Coroner has always proved that they were capable of surprising everyone with each of their releases. Also each of their albums is unique, they definitely do not make two similar albums. They were not conservative at all in that sense. Grin
is the last LP of the Swiss trio, released in 1993, a time when Thrash did not reign anymore, but Grunge and Alternative stuff did. This is particularly important to understand the nature of this one, because this is not an album you will expect after listening to their previous outputs.
If No More Color
and Mental Vortex
showed the band at their peak of their abilities and technicality, Grin
shows a somewhat more mature and experimental side, trying new things that even are improper of the genre itself. That is why this is the most unusual Coroner album, and also the only one which could be fitted into another genre. The band discards their impressive twisted riffs and classical influences, in order to add a much more ambiental style, groovier and experimental, including some effects and synths that they had never tried before.
The compositions on Grin
tend to be longer than ever before, with all the songs except for The Letargic Age
and the interludes surpassing the six minutes mark. Gone are the twisted, fast and even shredding riffs of past releases, and are replaced by much more mid-tempo guitar work, for the most part of the album. Grin
presents simpler guitar patterns which are utilized minutely, taking as most advantage as possible from each, repeating sometimes even more than the advisable those lines, like con Caveat (to the coming)
. Thankfully, this is not what prevails, as Tommy Vetterli still delivers an brilliant performance that keeps the listener interested.
On the bright side, the album is quite varied, and has plenty of bright moments, such as the haunting Grin (Nails Hurt)
. Moments of the old Coroner can be caught, where you can point and say, “this is my beloved Coroner”, even if they are not many. As previously mentioned, Vetterli does quite a great job, even if he does not have so much room to shine as on previous releases. Not all the songs have solos and they tend to repeat the riffs many times. Therefore, this being a more atmospherical album, the rhythm part is very important, and the groovy influences are notorious on Ron Broder’s bass playing, which is very solid too, as well as the varied input of Mark Edelmann on drums. All these is enhanced by a very good production work, which gives the album that industrial and groovy feel the band searched for. The songs that showcases the drastic change in Coroner’s sound best is the closer Host
, a track that begins driven by synths, and takes advantage of its strange atmosphere and excellent guitar work.
is not perfect. Almost an hour long, it is Coroner’s longest album, and at times it seems to drag and abuse of certain melodies and patterns, not bad on themselves, but simply overly used. And of course, this is Coroner, and Grin
is certainly not something you would expect from them, less after the masterpiece that was Mental Vortex
. Its groovy feel and industrial influences adopted, perhaps, in order to achieve a wider success could be considered by fans and specialized critics like a “sell out”.
To conclude, Grin
is undoubtedly Coroner’s most atypical album. It marks a depart from the band roots into a rather strange territory for such a talented Thrash Metal band. If you overlook some minor flaws and are able to dig stuff that gets out of the typical Thrash sphere, in order to experiment more with a different sound and trend, then the last LP by the Swiss trio is worth your listen, and will probably satisfy you. That being said, this album marks a step down in terms of musical brilliance and songwriting in comparison to Mental Vortex
, while still being a good way to finish the discography of one of the most talented and original Thrash Metal bands ever.