If you’re at all a fan of the old school metal sound of the 70s and 80s you should be following Shadow Kingdom Records, because they are currently the best label on the planet for that sound (they have Dark Quarterer and Virtue, how can you go wrong?). Just by going through their Bandcamp page I have found so much great shit like Stygian Shore, Revelation, Reactor, Dragonslayer, Ritual, Energy Vampires, Sinister Realm, and Corsair. Obviously from the post title and the album cover above, it is Corsair that I wish to cover.
While the Bandcamp description of this album says it was released in November 2012, the Shadow Kingdom store page says it’s a 2013 release, and since these guys don’t have a Metal Archives page to conveniently reference, I have no clue when exactly this came out. Regardless of when this album was released, I’ve been listening to this album a lot recently. Like way too much.
I was first drawn to this album by the very attractive woodblock style of the album cover. It had a very classic 60s/70s feel to it, and gave off the sense that the music on the album would be a journey of sorts. The first track, Agathyrsi, is an instrumental that features a lot of noodling and riffing on the guitar. There’s a heavy sense of groove throughout the riffing (not the Pantera style groove though, fuck that), and the song is very much in the vein of 70s prog rock, though right at the end there’s a very Sabbath-y heaviness to the whole thing. The next song immediately lets us know who this band draws their primary influence from. From the almost thin sounding melodic guitars to the heavy bass presence, and the singer that is doing his best Phil Lynott impression, it’s quite obvious that Corsair worships Thin Lizzy.
Though highly evocative of Thin Lizzy, the best part of this album is how the band is able to maintain their own sound while still drawing heavily from their obvious influences. The production and duel guitar melodies seem straight out of Jailbreak, yet the overall song structures are far more reminiscent of 70’s prog and space rock bands like Hawkwind and Spooky Tooth, with a little bit of very early Journey thrown in. However, despite my constant referencing of older bands, the blend that Corsair have managed to create honestly sounds like their own thing. With the exception of a few melodies and the vocal influence, it’s not obvious where each element of the songs come from, other than the mind of the brilliant young songwritiers.
It’s really refreshing to hear such a young band nail the classic 70s rock/metal sound so perfectly, to the point where I was honestly wondering if Shadow Kingdom had managed to pick up and rerelease some obscure band from the 70s with Corsair. The fact that they have hit the 70s sound so perfectly without sounding derivative is what probably impresses me the most. The shortness of Corsair’s self titled is pretty much its biggest downside, but whenever your biggest problem with something is its shortness (unless it’s like a 3 hour video game you payed sixty bucks for), you know you’ve hit upon something good. Corsair have a promising future of bringing back the past.
On a scale of pop Journey to prog Journey, I give Corsair’s Self-Titled debut a Thin Lizzy.