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Elite Tech-Thrash - 96%

StainedClass95, July 5th, 2014

Looking back at 1989 as a year, there was a good deal of great thrash metal released. Germany alone produced Agent Orange and Extreme Aggression. Just to their south, there was a band that had been making very good music up until then, but was about to take it up a notch. Coroner's masterpiece wasn't released to a great deal of fanfare, but it doesn't detract from how great it is. The riffing and production were as good as it would ever be, and the closer is probably their best song.

Tommy is a great guitar player, and he didn't actually improve much from album to album. He started great, and his improvements were fairly subtle. I would say his riffing is one of these subtle improvements. The riffs feel more focused and concise than previous albums and not as peculiar as the follow-up. I should add that shred fans may be disappointed, as Tommy's main shredding occurred on the debut. Interestingly, his soloing seemed to get bluesier as he progressed. This shouldn't bother too many, as the gain in riffing is very enjoyable.

Royce is essentially a Warrior-knockoff. That's not surprising considering their connection, and it's not as bad as it sounds. So few vocalists directly imitated Warrior's approach, that it seems cool rather than unoriginal. The lyrics also contain this character, often as esoteric and vague as Frost's. Again though, for as few bands directly imitated them it works. His bass-playing is also quite good, not Roger Patterson level, but better than Dave Ellefson for my money. The drumming is probably the weakest link of the album. This drummer isn't bad, but he is much closer to average than his fellow musicians.

Compared to their previous albums, this is the best produced. The early albums were produced at a quality I would liken to the Morbid Tales EP. The problem with this is that they weren't going for Frost's atmosphere, so it just ended up weakening the music. This corrected that problem, and we end up with an excellent job. On the Celtic Frost note, there is a sort of furthering trend in their music. Each album got a little further from Frost sonically but closer in atmosphere and aim, so if you have strong feelings either way about Frost you should keep this in mind.

Another thing to note is that most of the songs are fairly short by tech standards, none over five minutes. This is somewhat unusual in tech-thrash. Most tech also involves strong progressive elements, but this does not. It's literally just thrash played with a higher degree of precision and accuracy. While I enjoy a good deal of prog, this has one strong advantage. Most longer listens require more investment on my part, and I don't like cutting songs off halfway, so that limits how often I will listen to them. Color avoids this completely and can be listened to at almost any point. The songs do work a little better strung together but not to the point that you can't listen to a random song and enjoy it.

Of all these songs, Last Entertainment is the best. It starts out rather slowly, with an almost airy delivery as it kicks in. The delivery will be noticed immediately as it is very different from the vocals used on the rest of the album. This is much more spoken, rather like the poem from Metallica's To Live is To Die, and it seems to share a lyrical idea about Western Society's moral decay. The music being played is no better or worse than the rest of the album, but that is high praise considering the excellence that preceded it. The main benefit to the song is just how heavy it is with the gravity of the vocals and lyrics. Between all of it, you will remember this song long after the album stops.

Life Cycle may look at this album's chin, Energetic Disassembly may look at his mouth, but only Killing Technology may look No More Color in the eyes. As far as tech-thrash goes, this is what all but one aspires to be. As far as who I would recommend it to, I honestly am not sure who I couldn't recommend this to. Unlike most of this subset of thrash, I don't have to worry about someone else's attention span. It's also not so fast that I could blow away more of a hard-rock or alternative fan. Considering the acumen that goes into the execution, I could also see a Jazz fan at least taking a peek. To sum it up, this is one of the best albums I've ever heard, and I would recommend anyone who reads this and hasn't heard this classic, to do so immediately.

A thrilling, chilling thing of beauty - 100%

autothrall, March 22nd, 2011

How does one improve upon perfection? What does one offer a king who lacks for no worldly possession? Coroner have your answer, but you'll have to traverse the cold and mechanical depths of their third album No More Color to understand why. Having already embarked on a remarkable musical journey into the tortured, glorious back waters of human sanity through their stunning debut R.I.P. and its colossal, flawless followup Punishment for Decadence, the Swiss set upon themselves to broach modernity. Thus the cleaner, clinical production found here, the more biting eaves of progressive thrash and lyrics honed even more focally onto depression, social unrest, pathology and media mindwashing. Yet, there is no sign shown here of abandoning the spurious fits of technical brilliance that first manifest through R.I.P.

This album is unbelievable. Now I love Punishment for Decadence like any man would love a skilled handjob, but No More Color is somehow even more important. In all honesty, if some theoretical situation were to arrive in which I was to be incarcerated and allowed only about ten albums to take with me, I could not pass on this.. Each of the eight compositions is highly potent, polished and writhing with ideas. It doesn't fly off the hook quite so much as Punishment, but here the effect of the band's proficiency is more one of drugged, surgical envelopment from which there is no escape from the ensuing paranoia. A labyrinthine lobotomy, each node of the human brain then being jolted with electrodes of pleasure and pain. It's a little less airy than the first two albums, the band having cycled towards its third producer/engineer in three albums. Pete Hinton's mix is a more confrontational and direct than Harris Johns or Gary Bidmead, with the riffing more central and swaggering and loud.

Most importantly, this is a burst of fresh, carnal creativity. Punishment was a heightening and polishing of the R.I.P. aesthetic benchmark, but No More Color takes Vetterli's incessant riffing genius into new corridors of clarity. "Die By My Hand" is one of the best metal songs I've ever heard, opening with Edelmann's escalating kit warfare into a harrowing, complex groove and a triumphant chorus break over which Tommy's punctual squealing marries Royce's predictable, dark poetry to give the impression that some insane choir of killers is howling it at both the witness and the empty sky. "No Need to Be Human" conjures a razor-like, numbing guitar rhythm with dense, compact fills and a Brave New World dystopian lyrical slant. 'Why do you do this...stop it now/'cos in fact you're innocent, like a newborn child' might not seem like such a clever chorus, but when placed in the beautiful rhythmic pattern here it's emotionally wrenching, and both of the bridges are effortlessly executed: the first a fast, cyclic thrashing and the latter evoking some bluesy slides before the well balanced cavorting of the lead.

"Read My Scars" starts and stops with warlike pallor, then emits another excellent verse riff with incredible fills, especially the mix of bass and guitar melody around :40, and the speed metal outbreak over which Vetterli scales off in the bridge. "D.O.A." is fucking surgery incarnate, with one of the most creepy, unnerving thrusts of guitar in the verse that make you feel as if you were literally on the table, under the damned knives, praying to escape malpractice as the local chirurgeon's eyes glare at you, curious and bloodshot. I don't know if I could pick a favorite on No More Color, but "Mistress of Deception" (along with "Die By My Hand") threatens such status with a frenetic fill at 1:00 that threatens to make the listener's eyes melt out of his/her already impacted cranium. Other points to note are the rhythm guitar below the middle of the lead at around 1:40, and the popping flux of the bridge beginning around 2:30. Yeah. Go change your shorts, I've already done the same.

Yet, Coroner has even more strategies at work. "Tunnel of Pain" hammers out a kinetic, rapid bass intro before it spirals out into the rafters like a love child of Escher and Beethoven. Totally love the bridge here, a moment of shining near-tranquility below which Royce's bass throbs before the incredible, minimal breakdown at around 2:20, soon joined by arching leads. "Why It Hurts" maintains the steady thrust of the previous song, a stolid and acrobatic thrashing with a break that screams out at you (1:15) before Tommy T Baron once again begins an exercise in making the listener jealous of his craftsmanship. "Last Entertainment", the suitable end to this bout of maddened audio mirth, is the most experimental. Steve Rispin's guest synthesizers ramble off behind a choppy mid-paced escalation, joined by a spoken word narrative, made strangely poignant by the strong accent of Royce. However, there are some beautiful leads here and its truly atmospheric, sucking the observer straight into a new reality of light and shadow.

You'll have to forgive my excess gushing over this one. No More Color is an album that changed me, changed my perception of what was possible within the metal genre. Like several others that had come before it: Reign in Blood, Master of Puppets, Powerslave, Killing Technology or Abigail to name only a few, it helped test the boundaries of what was possible in this medium, a staunch and serious evolution that dispensed with the trends and stereotypes. This isn't exactly Twisted Sister or Quiet Riot. It's artistry is far more daring. There is not a second on this album I would change if I was even given a time machine and complete license to do so. It is perfection from fore to aft, and though it's not the first such summit reached by this Swiss legend, it's the first to which I'd direct any intrepid explorer who wishes to shoulder its brilliant burden. Own it. Or continue to suck as a human being.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

LORDS OF THE SAWBLADE LP!!! - 97%

MarbhDamhsa, March 10th, 2009

This record is so fucking AWESOME! It's the perfect blend of insanely gonzo guitar work combined with the catchy riff work from Punishment but done so much better. Although Watchtower's first may be more technical, I find THIS to be head and shoulders above the rest with it's sick guitar tone and Ron Royce's demented accent. It's not as complex as the next album, but it's more accessible and I find the songwriting to be much stronger.

Insane shit to be found here. The album lurches into existence with some insane Iron Maiden worship. Tommy T. Baron is doing the work of at least nineteen guitarists here teaching everyone within five miles how to fucking play guitar. Unlike most bands where the lead guitar kind of sits around doing nothing in the verses, there are little solos thrown in everywhere here. The guitar tone is twisted sounding scratchy and trebley and like their amps had a bit too much to drink. It's really unique - the only other band I can think of with a tone like it is Shah (who almost no one has heard of).

Bring a three piece tech band, the bass is very prominent. At times it's played almost as a main instrument, like in the opener. Other times, it comes out of nowhere to be the focus. Case in point: under the solo of "Why it Hurts", which just happens to be one of the highlights. Here, Ron Royce does some tasteful work immediately before Tommy launches into a bay area styled thrash break except technical times a million - every single riff is different. "WHAT is the next riff???"

Read My Scars is my absolute favorite from the album. It starts with some well timed pauses (none of that full stop half-thrash bullshit), and chugs along before blasting into an uber-technical solo - more technical that every third-rate thrash band combined. Then around 2:15 Tommy plays a section of haunting arpeggios sounding a bit like the intro to "The Exorcist" (Possessed).

Other highlights include D.O.A., No Need to be Human ("IDENTITY LOST!"), and Tunnel of Pain with it's catchy chorus and again, the guitar work.

There are no down spots to this album, no moments of "what the fuck are you thinking". This one's all winners all the time. Coroner never had a finer moment.

Die By My Hand - 95%

6black6label6, January 2nd, 2008

(this may have been sent twice due to connection probelms)

Rarely do I hear one demo from a band and fall in love. But with Coroner, that has happened, upon hearing the "Death Cult" demo; I searched as far as I could for any releases and stumbled upon this gem of an album. No More Color is a raunchy buffet of technical everything, threatening vocals, and the haunting, yet soothing harmonies of 3 very talented musicians.

The whole journey begins with "Die By my Hand" possibly the most heard of all Coroner songs. The bass and drums rush into the foreground, then taken over but a fast and shedding mini solo. The timing of the whole song, if not the whole album are sickening (in a good way). And when the deep and crunchy vocals of Ron Boyce emerge you cannot help but be sodomized my awesomeness.

Throughout the album there is a wide array of different styles, but all end up with a thrash feel all around. The 2nd song "No Need to Be Human" has bluesy and groovy beat and tune reminiscent of something your parents would listen to. We jump to "Mistress of Deception" and slightly slower, yet more moderate song, with some more interesting timing, with an Egyptian interlude that slows things down, and then into a riff that would make one recount some sort of Led Zeppelin tune.

The lyrics are pretty intense, sung with what may seem a cross between Tom Araya and 1990's Dave Mustaine. But it’s not, it’s Coroner. When you find a band with such musical prowess, the lyrics are usually an after thought, but they are just as well thought up as the riffs.

All in all, if any of you see this album, buy it, it ranks up with some of the greatest thrash releases in the last 20 years. Bold statement, but once you give it a listen, your may find yourself wanting to listen to it again and again,

Black and White Thrash - 92%

Conor, April 29th, 2007

I bought this album from a local retailer after the guy who worked there strongly recommended it. It was an impulse buy that I would not regret. From the first time I played it, I was blown away by the sick sound that the band had. The drums are solid yet elaborate, the production is low key and most importantly, the riffs rip your head off and rape your decapitated throat.

Coroner is not a radio-friendly band by any means. Most of their tracks take three or four listens to get into completely and the production leaves a lot to be desired. That’s what makes the album a lot more rewarding when you appreciate each song individually. The time changes in the middle of songs can sometimes take the “oomph” out of a song but usually they are expertly pulled off by Coroner. “No Need to be Human” for example, is quite slow but still heavy as fuck. D.O.A builds from a slow part to a neck snapping riff fest, and is probably the best song on the album.

There is not one weak song on the album, and that’s what makes it so good. You can listen to the full album without having to skip a track or two. Each song brings a new quality to the table and makes for an interesting listen. “Last Entertainment” sounds completely different from the typical generic thrash scene and stands out as an excellent track. A quick word about the solos too. Tommy “T” Baron does an excellent job here. They range from emotional and heartfelt solos (Mistress of Deception) to simple whammy-wankery ala Kerry King (Why It Hurts) but everything is done tastefully and suits the passage of the song.

My only gripe with this album would be the vocal performance of Ron Royce. I can’t make out a word he is saying. This isn’t meant to be death metal guys, the album would have been much better with an intelligible vocalist. These types of vocals have a time and a place but for progressive, technical thrash, they do not work.

In summary, this album is very much underrated in the metal world and should be in much more people’s collections. With better production and a heavier sound, it would have turned a few more people’s heads. The bass guitar can barely be heard at most points on the album. A bit of help with promotion from the record company wouldn’t have hurt either. This is a pity since the material on the album is stellar and among the genre’s finest.

MY VAGINA IS OVERRUN BY MONKEYS!! - 85%

UltraBoris, May 15th, 2004

Don't you love it when you have a thrash album on LP for three years, on mp3 for at least two more years... and have never bothered to listen to it...

and then you find out that it's COMPLETELY FUCKING AWESOME!!!!

I hadn't really ever checked out this album, because I found Mental Vortex somewhat of a downer, but I really should have, given that Punishment for Decadence is just completely fucking awesome... and, it turns out, so is this!

This is pretty much the convex-hull of the two (Punishment and Vortex), as extrapolated into "good idea" space. Namely, the added technicality of the latter, combined with the sheer catchiness of the former. There are no moronic midpaced Meshuggah moments to be found here... not that the whole LP is blazing fast, but when it slows down, it doesn't get all self-absorbed and meandering. Even the last song, Last Entertainment, with its strange spoken vocals and twisting solos, is excellent. This is pretty much the second coming of the first Watchtower LP, except with Tommy T's crazy accented vocals, and a somewhat fatter guitar tone. The first demo, this is not - they've standardised the production pretty heavily by now.

Bass is pretty accented on the album, both as overt bass runs (first notes of Die By My Hand to fade in, intro of Tunnel of Pain, and also one break in D.O.A.) or as just the underlying work that perks up here and there (some parts of No Need to be Human, under the solo in Why it Hurts), but it's the guitars that really put on a clinic. From the insanely complex, but hella fucking catchy, first guitar lick of Die by My Hand, which resembles Iron Maiden on steroids, to the riff that immediately follows it... holy christ, this is GOOD!!!

There should be a warning label on this album. The only way it can be properly enjoyed is if you undergo rigourous training for a few months, snapping your spine and letting it heal and grow back at greater strength, because when you put in this album, your entire vertebratic system will be given an exercising that the untrained human is just not prepared for. Also, don't be pregnant, under 48 inches tall, or a fagwad. Opeth fans, just go back to the fecal buttsex, stay away from this one. This is prog METAL, unlike the feeble shit whose cock you suck. I think the middle section of Read my Scars, after the chorus, all minute or so of it, is more technical, and more awesome, than all of Opeth's career combined.

Oh yeah, check out the insane soloing too. This is a complete fucking guitar clinic to be found here. Spine snapping, earth fucking, monkeys coming from over the hills, the apocalypse comes and it ain't cute in any way shape or form. Christianity, Kurt Cobain, Victorian literature, dadaism, and other banals, pack up your loved ones and stick your asses into your cunts, because THRASH is still the ultimate expression of the human condition.

Highlights? All of them. Holy christ, this is a back-breaker. This is probably their most consistent album, and quite possibly their best. Blazing riffage, combined with the occasional bay area staple counterpoint (Why it Hurts), executed with technical perfection, and of course, there's blood upon the stage.

I AM THE CHRIST OF THE MONKEY PEOPLE!!!!

("what is up with your obsession with monkeys?")