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Swiss-Tech Thrash! - 75%

absurder21, April 6th, 2012

Coroner is a technical thrash metal band from Switzerland who came to be in the late ’80s when the popularity of thrash was still strong. Coming from a country with little to no reputation for metal of any kind, other than extreme metal godfathers Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Coroner found themselves struggling to break through into the popularity of bands from the USA or even their German cohorts such as Kreator or Sodom. So even after releasing cult favourites such as R.I.P. (1987), Punishment for Decadence (1988) and No More Colour (1989), the band decided to call it quits in 1996. But with the rise of the internet, Coroner have found themselves gaining more popularity than they ever had before. Thanks to the internet, the technical thrash subgenre found itself gaining great amounts of popularity and Coroner seem to have become household names for the genre. Thus in 2011 Coroner returned to touring, even getting spots in major European festivals such as Hellfest and Wacken Open Air.

So at the beginning of Coroner’s journey we have one of the band’s biggest fan favourites, R.I.P. This is an album that is well within the thrash metal genre, having the breakneck aggressive riffing, raspy growled vocals, and hardcore punk-like drumming that are characteristic staples of the genre. But while those base elements are present, the record has a higher tier of technical work than most bands. The lead guitar department here is well within the level of rock guitar virtuosity one could expect from Steve Vai, as well as the neo-classical sounding arpeggios from Yngwie Malmsteen. The rhythm work of the bass, guitar, and drumming contains lots of head-spinning jazz and prog rock-inspired twists, turns, and time changes that even manage to spin circles around a lot of modern technical metal bands. There are also plenty of acoustic guitar bits that are tastefully infused with classical music in the right way to set an old yet ominous and dark atmosphere that is then contrasted with the anxious and raw metal riffing.

However, despite the headspinning guitar work and some great riffs, this record does seem more like a hint at greater things to come as opposed to being the great end product. A few songs tend to drag and although songs like “Reborn Through Hate” and “R.I.P.” are memorable, a lot of other songs aren’t. The production could also have been better as it finds itself being muddy at times, which turns the technical spinning into incoherent wailing at some points. But if you’re into a fun thrash ride that twists and turns the right amount of times and that has a unique amount of technicality to it, then I think this will make for an interesting listen, but isn’t as classic as the following albums Punishment for Decadence and No More Colour. 6.9/10

Best Tracks: Reborn Through Hate, Nosferatu, Spiral Dream, R.I.P, Fried Alive.

How do you top this? - 100%

tylr322, November 28th, 2011

Nothing compares to this, think of the most brutal albums of thrashing terror: "Darkness Descends", "Spectrum of Death", "Eternal Devastation", "Reign in Blood" None of these even brush a whisker on this album and even though all those albums are pretty dear to me and are definitely classic thrash albums, the ridiculous amount of unrestricted, talent unleashed on R.I.P simply cannot be denied or succeeded.

Coroner's R.I.P is not thrash in the most typical sense. In fact, the songs on this album are at their least interesting when they resort to playing more standard thrash metal riffs which don't appear too often. Any ordinary riff that appears is quickly replaced with the Veterelli's mind blowing rhythm guitar which is riddled with tasteful licks. For example, well actually this is not a good example of an average riff but for the sake of argument, the first song "Reborn through Hate" starts slowly with a "standard riff" (which is actually good) that transforms into a shockingly impressive and blazing neo classical frenzy of unparallelled and seemingly endless riffs. I mean how do you even describe this fiesta of excellence. Listen to "When Angels Die", the remarkable twisting and winding riffs here contain more notes than most thrash albums have. The instrumental track, "Nosferatu" is a three and half minute display emotional and unrealistic talent, If the soloing towards the end doesn't make you cry you are a fucking pussy.

The whole band (when I say whole i mean just 3 fucking guys) seem to all be geniuses. The drummer is only trying to add as much to the structure of the songs as possible and not just play really fast. There is so much going on in each song that it's practically impossible to do anything else other than sit in your chair and experience multiple aural orgasms over and over. Bassist and vocalist Ron is exceptional and most of the time his skills on bass are clear, not to mention his bizarre and intriguing vocals. Now I don't know what I'm going to try and complain about here, I guess there is some small amount of repetition in some of the solos, but in amongst all the hyper activity you won't even notice and it just doesn't matter really, the band is hardly out of ideas. Reviewing this album I was undecided on whether I would give it ten out of ten, because it is not entirely consistent and some songs outshine others ever so slightly. What you have to remember is the lesser impressive songs in relation to this album alone would be considered absolute masterpieces on any other thrash album, so what does that make the most impressive songs on this album...

The entire thrash scene has been outplayed by this album and the two albums that would follow. I can't even see a tribute album containing marginally, similar qualities ever being released. They are not just some of the greatest thrash metal albums, but also musically genius pieces of work that are severely overlooked, I mean recently this stuff has been getting some recognition, but no large amount of praise would be too much for Coroner's early works. One can only sit back and laugh at the current, crowded scene of Sepultura / Kreator / Slayer, worshiping, retro, thrash clones who's only goal is to recycle old riffs and bark about thrashing, posers and beer. Sorry kids, but Tankard is the only band where the beer drinking novelty will probably never wear off.

A seminar on stupendous, realized potential - 92%

autothrall, March 22nd, 2011

While they would easily prove one of the most proficient, memorable and talented European thrash acts to hatch in the 80s, Switzerland's Coroner arrived through humble beginnings. They started out as a more traditional metal outfit until their 1986 demo Death Cult, and they had strong connections to that 'other' legendary Swiss band, Celtic Frost. Tommy 'T Baron' Vetterli and Markus 'Marquis Marky' Edelmann served as roadies for the Tragic Serenades tour. Oliver Amberg (who would later join Frost for their unpopular Cold Lake years) was an early part of the lineup. Most notably, Tom G. Warrior himself performed the vocals on the Death Cult demo, when the style of the band shifted closer to the entity that the once unstoppable Noise records would snap up in a heartbeat.

For the most part, though, that is where the similarities between the two bands end. Coroner could not have been any more different from the demonic, experimental black doom thrashers. They were writing highly technical, neo-classically charged infusions of thrash with the world had not yet encountered. Hell, with the exception of bands like Germany's Mekong Delta (or Deathrow on the Deception Ignored album), we haven't really encountered since. About the one trait that could be comparable would be the vocals of Ron Roye (aka Ron Broyer), which are not dissimilar to Tom Warrior, a dark and throaty concoction that conjures a barbaric, brute juxtaposition with the manic, exhilarating guitar work. Truly, we had bands out there playing with crass intensity that could twist skulls straight off their vertebrae (Slayer, Dark Angel, Tankard just to name a few); but none of these had Tommy T Baron, a shred-born anomaly who would tirelessly execute Baroque and other hyperventilated scales with fluid precision in the core riffs of the compositions (disregarding the actual leads).

Even more impressive is that the rhythm section was not intimidated in the slightest by this raving lunatic. Royce is highly capable himself, traversing the same grounds on the bass where needed; and Edelmann, though rooted in the traditional metal and rock drumming, provided a tight formation over which the pair could spiral off into madness. R.I.P. is a mind warping beast of a debut, potent and graceful in its controlled chaos, imbued with an unwavering morbidity that easily justified their chosen handle. Granted, a lot of the ideas here would be further exploited and perfected through the band's next pair of albums, Punishment for Decadence and No More Color, two of the greatest works I've ever had the privilege to own, but for its day, the debut is quite close to perfect itself, with an airy and wonderful Harris Johns mix. Seriously, this guy had a radar attractor to talent, and Coroner is yet another act he helped unveil to the world through his studio wizardry.

I am not exaggerating when I claim that this Swiss band, at least from 1987 through 1991, represented one of the high water marks of thrash metal, helping set such a standard for this genre that I have been forever spoiled for so many of the pathetic throwbacks and neanderthals who have tried to redefine it to a more primate state since. Coroner do more than just make you never want to pick up an instrument again out of envy: they write damned good songs. They pace their albums extremely well. Here, the beautiful pianos and resonant flutes of the intro are broached with windy samples, as if a trace of sunlight were dawning upon a sepulcher, its still denizens about to awaken, pick up instruments and channel the brilliant composers of years past. Then those very same undead minstrels flog the living fuck out of thee with "Reborn Through Hate", one of the best songs on this album and one of the highlights of the band's career, its snakelike, menacing rhythms colliding into the gymnastics of the bass and drums, and Royce giving his 'official' introduction with barked, almost constipated force.

"When Angels Die" offers a few plush, atmospheric chords before it spins off into a frenzied foreshadowing of the guitar lines that would later manifest on "Mistress of Deception" (No More Color), and then a dour, acoustic intro with war samples and shredding transforms into the song "Nosferatu", which is naught more than beautiful, climactic shredding with some atmospheric glaze and keyboard strikes, but ambitious nonetheless. This is not an album short on highlights. "Suicide Command" will dizzy you with its high strung intro before the fast paced razor speed of the verse erupts. "R.I.P." has a lush, attractive intro, an echoed vocal narrative over thick bass lines and clean, reverbed guitars before a thundering mid gait. "Coma" and "Totentanz" are likewise legendary extractions, and I love the atmospheric charge of the 'outro' with its angelic choir synthesizers. Perhaps the only songs I don't blow my lid and load over immediately are "Fried Alive" and "Spiral Dreams", the latter hailing from the Death Cult demo and included only on the CD version of the debut, but both are competent and do nothing to break the momentum.

The amount of effort placed in a debut like this is earthshaking. From a composition standpoint, there was more going on in particular tracks than some thrashers create for an entire album. Yet, Coroner never feels like they are wanking off, or overindulging themselves. Certainly there is some degree of flash and flair due to Vetterli's exorbitant performance, but it all fits into the puzzle so beautifully that it just never occurs that he might be showing off. In a period already saturated with so many great or even brilliant albums (Reign in Blood, Finished With the Dogs, Master of Puppets, Zombie Attack, Terrible Certainty, Darkness Descends all just a few examples), the Swiss band still managed to stand out as one to watch with a frightening anticipation, and a superb setup to its spotless successors.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Classically-influenced blaze of glory. - 80%

Chthonicisms, March 19th, 2011

Some of the best speed/thrash metal you'll hear, bar none; Coroner's first album displays them adopting an entirely different style from their introductory demo and also showcases one of the few tasteful inclusions of shred in heavier music.

While retaining the intensity and energy of Death Cult, R.I.P. is ultimately an entirely different beast. Although instrumental ability was by no means subtle in the former, it becomes a central aspect here. The riffs are just as moving as before, if slightly less heavy, but it is the proliferation of solos that give this band's first LP its primary strength.

That being said, it should be noted that all those solos by no means stand on their own. Whereas they are easily the most exciting thing on the album, they derive a lot of their effect from the fact that they are backed by good riffs, good song structures, and a good sense of where to place them and (perhaps more importantly) where NOT to place them. Although one can easily call them shredding solos, at the same time they do not possess any of the cheesines associated with that term. Truth is, they stand out not because they are so much better than the rest of the music, but because they make the rest of the music sound so damn good.

The album starts off well, but does not immediately possess you nearly as powerfully as it does throughout the entire middle section. With the anthemic and unrelenting "When Angels Die" providing a good segue between the introductory song and the insanity that follows, everything from "Nosferatu" all the way through to and including "Coma" is an unstoppable wall of riffs that cascade in upon themselves, solos that build them back together, and a blazing sense of aggression and power that finds a voice that is not quite replicated anywhere else in this specific style of music. "Fried Alive" seems to lose some of that fury, but once "Totentanz" arrives it becomes clear that this was just to provide a necessary breather.

For any fan of speed metal or thrash metal this could easily be called essential listening. For any fan of good metal in general, it is a worth seeking out. Some of the initial awe wears off over time, but this is ultimately irrelevant as it still remains an outstanding piece of work that is sure to get your blood boiling in just the right way.

Underrated, But Brilliant Debut - 95%

Shadoeking, January 11th, 2011

Coroner's debut album from 1987 is one of the earlier examples of technical thrash metal. It is also a criminally underrated and oft-forgotten classic from the early years of thrash metal. Part of this may be due to the same limitation that groups like Artillery and Sabbat faced, being from an area that was not really known for thrash metal. Coroner is from Switzerland, not exactly a metal hotbed, despite producing Hellhammer/Celtic Frost by that point.

The band's debut album features some amazing technical riffwork and is one of the earliest thrash albums, I am aware of, that featured neoclassical shredding riffs. The pace of the riffs is almost always fast. This is a pummeling thrash metal album from beginning to end. The only respite are the occasional melodic, acoustic interludes, and even those do not last long.

Ron Royce's vocals sound amazingly like Tom G. Warrior's on early Celtic Frost material. The vocals are often snarled and do even feature the nonverbal grunting that Warrior used so extensively and to great effect. Royce also provides impressive basswork throughout the album.

The only real issue that I have with the album is the production. It's a little bit muddy and is not real loud. I can look past it though, because the songs on the album are so impressive.

This is a great album from the mid 1980's. Nothing else from that time sounds quite like it. Coroner did put out some more good albums after this, but in my opinion, nothing was quite as good as the band's debut.

Excellent debut - 92%

Metalwontdie, July 3rd, 2009

Coroner is easily one of the most underappreciated thrash bands of the 80’s. With R.I.P. Coroner began their career with an excellent album. The band members using their virtuosic capabilities made one of the first technical thrash metal albums and certainly one of the few thrash albums also combining neo-classical shred metal. R.I.P. is a defining debut and also a criminally underrated thrash classic that should be mentioned with the greats of thrash.

R.I.P. sounds like no other thrash album I have heard besides Coroner’s follow up Punishment For Decadence. On R.I.P. Coroner play high speed neo-classical tinged thrash riffs with virtuosic leads and solos. The tempo is almost entirely fast paced throughout except on the interludes. An intro a few interludes and an outro give R.I.P. some variety and a nice melodic atmosphere. R.I.P. uses a guitar picking style I have only heard on a few other thrash albums mainly Destructions Eternal Devastation and Coroners next album Punishment For Decadence. The sole instrumental Nosferatu is a clinic in neo-classical shredding and definitely would not sound out of place on an Yngwie J.Malmsteen album albeit the much higher rhythm speeds.

The band’s performance is excellent throughout R.I.P. Ron Royce’s vocals is the low point for R.I.P. and all of Coroner’s future releases he sounds like an early incarnation of death metal growls with a more shouting thrash metal style. Fortunately his bass playing is excellent I have to agree with “marktheviktor” that his playing style has a similar sound to Steve Harris of Iron Maiden instead of following the guitars he sounds like another lead guitar except lower. Tommy T. Baron’s guitar playing is easily the highlight of the album he is extremely underrated and has a very unique style that’s all his own. The drummer Marquis Marky is quite good changing rhythm frequently with the guitars and provides many fills and fast double kick bass for the time.

The downsides to this album are few but they are definitely noticeable. The production is the typical raw European thrash style with a murky sound and a very quiet volume. While the interludes are entertaining and useful for atmosphere purposes they could have been combined into the actual songs themselves instead adding more tracks to the album. Finally the second half is definitely weaker it sounds like Coroner ran out of ideas and decided to just repeat the formula from the first half albeit less solid.

Overall R.I.P. is a classic technical thrash assault that is almost always overlooked. Best songs are Reborn Through Hate, When Angels Die, Nosferatu, Suicide Command, and Coma. I highly recommend R.I.P. to any person who wants an excellent piece of technical thrash from Europe.

-2 points Ron Royce’s vocal performance
-2 points weaker second half of album
-2 points bad production
-2 points interludes not used properly

Coroner's R.I.P-ort - 94%

marktheviktor, December 30th, 2008

How I love Euro-thrash. Bands like Kreator, Sodom and Destruction bring such a raw aggression with a fervant hostility that many thrash bands across the Atlantic seem to lack. And Coroner is just another perfect example of this. R.I.P. is an album that could crash any thrash bash and would be so aggressive that you wouldn't get a hangover after the party because you would be too adrenalized. Maybe you would just want to keep listening until the end. I know I certainly would. It's that captivating.

Let me start out by stating what really grabbed me most about R.I.P. The very awesome influence of Iron Maiden's Killers felt on here. It cannot be denied. Killers is my favorite album by them so I was very excited to really hear its influence on this full on thrash metal treat. Ron Royce has the speedy thrust of hysteria that Paul Di'Anno was known for on Killers. You'll notice for example on Suicide Command, his punctuation of screaming when he sings "..haunting, seeking, finding, destroying-die!" Compare this to how Di'Anno sang, "remember to walk in the light!" on Killers. Royce spearheads the technical guitar structures with his bass that Steve Harris is known for. With the song Nosferatu you also get a none too veiled nod to Transylvania if you want to revel in even more Di'Anno era Maiden worship.

These songs are as black as the night and balmy with the stench of a desecrated cemetary. It's aptly titled as well. The riffs on here are generated with amazing skill and virtuosity. Though the bass on Coma pretty much follows the guitar, it sounds just as proficient as the six strings. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Tommy Baron used a hard-tail on the record. Every single note among every chord is played with ungodly precision. Every scale is finely tuned to maximize for depth and speed. It bears noting as well, that the vibratto is of the quantum variety. Meaning that it's there, bursting with energy, hinted at but contained for the purpose of creative and uniform intonation throughout. Take the track Reborn to Hate as an example. It has the similar neo-classical, shred-ready opening riff and tone that the great Randy Rhoades employed on a song like I Don't Know. It has that very same metallic richness of complex composition. When Angels Die follows a steel steady tempo with rigid linearity in lieu of repetition that implies a dose of black/thrash metal sound.

I cannot recommend this album enough. It screams out with the vigor of war and death of insane quantities and at a scary speed of proficiency. If I was forced to find any con with this album it would be like nitpicking the lint off of my old Coroner cut-off shirt.I would have to say, if anything, that R.I.P. lacks just a bit of crunch. That might not even be much of a criticism either. For all I know, it could be that I am just too used to hearing the Hanneman/King twin attack ritual to provide such a thing in thrash. I digress, this is a very different style and I love it all the more. The pros far outweigh any tiniest bit of cons you might find if you listened to it for yourself. This Swiss trio deals out thrash like the flash of a sword in a swift beheading. Bow your head.

Neoclassical fuckin' thrash - 99%

ozzeh, August 15th, 2007

Only recently have I come across the mind fuckingly insane riff monster known as Coroner. This album is different from what comes after it because "R.I.P." is faster and all of the guitar leads are derived from classical music. Maybe this album is so amazing to me due to my personal predilection towards classical music, nonetheless it is amazing musically as a whole.

The drums and bass compliment the guitar playing so well that it seems as if the music is completely subconscious and utterly fucking random at times. No other thrash band in history has ever written an instrumental brimming with talent so much as "Nosferatu" (also the title of one of the greatest speed metal albums ever by another classic band, the mighty Helstar).

The vocals are very low but audible for the most part. For the most part the vocals are great and mix with the music very well, but it's fucking thrash metal, so who in their right mind bitches about thrash metal vocalists unless they're truly fuckin' terrible **cough** Dave Mustaine **cough** or bordering on the musical abomination known as metalcore.

The drumming is very aggressive and just technical enough to keep up with the insane guitar playing. "Suicide Command", "Reborn Through Hate", and "When Angels Die" are straight up thrash songs with the ever present neoclassical guitar lead work courtesy of the amazing guitar virtuoso Tommy T. Baron. The bass is actually audible and helps keep the guitar playing cohesive. Overall, this album is just amazing and worthy of comparison to the very best of German thrash or any NY / Bay area U.S. thrash ever created. Truly must own shit.

Awesome tech thrash! - 92%

cyclone, April 10th, 2005

While being strongly influenced by Celtic Frost, Coroner decided to stick to thrash and not play death metal. THANK GOD. While still incorporating the gloomy atmosphere and technical elements of Celtic Frost into their music, they actually managed to thrash like few else could. With the little intros and the dark atmosphere, this really isn't as straight forward as Punishment For Decadence, but it's far more sane and fuck-it-all metal than their later works.

Coroner are actually a three piece band, and it works out really well. The vocals are a bit raspy, but very well done and they fit in perfectly. The vocalist, Ron Royce also handles bass. Since there's no second guitar, bass lines don't just follow the guitars... Ron plays some nice bass leads and helps to make songs fuller. Tommy T. Baron is one of the most underrated guitarist in thrash metal. His guitar work is absolutely amazing. And TECHNICAL. His leads and solos are really mindblowing to say the least. While having a really progressive and technical feel to it, the leads still manage to be melodic and to shred the place up. The riffs are good, but the ones on Punishment are better. The drumming is quite diverse and nicely done.

As said before, this record has four little interludes (3 intros and the outro). They build up the atmosphere really well. Intros to Nosferatu and Totentanz are acoustic passages, the record into is a really nice piano piece and the outro is some random shredding.
All songs on here are very good or good at worst, but two of them are a true masterpieces. Nosferatu is a technical lead and riff fest for the guitarist. Classical influences can be heard, but don't worry - it also manages to thrash HARD. Totentanz is the thrashiest song of the album. It has a great intro riff and a great vocal performance in the verses. Nice to sing along to.

Coroner really made a landmark in technical thrash with this record. To this day, R.I.P. remains one of the best European thrash records. If you like thrash or if you just want to discover some good new music, try it!