Ghosts of Proxima Centauri
posted on 4/2011 By:
Why is this band still unsigned?
A few years back, Virginian quartet Corsair garnered some well-deserved praise from my esteemed colleague Mr. John Ray for their debut EP Alpha Centauri, which was a stellar five-song slice of space rock-meets-hard rock-meets-stoner rock. At the intersection of Clutch, Thin Lizzy and Hawkwind lies Corsair, with their beautifully vintage guitar tones, emphasis on often-harmonized leads and solos, drifting and yet energetic prog-jam tendencies, and hints of hazy psychedelia. (The band has declared this combination “adventure rock” and who am I to disagree?) This follow-up EP shows the band still in fine form, sharpening their attack and taking Alpha Centauri’s winning combination to the next level.
As with Alpha, Proxima’s emphasis is on the dueling guitars of Marie Landragin and Paul Sebring. In every song, the pair weave leads in and around one another, never overly noodly but always serpentine, sliding in and out of the band’s driving 70s-rock riffs with a seemingly never-ending series of twisting smooth solos. As with Alpha, the vocals on Proxima remain secondary, not sub-par (in fact, quite good, and better than earlier), but still subordinated to the sweet slippery solos. The lead vocal spot is rotated amongst the band members, and I’m not certain which voice is which, aside from the obvious instance of Landragin’s lead on “Orca,” but even then, the vocals tend to take a step into the background, to be overshadowed by the riffs and leads.
Opening with the instrumental “Wolfrider,” Proxima wastes no time in establishing itself – between prog-tinged hard rock riffs, the guitars run circles around one another. “Warrior Woman” rides a bouncy NWOBHM-esque riff straight into proto-metal glory, with lilting Thin Lizzy-ish guitar melodies and some of Proxima’s best vocals. The Thin Lizzy influence is back in the following track “Burnish The Blades,” which follows the fantasy path established by “Warrior Woman,” with some absolutely stellar results. But in repeated listens, it’s the closing trio of “Centurion,” “Orca” and “Eyes Of The Gods” that proves to be Proxima’s finest half – the hazy prog-stoner-metal that comprises those three tracks soars and glides, adrift in psychedelic melody and warm-butter guitar tone, the most accomplished distillation of the band’s sound thusfar.
Alpha Centauri was a grand opening statement, and Proxima capitalizes on the band’s strengths whilst honing their sound to a sharper point. Now two EPs into their career, Corsair remains an uncovered gem in the rock world. I say again: why is this band still unsigned?
Also of note: the band hand-prints the art for each of these EPs, so the specialized packaging is another selling point, as is the asking price – only $5 for Alpha Centauri and $8 for Proxima…
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