Review Summary: The crowned jewel of all Technical Thrash
After releasing three albums which showed Coroner’s upward curve in terms of musicianship and songwriting, one could easily believe that the band’s peak was hit with the masterpiece of the genre that was No More Color
. While that certainly is a respectable opinion and could be upholded with strong arguments, it is in my humble opinion on Mental Vortex
where they put together all their brilliance in order to release their most well-structured, mechanical and carefully calculated release.
is one of the most unusual Thrash Metal albums on the scene. It works flawlessly, analogously to the way a mechanical clock does. Everything seems to be in the right place, the tight riffs, the management of the diverse tempos, the dynamic arrangement. The utilization of a more progressive nature that does not abound on the genre is one of the keys that makes this such an effective and captivating album.
If the sheer precision and outstanding musicianship distinguished No More Color
, Mental Vortex
focuses on the songwriting more than ever before. The different structures of all the compositions of the album are carefully crafted and really unexpected, twisting every now and then in diverse directions. This is noticeable from the very beginning with the epic opener Divine Step
. The band introduced a new level of complexity on their music, but does not abuse of this, shaping a particular mood on the songs which is very enjoyable. This is reflected on the song lenghts, which have been increased a bit compared to previous outfits, but none of them tend to drag fortunately.
All these virtues are inflected with a very balanced mix, which marries the characteristics of Coroner’s sound seamlessly, even Ron Broder’s raspy and attractive vocals. The guitar parts sound very fresh and are the centre piece of the sound. Production makes Tommy Vetterly’s twisted, beautiful and even mesmerizing riffs to outstand. His playing here is absolutely brilliant, not only in terms of his usual skillful way of executing, but also in his great addition to the overall sound, focusing more than ever before on the song structures and odd patterns that distinguish this album. The bass parts are also an important part of the final product, following constantly the exquisite guitar lines, and having time to shine at some points. Ron Broder is one of the finest bassist the genre ever had. On the other hand, Mark Edelmann gives easily his best and most diverse performance on the drum kit, something especially noticeable on the songs About Life
The band is so confident at this point of their career that they decided to do an excellent, darker and twisted cover of the classic I Want You (She’s so Heavy)
from The Beatles to close the album. While this song deserves a special mention for the unusual approach taken on such a classic track, every one on the album is amazing on its own and must be heard with the greatest of the enthusiasms.
is a landmark on the genre. Coroner proves to be one of the best band Thrash has ever seen, and this is the peak of their rich discography, gathering all the positives of their previous releases and adding more focus on the songwriting, as well as progressive elements. The result is one of the finest Thrash Metal albums ever released, and one that those who hear it thouroughly, will sure never forget.