagger’ returns to the rampant metal stomp with the driving drums of Thomas White, forging the way ahead with the bass of Devin White powerfully in tandem, and it is with this attack I feel they work best.
The Sign Of The Southern Cross maybe not the most original band out there with influences openly on show but from this release neither are they simply a copy or devoid of ideas. Fans of the likes of Down and Pantera should check them out for sure but also anyone with a need of metal music with angry power and a demanding assault. “I Carry The Fire” is available now as a free download here.