Coroner is probably the most overlooked Thrash Metal band ever seen on a stage. I do not feel tempted to use the word underrated, because those who have fathomed over their discography will surely agree that they were one of the finest bands out there. This could be because of several reasons, of which the most significant is that they simply were ahead of their time. Their brand of unique and intrincate Thrash never grabbed the huge audience it deserved, being not as accesible nor advertised as other bands within the genre.
is Coroner´s first release ever, and it consists of a six-song demo. Recorded and released in 1986, it features the original line-up the band would hold over their carreer, with the addition of Tom G. Warrior, from Celtic Frost, on vocals. As at the time Coroner acted as road crew for the legendary band, Warrior accepted to take the vocals duty.
The album itself is just what you would expect from a Coroner demo if you have listened to their later releases. It has a very raw feel to it, due mainly to the subpar production. Twisted riffs, and harmonies stand for Tommy Vetterli signature sound, the guitar work being the standout of the record. The material feels fresh all over the album, despite it seems a tad unfocused at times, and variation is present throughout. The riffs and song themselves could fit on Coroner´s later releases like R.I.P.
or Punishment for Decadence
. Of course, Death Cult
is reminiscent of Celtic Frost's first albums, a huge influence of them, but it already gives hints on the style of Technical Thrash Coroner would later develop and improve.
The album's big downside has to be its production. It is very raw for its good, and sometimes makes Ron Royce's bass practically inaudible, which is a shame given the fact that he is one of the finest bassists on the genre. Also the sound is not clear enough, it seems as if it were somehow muffled, which is a disadvantage for the sound. Drums are clear enough though, and rather enjoyable.
Individually, the songs are all very strong and variated, with tempo changes and different speeds. If I had to pick one as the most coherent and standout of the album, that one would be Arrogance in Uniform
, which has a charming riff that reminds of the best moments of Punishment for Decadence
without losing its sense of originality. Also it features a clearer production and Ron Broder on vocals (the same as Hate, Fire, Blood
), because they were recorded separetely from the other four tracks.
This is undoubtedly a fine demo for what it is. Even if the band's later work would surpass this album from every point of view, this stands as the modest beginning of a top-notch band, perhaps the best one the genre has ever seen, and has its own value as an album. If you can overlook production issues, and are ready to have a good time thrashin, then this is an album for you.