Korsika - Play! 4/5
3. The hunter
4. Hundred miles to the sundown
7. On the border
8. After you
9. Valley of the tzars
10. This is rock!
11. Neverland (bonus track)
Out of Russia, Korsika hits hard with their 2nd CD 'Play!' (following their debut 'Romanticism'), a Russian-language CD (I've translated the tracklist) that's been a very pleasant surprise. I'll label it heavy/power metal, as it bridges the gap between heavy metal bands like Aria, Kurazh, Kipelov and Olvy, and power metal bands like Epidemia, Reanimacia, Decuman Wave, Arda and Retriem. Really, Korsika sits right in the middle, probably most comparable to Olvy, and 'Play!' should appeal to both fans of Russian heavy metal and fans of Russian power metal.
The band is made up of female and male musicians, but there are only male vocals (courtesy of Oleg Mikhailov), which are performed in a clear and confident manner. In fact, the vocals are quite expressive, so if you're looking to jump into Russian-language heavy/power metal, this probably isn't the best CD to grab, as the vocals/language might be a bit overwhelming for a first-timer. For someone like me though (who has heard more than a fair share of Russian metal), the vocals will be a large part of the high quality of 'Play!'.
Musically, the CD is quite upbeat/exciting and contains mid-paced to fast-paced songs, and as I've hinted towards thus far, there are more faster songs than we usually get from the heavy metal group (Aria, Kipelov, etc.) and more mid-paced songs than we usually get from the power metal group (Epidemia, Retriem, etc.). There are only a few slower parts, but the band excels in the songwriting department (regardless of tempo), so these slower parts are welcome too. Keyboards are present, but not very many; an amount that will interest keyboard lovers, but won't deter those who like their metal keyboard free.
All wrapped up, we have an excellent CD with a terrific balance of tempo, strong vocals, and every song is a winner. For a specific quality comparison, I consider 'Play!' to be at the level of Olvy's 'Darkness and light', and I wouldn't be surprised if either band was able to match the best material from Aria and Epidemia one day. Only time will tell, and until then, I'll send Korsika a firm thumbs up and will keep 'Play!' spinning regularly.
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