Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Album Review: Corsair - "Corsair"

Over the past couple weeks, I've death metalled and grindcored myself out. Between reviewing a bunch of brutal bands and slowly piecing together a compilation album (more on that later!), as well as recording a bunch of death metal/ grindcore myself, I've had just about enough of blast beats and growling vocals. I've been cooling down with some Andrew Jackson Jihad, My Bloody Valentine, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Corner Organs: Off. I am just starting to miss good ol' rock and metal, though. Coming in with the perfect timing between soft and heavy to save my ears is Corsair!

Corsair are a really new group, having formed only five years ago in 2008. They call Charlottesville, Virginia home, but one member comes from as far as Australia to help channel their extraterrestrial rock fury. Corsair is a progressive rock band that not only fuses awesome '80s NWOBHM sounds with their proggy wonkiness, but keep away from mind-numbingly technical playing. Their songs are catchy as hell, headbangable as fuck, and perfectly composed, every time.

Guitar harmonies are in abundance on this album, and they're always just beautifully phrased. I've got to say the guitar work here is as expressive, if not, more expressive than most vocalists. Nothing is ever too distorted or overdriven, and everything has this warm, friendly, and inviting tone. Most of the verse riffs aren't anything too special while there's singing but every time the band breaks into mad instrumental jam mode, whether as an intro, bridge, outro, or just because, I just can't wipe my stupid grin off of my face. The leads are straight up addicting and each one is distinct, with their thick and saturated tone reminding one of the Baroness of yesteryear. Again, nothing is overly technical, but the guitarists definitely aren't afraid to show off their chops. 10 years from now, Corsair will be the album that will inspires kids to pick up a guitar and learn to play.

I'm not sure how many vocalists are in Corsair, but I do know there are at least two: a man and a woman. Majority of the vocals are male, bringing in an '80s feel, soaring over top of the mix with fierce determination.  Sometimes, I even hear a little of Rush's Geddy Lee come out in the vocalist (albeit at a much lower octave than Geddy). None of the high notes sound forced or out of key, but you can tell there's a distinct grit to his highest notes where he just hits them. I'll be honest, I absolutely love that vocal tone. It really reminds me of vocalists like Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson, whose voices carry more power than a locomotive. The female vocalist brings more airy and psychedelic vocals to the table, floating underneath everything, sort of haunting around the album here and there. She's got a beautiful voice. It's a shame you don't hear it more on the album.

In addition to progging it up, Corsair has it's shoegazy and psychedelic moments. Most memorable is in the closing track "The Desert", where things can get real dreamy and spacey. When things pick up, also like in "The Desert" but in many, many other places on the album, they groove beautifully. You can't help but bang your head when the thick riffs, thumping bass, and pounding drums kick in. Corsair handles the balance between fragility and heaviness like true experts.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Agathyrsi, Falconer, Mach, The Desert

On a Playlist With: (new) Baroness, Dawnbringer, 3

Overall Score


Yup. My first 5 out of 5. Corsair have made one of the, if not, the, album of the year. The fact that it's out so early in the year is almost unfair for everyone else For those of you who know how much I love Mastodon's Crack the Skye, I love Corsair almost as much. For those of you who don't know how much I love Crack the Skye, it's my favorite album. Ever. This is an album for anyone who loves music. Period. Great music, great vocals, excellent production, awesome lyrics, perfect length. In short, it's a flawless album.

Corsair comes out January 21st, 2013 on Shadow Kingdom RecordsCorsair have an incredibly hard to find Facebook page here. They also have an official webpage and a Bandcamp page.

That's all for now, folks! To victory, we ride!


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