"Hailing from Virginia, this quartet has committed itself to the noble
side of classic rock. Where others boringly copy Iommi and Co.,
Corsair only messes with the gourmet stuff, most of all Wishbone Ash,
maybe Budgie, too, and a whole bag full of 70's independent bands like
Legend that only connoisseurs know today...
While the group grew out of a half-serious Sabbath tribute band, this
self-titled debut, preceded by two EPs, doesn't sound a bit like
rancid doom, despite its numerous associations it evokes. "Agathyrsi"
starts off light-footed and with a riff that reminds of alternative
prog, but becomes noticeably heavier. The band establishes the
leitmotif in the refrain, before they transition after the
halfway-mark into a labyrinthine twin harmony with keyboard sounds [guitars]
in the background. The tempo, whose cradling, melodic character
reminds one of Slough Feg's new stuff, retards until the end in a
dignified frame, and the last chords fade out in an exceedingly
In "Chaemera", Corsair's actual style crystallizes: vocals a la Phil
Lynott and, again, lots of harmony and melody, instead of fat riffs.
The hookline facilitates the refrain, as it should, and the
established buildup gives way to a brilliant solo. It's principally
the same way with "Falconer", only that piece switches to the uptempo
realm, without destroying the continually relaxed atmosphere, which
singer Jordan exudes. The middle part comes in with more playful
rhythm, plus twin leads and gentle riff overdubs for good measure,
which prepare the way for a captivating finale.
"Gryphon Wing" gets slightly more abrasive, as well as a change in
singers. Paul intones heartily, similar to his bandmate, but falls
quickly into silence, for the sake of an extended instrumental part,
which performs several shifts in mood. In this way, Corsair
foreshadow, to a certain extent, the epic prog to which they give
themselves over in "Path of the Chosen Arrow". Introduced by an
undistorted prelude, the band switches between hammering verses and a
conciliatory-to-melancholy chorus. The second part has little to do
with the first in terms of motifs, and it contains no singing at all,
although here Aaron's drumming stands out.
After the longest piece, the two shortest follow: the meandering
instrumental, "Mach", and probably the simplest song, "Of Kings and
Cowards," which, apart from the refrain, lacks a unique identifier.
"The Desert" sounds like its title: psychedelically sleepy and would
almost qualify as post-rock. However, Corsair are much too
accomplished as composers to let their ideas fray out
(multi-instrumentalist Jordan studied music and was responsible for
the mixing). Guitarist Marie sings this celestial conclusion,
which ultimately still bring out harsher eruptions.
Conclusion: Corsair are a foursome, gang of four, of rare musical value. For
whomever there are too few groups like Hammers of Misfortune or Perry
Grayson's Falcon, there's no choice but to round up their three discs.
If a label bites here, the group will surely make a sensation in the
course of the ongoing retro boom. 13/15. Translated from German.