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Mercyful Fate meets Celtic Frost - 90%

Dungeon_Vic, January 22nd, 2016
Written based on this version: 2014, CD, No Remorse Records (Limited edition)

In a 2011 interview for the Greek Metal Hammer, Marquis Marky claimed that Mercyful Fate was the most important band in shaping Coroner's sound. Listening to their debut "R.I.P." such a thing is not obvious. It's an interesting mix of wild, technical thrash, what Mercyful Fate?

The question will be answered when you listen to this demo. There are no vocals ala King Diamond of course, on the contrary, the microphone is subjected to the grunts of Tom G. Warrior's (of Hellhammer / Celtic Frost / Triptykon fame), who was a friend of the band and responsible for them finding a home in Noise later. However, the style and playing of the compositions are totally in the heavy metal style of Mercyful Fate. Obviously, you will not find here the divine soloing of Michael Denner or King's other-wordliness. Those are replaced by a dose of Celtic Frost, due to the vocals obviously but also the influence, which is very prominent on the last song of the demo, Invincible.

The demo itself is a fine specimen of dark heavy metal, with a sound infinitely better than the dubbed tape (nth generation) that I had in my possession for years, which proves to be a highly enjoyable listen. You can definitely hear the first glimpses of Coroner, albeit in embryonic form, but the result is far away from their later thrash course, before they speed up and hone their playing abilities.

That change is evident in the bonus tracks, three of them included in this version. You can hear the Coroner we know on those, excellent songs all of them (so, unreleased tracks that COUNT). Hate, Fire, Blood sound-wise belongs in the company of the "R.I.P." songs. Arrogance in Uniform was previously available only on the Doomsday News compilation by Noise (vol.I, all three volumes were quite wonderful by the way) and it's so good it would stand out even on "Punishment for Decadence", while Final Excretion, comes from the Punishment for Decadence pre-production demo.

This version is absolutely essential to any fan of the band, completist or not, particularly those who prefer their more straight-forward thrash years but it would also appeal to fans of Warrior ("ugh" included!).

A Solid Demo. - 85%

666MazeOfTorment666, October 25th, 2011

As technical thrash metal pioneers, Coroner's Death Cult is a very great release with intense vocals and unique music. This demo is great, but not as outstanding as Coroner on the classic R.I.P or any of their other later Full-lengths.

Let me start by saying I love Celtic Frost and Coroner. With that being said, I think it can be agreed Tom Gabriel Warrior's vocals are an intense addition to Coroner's musical abilities and Coroner demonstrates their musical abilities on Death Cult time and time again, especially their guitarist Tommy T. Baron. The riffs and leads on here played by Tommy Baron are very creative and enjoyable to listen to. For example, the harmonies and riffs in the song Spectators of Sin demonstrate what the true sound of technical metal is all about. Tommy shows an incredible amount of creativity in each song with his speed and overall composition. While this may seem all well and good, at times it seems as if he juggles his riffs in songs a bit too often and the timing is a bit off as well. There are too many timing signatures and an overwhelming overload of riffs that at times can seem irritating.

The bass is inaudible at points, but when it's heard you can see that all Ron does is follow the key and is limited to few fills, but the bass fills that stand out are the ones on Spiral Dream at about mid-point through the song. This is nothing compared to his later works which is a disappointment, but it's still okay on Death Cult. His fills on Spiral Dream are unique, but aren't displayed enough throughout the entire demo like they should be.

The drumming is very good. The cymbal work is creative and constantly changing and the drum fills are very heavy and fast. The only problem is that at times the bass drum is inaudible at moments throughout the demo due to the production. The point where drumming is at i's finest on Death Cult is on track 4, The Invincible.

Coroner's musical abilities are great. There is no doubt about it. But what wraps the demo together into a great work of old-school metal is Tom G. Warrior. The fact that his intense vocals are combined with Coroner's talent on Death Cult is one of many things that makes this demo so great. He displays his talent throughout the demo with a constant kick-ass vocal attack that gives the demo an all around raw and heavy tone.

With all of the above being stated, the demo is a solid one. The only things that really make it only good and not a step ahead is the production and an inaudible and borderline lazy bass.

Coroner progresses musically from this demo on the later releases in many ways as well. I really would recommend this to fans of Celtic Frost, Toxik, Artillery, etc.

Bitchin'. - 75%

Chthonicisms, March 19th, 2011

Some of the most fun you'll ever have listening to metal, Death Cult delivers the goods but stops just short of being amazing.

Any seasoned metal listener will immediately notice the vocalist- Tom G. Warrior gives exactly what one would expect and hope to hear from him. That being out of the way, the (other) first thing one notices in this demo is the ridiculous energy it possesses. Much darker sounding than their later output, one would be hard-pressed to think of anything resembling the word "shred" when listening to this - it is straight-out, balls-to-the-wall thrashing metal fury. The dynamics are excellent; riffs change far too abruptly for inattention to set in, much less boredom.

This however also shows the album's primary weakness; a lot of those same changes are too abrupt. When played as simple background music to get your head banging, almost nothing beats this release. But on a more attentive listen, it becomes apparent that there is a definite overeagerness here. Many of the changes from one riffing pattern to another simply feel tacked on to each other; this makes for a rollicking and energetic listen but for those who want their metal to mean something more than AAARRRRGH it might be disappointing.

Fortunately, the purity of that same energy far outshines the lack of subtlety in the way these songs develop. Both "Spiral Dream" and, in particular, the instrumental "Aerial Combat" are adrenalin in musical form, and the other two tracks provide a perfect lead-in and -out to the demo's overall experience. This could easily have stood in as the band's first studio release, and with some more compositional patience may have even come to outshine everything else in the same style.

Definitely a worthwhile listen for anyone into speed or thrash metal. Don't be surprised if it becomes a little less powerful after a year or two - but don't be surprised that it never loses the majority of its appeal either.

Decent thrash, but shitty production! - 72%

PowerMetalGuardian, March 5th, 2003

This is some decent thrash, however the production of the demo is pure shit. The thing I liked most about this album were the riffs and solo's The guitar work is pure thrash style fast then slow riffs that kick your ass. Solo's are unbelievably fast and well produced. This riffs are probably the only thing that save this demo though. You can definetly tell that the guitars were recorded with crappy production. It's static at sometimes and muffled at other times. Another good thing about this album is the vocals; decent thrash style straight out vocals. However, even the vocals can be muffled at times, once again thanks to shitty production. The only thing that isn't muffled is the drums. They come in pretty clear. In the middle of Spiral Dream there is a part where the guitar plays and then the bass. The bass guitar sounds like it is being picked with a piece of shit. Just an awful sound and awful production. The songs are pretty jamming with great riffs and beats! Surely not the greatest, but it was a good step for Coroner to become the thrash band that they were!

Celtic Frost worship meets lethal thrash riffs - 83%

UltraBoris, August 21st, 2002

You know that Testament album where they start off with all the numbers and finally converge on "6"? It goes "666". Well, so does this album. So Testament being all creative and shit, fuck them. Then, we start with some vicious fucking thrash riffs. The guitar tone on this album - holy fucking feces fuckstick!! This thing would slice your grandmother in three and feed them to each other, only to eat the last remaining survivor!!! Combine with Tom G. Warrior's vocals, this is truly a masterpiece.

The first three songs are all-out thrash - the riffs are very crisp, very well defined, very nicely done. The fourth song, "The Invincible", is total Celtic Frost. Kinda slow and then gets really fucking fast. Slow again, then fucking fast. "The invincible!!!!" This song owns. It's no Triumph of Death, but it is a fitting tribute.

Then, "Arrogance in Uniform" is from 1987, and has Ron Royce on vocals. A pretty decent song, something that would not sound out of place on RIP. Pretty nice. The last track, "Hate Fire Blood" is about a minute long and its purpose escapes me. That's okay - it's a demo, and one of the best ever!