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The final creative output of Coroner - 80%

SocietalSpit, February 6th, 2009

Now if you are a thrash fan and are expecting the final release to be stylistically similar to prior efforts, don't even bother checking this album out. The Swiss outfit never released the same album twice, each album progressing into its own unique sound filled with chaotic rhythms with varied time signatures. However, this album is heavily toned down rhythmically. It is a much easier listen in comparison to RIP, Punishment or No More Color.

The thrash influence is minimal. A better description for the sound on this album would be Progressive/Industrial tinged groove/thrash. There are occasional thrash riffs here and there such as the main 'Internal Conflicts' riff and the chorus during 'Grin Nails Hurt', but don't expect anything like say Sudden Fall or Masked Jackal off Punishment... which is still my personal favorite release by this band followed by no more color, mental vortex, and rip.

But set personal preference aside, I also heavily enjoy the early 90's output of bands such as Anacrusis, Prong and Voivod whose sound went in a similar direction to this final release by Coroner. There are many spoken vocal parts and intros reminding me of the late 80's industrial sound Ministry had. There are still bizarre and technical riffs throughout the record, just not in vast quantities.

Many of the riffs are simplistic and repeated throughout the song, but if you are into atmosphere and can set aside the fact that the chaotic Coroner sound is no where to be found, this album is for you. The album is definitely ahead of its time being released in 1993. Stylistically, this album is a natural progression from Mental Vortex. If you like the sound on Mental Vortex, this album is worth checking out for you. The song 'son of lilith' off that album is the best example of the sound Coroner progressed to on Grin. Rather than constantly changing technical rhythms n previous efforts, the band began to focus on atmosphere over riffs.

It is definitely understandable why this album would be discarded by Coroner fans. Their trademark sound disappeared with Mental Vortex more so actually on No More Color. If you were to set aside the fact that this is a Coroner album and appreciate the music for what it is, you may enjoy it. Once again if you like more atmospheric progressive metal such as 'Screams and Whispers' by Anacrusis or 'The Outer Limits' by Voivod and some early industrial, and if you like the mid paced groove/thrash style of 'King of the Hill' by Annihilator give this album a listen.

If you enjoy the trademark Coroner sound, or raw and technical thrash, do not bother with this album. If you hate the progressive sound in any of the comparable bands that I mentioned, this album is not for you. When listening to this album, I appreciate the songs for their atmosphere and composition and despite the immense stylistic change, the album is easily recognizable as Coroner. The distinct shouts of Royce, and the solo style of Tom Baron especially in the Serpent Moves or Internal Conflicts solos are undeniably Coroner.

Despite being my least favorite album by Coroner, I think this album is truly good for the style it belongs to. Maybe Coroner should have ended it with Mental Vortex because that album was their last thrash effort, but even when diverging to a new genre, Coroner did it well. With every release, they have a unique original sound and without a doubt, Grin has it's own unique sound. Originality can be bad in the fact that it alienates the fans of the music, but Coroner still retained bits of their trademark style. I applaud Coroner for their ability to create a unique sound for every effort they released even if the later albums are not stylistically appealing to fans of the earlier albums.

If you are a die hard thrash fan completely disgusted by atmospheric and progressive music, but are heavily into Coroner, there may be something on this album that appeals to you, but without a doubt, it is not worth hearing if you dislike the direction the band went in after No More Color.