“I’ve got Firewings!” yells vocalist Olli Kärki in the chorus of the song of the same name, like someone who’s just won the lucky dip at their local Pizza n’Rib emporium. It’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement, fast food-based or otherwise, as the song wends it’s way through the Judas Priest playbook to it’s exciting conclusion; Finland’s Coronary are that sort of band – impossible not to like.
Sure, the marketplace is absolutely littered with eighties-inspired true metallists in 2021, all squeezing into impossibly tight denim and leather like it’s still 1984, but few – very few actually – can bring songs of fully-formed metal genius like Bullet Train to that same market. Or The Hammer, as fine a summation of the work of Accept from 1982-85 as you’re likely to hear outside of Udo Dirkschneider‘s fever dreams, for that matter.
Let’s get back on the Bullet Train for a minute, as the song is just too good to let it go as part of a flippant comment in passing on the state of true metal’s union in 2021. Here we have a song that takes all the requisite best bits of early-mid eighties metal – steel-clad melodies, rock solid rhythms and sheer, unadulterated, walk-it-ten-times-better-than-you-talk-it-passion – and turns it into five minutes of gang-vocalled, fleet-fingered mayhem. Pate Vuorio, a drummer with the chops of Stefan Kaufmann and then some, holds it down at the back in partnership with the unobtrusive bassist Jarkko Aaltonen, the pair driving things forward in time honoured heads-down fashion, whilst guitarists Aku Kytölä and Jukka Holm trade riffs and solos like some sort of breathtaking amalgam of names like Hoffmann, Tipton, Fischer and Downing.
I Can Feel This Love adds a little Scorpions/Krokus panache to proceedings – it’s the song that would have broken the band in America had we still been living in 1984 – with Kärki showing he’s not just an identikit metal wailer, injecting bags of personality into the track as he belts out it’s old-time radio friendly chorus.
The key here is that Coronary get it. They don’t come across as try-hard revivalists because they, simply, aren’t trying at all. This is the music that comes naturally to them, that flows through their fingers and throats, coalescing on the fretboard, through the drum heads and out of the vocal PA as naturally as breathing. It may sound crass to state it in print – but Coronary are heavy metal.
And so, if it’s true, pure metal you crave, Sinbad is an album you’ll have been waiting for for a while. And one you’ll treasure for a long time to come. Seek it out at your earliest convenience.
Sinbad releases on February 19th.