Coroner

Picture of Coroner

Death Cult [demo]

Coroner - Death Cult [demo] ©1986 Demo
1. Spectators Of Sin
2. Spiral Dream
3. Aerial Combat
4. The Invincible
5. Arrogance In Uniform
6. Hate, Fire, Blood

Every band has to start from somewhere and in the case of Switzerland's incredible Coroner, their beginnings were on a somewhat infamous demo called Death Cult that may have unfairly labelled them as "Celtic Frost Jr." in their early days. But considering a certain Tom G. Warrior provided vocals for the demo may have something to do with that. In their early embryonic stage, Coroner had not yet found a suitable vocalist for their fairly complex and very talented thrash metal and Warrior, the pal that he is, helped provide the throat for the demo tape. As a result, there is a definite Celtic Frost tinge to the music, but solely because Warrior has such a striking and identifiable voice. Otherwise, Coroner's sound was already a well formulated and quite realized blueprint for pretty much their entire recording career. Although the rough demo production does reduce some of Coroner's sound to a garage quality, their ability shines through like gold.

The demo eventually resurfaced in the form of compact disc around 1996, more or less a bootleg of the demo and tacking on "Arrogance in Uniform", which originally appeared on a Noise Int. compilation. Given this particular song features bassist Ron Royce on his permanent vocal duties as well as full scale production, the bonus track sticks out a bit, mostly due to its sequencing in the midst of the demo and not at the end. Regardless, the CD still allows Coroner fanatics (and that's all there is out there since you are either fanatical about this amazing band or you aren't a fan at all, and in that case there is just something entirely amiss with you) to hear the band in their earliest stages. Most importantly, it is noteworthy to hear how top notch the talent was, even under the guise of Motorhead-ish sound quality. Coroner fans, do what you must to get ahold of this demo because it'll fill in the last of the blank lines for the band.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 12/2000

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R.I.P.

Coroner - R.I.P. ©1987 Noise Int.
1. Reborn Through Hate
2. When Angels Die
3. Nosferatu
4. Suicide Commands
5. Spiral Dreams
6. R.I.P.
7. Coma
8. Fried Alive
9. Totentanz

Coroner was always a rather intriguing band. Their first claim for attention was with their demo tape that featured a certain Tom G. Warrior from Celtic Frost guesting on vocals. Eventually Coroner settled on bassist Ron Royce to handle vocals for the first full-length album, R.I.P. For awhile there was the constant comparison between the two Swiss bands, but if you listen to them, there is little in common. Coroner's brand of jazz-thrash was exceptionally complex, swirling and a little difficult to assimilate at first listen. Guitarist Tommy T. Baron was (and still is) way on top of the food chain in sheer ability to play. His circular, sweeping guitar riffs and solos are a very identifiable trademark. Much of R.I.P.'s music is based on the slightly staccato and adventurous riffing style he employed at the time. However, though some tracks are slightly tedious, the instrumental "Nosferatu" as well as "Reborn Through Hate" showed tremendous promise in the well written solos, leads and uniqueness of the band. A major gripe I've always had with earlier Coroner work is Ron Royce's thin rasp, which tends to stick out like a sore thumb in spots. Eventually they would work their way into Coroner's music well, but here they just aren't something to relish. For a debut, R.I.P. was full of promise and talent.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 01/1999

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Punishment For Decadence

Coroner - Punishment For Decadence ©1988 Noise Int.
1. Intro
2. Absorbed
3. Masked Jackal
4. Arc-lite
5. Skeleton On Your Shoulder
6. Sudden Fall
7. Shadow Of A Lost Dream
8. The New Breed
9. Voyage To Eternity
10. Purple Haze

The second release from the Swiss trio is definitely not evidence of all that this band is capable of. Punishment for Decadence has several immediate problems. The most notable flaw lies in the somewhat thin production that robs the guitar of a good, strong level of power. With a guitarist such as Tommy T. Baron (whom I consider one of the all time greatest in metal), the production needs to emphasize his abilities. The second main flaw is that the songs still don't quite have that gripping, world shattering potential. The riffing still retains that R.I.P. vibe of looping and wandering patterns and fretboard dancing, but does not quite have the hook to really be impressive. So in comparison to all the other albums this band released, Punishment for Decadence tends to fall to the bottom. Regardless, "Masked Jackal", "The New Breed" and a couple other songs are pretty darned good. Even more amusing is their metallized version of "Purple Haze", which thrashes out the song quite a bit. In the scheme of all things Coroner, one is still better off checking out their other releases, but in comparison to all things thrash metal, Punishment for Decadence is still a shining example of classy and intelligent music.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2000

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No More Color

Coroner - No More Color ©1989 Noise Int.
1. Die By My Hand
2. No Need To Be Human
3. Read My Scars
4. D.O.A.
5. Mistress Of Deception
6. Tunnel Of Pain
7. Why It Hurts
8. Last Entertainment

Of the first three Coroner albums, No More Color certainly qualifies as a high point. The album featured above average production (as opposed to the sonically thin Punishment for Decadence) as well as a fistful of technically savvy, well written songs. As with any Coroner album, the most prominent aspect is Tommy T. Baron's absolutely devastating guitar ability. The production allows for his guitar to sound like an entire army of sweeping, swirling and overwhelming six stringers on a mission to engulf the listener. Never content to take the easy way out on a riff, Baron simply flies all over his fretboard while avoiding Guitar Tech Boredom that afflicts most proficient guitarists. All his excellent solos and riffology make sense within the songs. Nearly every song here is above average or excellent. The intelligent lyrics show that drummer Marky Marquis has spent some time in front of a good book or two and "Why It Hurts" features fellow countryman Martin Ain (Celtic Frost) throwing in a few words of his own. "Last Entertainment" is another exceptional number, featuring a very Twilight Zone-styled keyboard intro and deep spoken vocals from Ron Royce (whose voice is easily the one downfall to the band - fortunately they bury it in the mix for the most part). Coroner should have been elevated to a much higher status in the world of thrash in 1989 with this release; unfortunately it seemed most of the attention went elsewhere at the time. However, a decade later this album still stands head and shoulders above most releases of the era. Coroner was challenging without pandering to technical boredom and this album should be in your collection at all costs.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 05/1999

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Mental Vortex

Coroner - Mental Vortex ©1991 Noise Int.
1. Divine Step
2. Son Of Lilith
3. Semtex Revolution
4. Sirens
5. Metamorphosis
6. Pale Sister
7. About Life
8. I Want You (She's So Heavy)

By the time Coroner had reached 1991, I would wager they had garnered all the interest that they ever would. Mental Vortex had the misfortune of being released the same day as Metallica's black album and unfortunately never quite received the notice it should. Featuring a little more concentrated guitar attack and a little more adventurous songwriting, the Swiss trio both threw curve balls and traditional thrash. The opener "Divine Step (Conspectu Mortis)" did a little of both, containing an energetic and aggressive approach bridged with an ambient, transcendental section. "About Life" is also top-notch with the throttle set of full ahead. Throughout the entire album, Tommy T. Baron proves his worth as a guitar giant (though no one seemed to notice), being capable of heavy rhythms and remarkable fluid solos (for one of his best, check out "Semtex Revolution"). To fully confuse thrash fans, there is a faithful cover of the Beatles' "I Want You (She's so Heavy)" that only adds metal weight and Ron Royce's raspy vocals. While not quite the monster of No More Color, Mental Vortex is an album deserving of your attention.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 12/1998

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Grin

Coroner - Grin ©1993 Futurist/Noise
1. Dream Path
2. The Lethargic Age
3. Internal Conflicts
4. Caveat (to The Comming)
5. Serpent Moves
6. Status: Still Thinking
7. Theme For Silence
8. Paralized, Mesmerized
9. Grin (Nails Hurt)
10. Host

Grin is the red headed stepchild album for Coroner. Released in 1993 on a label that had pretty much gone entirely belly-up and in the midst of a grunge infested mainstream consciousness, it is safe to say a snowball had a better chance of surviving a Florida summer than Grin had of being noticed and appreciated. Naturally the minute "industrial" sounds (they sampled a drill somewhere, most notably, and included it as a background sound effect...boy, that's so industrial) may have put off the handful of Coroner fans who still existed and non-metal fans would most likely have handled zoo droppings than check out Grin, so needless to say this effort was the last full studio release for the amazing Swiss trio.

Grin does actually follow up the fan favorite Mental Vortex quite aptly. Guitarist Tommy T. Baron had streamlined his approach somewhat, offering razor sharp riffing as opposed to the more ambitious and looping style of the earlier Coroner albums. The result is that the entire album has this eerie feeling of familiarity. Upon my first couple of listens to Grin, it seemed as though I already was terribly and intimately familiar with the songs, even though I hadn't heard them elsewhere. Some of these songs did reappear on the half-new, half-compilation self-titled album, but regardless, these songs have an immediate edge of them. The most impressive thing about Grin's songwriting is how strong the arrangements are. "Serpent Moves" is a killer example of a song that moves and breathes, even with the strange sampled voices. A couple of the songs do lack a bit, such as the bitterness of "Status: Still Thinking" or the lack of propulsion on "Paralized, Mesmerized". Regardless, Grin is still a strong effort for a band who never did quite receive their due and as a final full studio effort come across as a fairly good farewell. Any hardcore Coroner fan (as if there is any other type) should be sure to have this in their collection.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/2000

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Coroner

Coroner - Coroner ©1995 Noise Int.
1. Benways World
2. The Favorite Game
3. Shifter
4. Serpent Moves
5. Snow Crystal
6. Divine Step (conspectu Mortis)
7. Gliding Above While Being Below
8. Der Mussolini
9. Last Entertainment (T.V. Bizarre)
10. Reborn Through Hate
11. Golden Cashmere Sleeper, Part 1
12. Golden Cashmere Sleeper, Part 2
13. Masked Jackal
14. I Want You (she's So Heavy)
15. Grin (No Religion Remix)
16. Purple Haze (radio Live Cut)

Coroner, the self-titled swansong from Switzerland's best metal band of all time, is both a triumph and a tragedy. The triumphant part of this album is that in addition to compiling the band's best work throughout their career with a couple rare oddities, Coroner treats to a half dozen new songs that utterly redefine the band's greatness. The tragedy lies in the fact that Coroner disbanded after the CD's release, thus robbing the world of one of the best metal bands that no one ever quite seemed to know.

Though the majority of the tracks here represent the band in the 90s, you can easily hear how the band progressed over time from their more noodling, thrashy days in R.I.P. and Punishment for Decadence to a more subdued yet equally (or moreso) impressive newer songs. By the time the final batch of songs were recorded, guitarist Tommy T. Baron had established a tone and sound that I honestly think defines what a metal guitar should sound like. His rhythm tracks are tasty and thick, without resorting to crass distortion tricks or overkill while his elegant and classy solos demonstrate he was one of the few metal guitarists who understood that the solo should enhance the song, not be the song. On two of the final recording session instrumental tracks, Baron proves he has a knack for soft and atmospheric guitar playing in the vein of perhaps Pink Floyd with "Gliding Above While Being Below" and "Golden Cashmere Sleeper Part 2". The band also shows that including an industrial touch to metal can be a harmonious marriage with "Der Mussolini" and the remixed version of "Grin". There is also a wacky new version of Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" that completely minimalizes the song.

I also have to credit this album for reigniting my interest in heavy metal in 1996 after a few years of essentially having no interest in the genre. Coroner, especially with the newer tracks on this album, proved that class and substance strongly existed within the genre. This in turn encouraged me to read up on some of the underground bands that were simmering in the mid 90s and rediscover that metal in fact was a very alive and exciting genre once again. While Coroner may have met their demise due to lack of widespread interest in their very classy music, at least they went out on a very high note with what should be seen as one of the best farewell albums of all time.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 04/2000

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