Coronary – Sinbad Review

I first heard of Coronary when they did a split release with local heroes (and overall excellent band) Traveler a few years ago. While the cuts of the Traveler trio were more raw and old-school, the Coronary selection was more like the offspring of Accept and Judas Priest — and equally invigorating. Here we are three years later and this Finnish fivesome is releasing its debut album, Sinbad, which also happens to feature the three songs originally recorded for their split. Professing to pay unabashed homage to heavy metal’s heydays of the 1980s, Coronary’s approach to the throwback style is more polished than Traveler’s, but no less compelling.

One of many inexplicably confusing parts of this album is the title. The band says Sinbad refers to the adventurous sailor of olden times,1 but then they also say it refers to the two words that make it up. Maybe that explains what appears to be a nun smoking on the album cover? I’m not sure, but I know the opening title track is an excellent way to kick things off, with a great 80s riff and song structure, and a ripping guitar solo. It’s a template the band sticks with for much of the ten songs here, to great effect. “Firewings” is almost a modern take on “Rapid Fire,” with the dual guitar intro and a similar vibe, and “Reflector” follows much the same style guide, with the dual-guitar riff and the brief yet killer lead breaks scattered throughout, all with an anthemic “Hey! Hey! Hey!” bridge thrown in for kicks.

Changeups are rare but effective. Most notable is “I Can Feel This Love,” which features a sultry mid-tempo groove and (as with all tracks) a charismatic vocal performance from Olli Kärki, who sounds remarkably similar to Krokus’s Marc Storace. That’s a good thing, by the way.2 His performance is matched in skill and arrangement by both guitarists, Aku Kytölä and Jukka Holm, who combine stellar tone with earworm riffs and wonderfully fluid lead work. The rhythm section reminds one of Balls to the Wall-era Accept, with drummer Pate Vuorio locked in tight with the sturdy little bass player from Korpiklaani. The bridge of the song, along with parts of many other tracks, is also reminiscent of Accept, with the gang chants of “Whoah-oh-oh” giving the music a Teutonic feel.

The traditional 80s arrangements, the killer riffing, the fist-pumping backing vocals, the searing leads – what’s not to love about it all? Not much. The production keeps pace with the material here, with a meaty guitar tone and a gloriously boxy snare drum mixed just right with everything else. The lyrics and some pronunciations can be a little confusing, much like early Scorpions lyrics, but this just adds to the charm. Choruses rarely match up with song titles, like “Mestengo,” where they sing “The apocalypse on wheels, you wounded my heart nothing heals,” and with a very odd pronunciation on “apocalypse.” Or “Burnout,” another head-banging anthem, where they sing “Hey hey, how is your heart today? It happens!”3 Or take “The Hammer,” where the chorus seems to be about Peter and a shoebox. Best to just let it go, really.

Is Sinbad dad metal? Maybe, but that doesn’t make it any less enticing. The riffs, the energy, the vocals, the solos, the goofy lyrics, it’s all part of a superb mix of ingredients that add up to a heartwarming exposition of old-school metal done the right way. The mid-80s heyday of bands like Judas Priest, Accept, Krokus, and more come back to life in unpretentious fashion on Sinbad. Through it all, Coronary shows themselves to be more than just another retro band.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320kbps mp3
Label: Cruz Del Sur Music
Websites: |
Release Worldwide: February 19th, 2021

Show 3 footnotes

  1. I went to high school with him; solid fellow.
  2. *whispers* Hail Krokus. – Steel
  3. At least I think those are the lyrics…
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