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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.