Recently signed with Shadow Kingdom Records, Virginia’s Corsair will be seeing their self-titled release become available to a much larger audience. Originally released in April of 2012, Corsair is another step in the evolution of this progressive four-piece. Following the release of two EPs, the straight-rocking Alpha Centauri, and the darker, more introspective Ghosts of Proxima Centauri, Corsair returns with an absolutely perfect sonic blend of rock and metal. As much as their 70s-style rock influence is touted, one will hear a wide blend of influence from the 70s to more contemporary prog and metal acts.
Corsair’s music has taken the elements of many of the best hard rock and metal bands of the 1970s and early ’80s and created a fusion of rock that immediately draws the attention of any ear within its sonic projection. Corsair opens with the haunting notes of “Agathyrsi”. A powerful instrumental, “Agathyrsi” sets the tone for the album. Be prepared for heavy riffs, intricate guitar duos, thundering bass, and driving drums. There is no slacking with these musicians. Each note is well conceived and perfectly placed.
The melodic partnership of six strings between guitarist/vocalist Paul Sebring and guitarist/vocalist Marie Landragin creates nothing less than über-creative riffs and perfect harmonies. The second track, “Chaemera” sees some real metal influenced riffage, and a very neat call-response between sedated vocals and guitars in the chorus. “Falconer” sees the band showing off their creative drive with a very prog influenced (almost Rush-esque) arrangement, with soaring guitars and drummer Aaron Lipscombe propelling a double-time feel throughout the verses. The pounding triplet feel of “Gryphon Wing” is only further accentuated by operatic style vocals and Jordan Brunk’s powerful bass lines and tasteful hits throughout the intro riffs.
If there is one song on the album that proves the power and song writing ability of this band, it is “Path of the Chosen Arrow”. An ethereal guitar intro builds through verse and chorus, the drums slowly build running around the toms, the bass thumps and pushes the song to a guitar solo of epic proportions. It is done masterfully and when it hits it will force fists in the air. An instrumental break in the album, “Mach” is full of tasty tempo shifts, proving that this band can keep the music interesting and powerful without vocals. The guitar solos scream on this tune, so keep the volume up. The drum intro on “Of Kings and Cowards” leads to a chug-heavy set of guitar riffs and compelling vocals that are reminiscent of early Metallica.
In a climactic finale, “The Desert” builds from a somewhat noise-rock inspired melody, with multiple guitar layers, effects and feedback. It is here the band shows off their melodic side all around. Tasteful drumming, more complex and melodic bass lines, tremolo guitars, and Marie Landragin’s haunting vocals set up for a brutal climax of melody and noise that carry the song to its close. Pay attention to the clever panning of guitars throughout this song, and the growling effects that drive it home.
There is much to expected in the future of this band. The song writing continues to grow with each release, and the production quality continues to improve. If there is any negative aspect to this album, it is that the instruments at times do not feel full enough. This is a band that should produce sound to fill a stadium. I would hope to hear some tweaking in their next release: a bigger, rounder drum sound, more articulated tone in the bass presence and louder guitars. That being said, this is a band to watch closely and a ‘must-own’ album for every fan of hard rock and metal. Expect awesome things in their future.