Combine Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, and Robert Heinlein and you get Corsair, one of the most rocking bands in town. The Sabbath part makes perfect sense, as the band originally spawned from the annual local tribute act, Mass Sabbath. A nod to Thin Lizzy isn’t hard either, since guitarists Marie Landragin and Paul Sebring play dueling leads comparable to those rockers. The Heinlein tie-in reaches a little further, but refers to the band’s lyrical direction: a fascination with science fiction spacescapes.
Corsair will release its Alpha Centauri EP at a show at the Southern on February 20.
“Skykrakken,” the only entirely instrumental track from Alpha Centauri, Corsair’s debut EP, is one of the band’s best moments. Seemingly stoked with rocket fuel, this tune rumbles, roars and soars. Landragin and Sebring riff hard and, when the moment beckons, send their axes squealing into the stratosphere. I don’t know what a skykrakken is, but I imagine a fierce galactic dragon.
Fiery licks aren’t all the band has to offer. “Space Is A Lonely Place” and “Last Night On Earth” are compelling tales of woeful interstellar voyages. The former begins with a Mogwai-like post-rock build up before bursting into a higher gear. Lyrics like “The vacuum is my grave / Trapped in this suit so far from home” describe an astronaut floating in the void, forsaken by his ship. Then, as the song gradually fades to an eerie echo, one imagines his oxygen supply dwindling to nothing. “Last Night On Earth,” a Bowie-esque ballad, could be about that same astronaut years before, pondering his impending departure from the third planet. “I take another drag from my cigarette,” he sings. “Cold realization / I’m ever coming back.”
“Beware The Black Fleet” opens Alpha Centauri and is the most Sabbath-leaning track. It comes across as a nautical number, but coupled with the other songs, it seems more likely that those “black ships on the horizon” are space ships. Water or sky, though, it’s a fitting start. Corsair can, after all, refer to a Barbary Coast pirate or a WWII fighter plane.
The apocalyptic “Starcophagus” closes the EP with a spoken word segment describing the destruction of Earth. Landragin and Sebring’s guitars mingle and ascend once more before subsiding. It’s an epic finale for an impressive debut. Hopefully Corsair is already putting together its next release, because, as long as the band has star-bound stories and scorching riffs, I’m all ears and ready to rock.
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