What? Another release from Corsair already?! Nah, not to worry, our much feted US rockers haven’t dashed one off; no this is a re-release of their previous second self-released EP, half an hour of music to let us know that they didn’t suddenly materialise from nothing. The PR kind of lets you know that this is ‘more proggy and more laid back than their debut full length but, if I’m honest I disagree a little. A touch.
It is different though; a touch more proggy in places but that’s more to do with individual songs than overall feel and maybe and some passages in songs like Centurion and Burnish The Blades do seem quieter but equally they still let the twin guitars burst out. The song writing is here, too. No the biggest difference here for me is the production. Frankly it is just not as sympathetic as their full length is to their easy flowing style that can go from laid back, hazy lead work to full on twin guitars with a casual flick of the fingers. I think the word I’m looking for is harsh: Both lead work and all three vocalists have been given a kind of flavour that if it was in water would be described as metallic, but not in good way. More a hard distortion that does not suit the music.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that quality shines through. The song writing, musical arrangements and musicianship is exemplary even here. When they go off on one like during the closing passages of ‘Eyes Of The Gods’ or the opening instrumental ‘Wolfrider’ you hear that distinctive Corsair sound as the guitars sing and harmonise together and bass and drums step beautifully into the space with more than just a solid rhythm but with melody and complexity too. Warrior Woman (no not the Jex Thoth song, though wouldn’t that be an intriguing cover…) has that Thin Lizzy meets NWOBHM swagger and the epic ‘Orca’ has a suitably oceanic atmosphere to its rolling waves. It is still grand stuff.
If I had heard this first I would have been screaming for someone to give them more/better studio time and a more sympathetic production. As I know they got exactly that, I get less stressed and just want to hear more.
Which do you buy first? This or the full length? Well, both of course! But if only one fits your budget then get the full album then save up for this as it is every inch Corsair full of great songs and superb music to lie back in; well worth your attention for more than simply historical interest.
It really leaves you wanting more.