Corsair - Corsair
Shadow Kingdom Records
Heavy 70s Prog Rock/NWOBHM
8 songs ()
Release year: 2012
Shadow Kingdom Records
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

When Shadow Kingdom Records say their head was blown off by a band, I generally pay attention. These guys from Pittsburgh have an excellent taste when it gets to old school classic metal and NWOBHM. Corsair may be a local Pittsburgh product, so there could be a case of home band promotion, but then Shadow Kingdom never let me down, so I don't see why they should start now.

In many regards the praise for Corsair self-titled debut is warranted. The rumor has it that Corsair members have been honing their art for a while, and the album is definitely a result of skilled musicianship and delivering it from the heart. The latter, the heart comment, is truly an indelible mark Corsair leaves when the proceedings are over, since many a band can go for the 70s retro prog rock feel, but a few do it convincingly.

Pieces like Chaemera bring to mind Slough Feg and from the more ancient prospective Thin Lizzy, where weaving guitars are squarely in the forefront and pulsating clumsy warm bass is prominent. From there the band goes in whichever direction psychedelia takes them. It is easy to say what Corsair enjoy the most and what they have the most fun with - long instrumental forays. So they engage in them profusely on Path of the Chosen Arrow and The Desert, and then totally go for it on the opener Agathyrsi and Mach. Listening to pieces like Agathyrsi bobbing and weaving their way along is as much fun as it possibly took Corsair to create it. I did discover new things along the way every time I played the record. For Corsair 70s are not Sabbath tributes, and apparently heavy progressive rock leanings were just as important. There are some sidesteps on the album as well. The Desert opens up with some wistful female voice bringing on calming influence with its opening tremolo. The song goes spacious and cosmic before finishing with a heavier drone. Falconer also fools around with varying tempos playing it on the edge of dissonance. Gryphon Wing and Of Kings and Cowards tread closely to more straightforward NWOBHM rockers, with Of Kings and Cowards adding more passion to the vocals.

Speaking of the vocals on Corsair, if there is one element below par that must be it. Naive, and in some cases almost an afterthought, the vocals on the album are delivered as if it was a hot potato. No one wanted to do them, so somebody had to. The added edge in Of Kings and Cowards was needed and stretchy lyrical chorus of Path of the Chosen Arrow is nice as well.

In the end my head wasn't blown off with Corsair, but quality and genuine delivery is undeniable, so the high mark is well deserved.

CORRECTION: from very trustworthy source I have been notified that Corsair are from Virginia, Charlottesville, as more thorough research shows, not from Pittsburgh. Proves one more time the assertion that this band was not a homey pick, but made a genuine impression on the folks at Shadow Kingdom.
Killing Songs :
Agathyrsi, Chaemera, Gryphon Wing
Alex quoted 79 / 100
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