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Coroner Biography


Coroner was a Swiss technical thrash metal band from Zurich. They garnered relatively little attention outside of Europe. They combined elements of thrash, progressive rock, jazz, and industrial metal with suitably gruff vocals that have put them at times in a death metal camp. They did not completely fall into any of those categories but integrated influences from them while some defined their style. With their increasingly complex style of progressive rock-infused thrash, they are often labeled as "the Rush of thrash metal" by music critics. Coroner were originally the roadcrew for Celtic Frost. They eventually formed their own group, recording their demo Death Cult in 1986 with Tom G. Warrior of Celtic Frost on vocals. Their first full-length album R.I.P., released in 1987, featured bass player Ron Broder on vocals and he assumed the role for the rest of the group's existence. The group released several albums through 1993, ending with a greatest hits collection, Coroner, in 1995. Lack of media exposure brought this band to disbanding in 1994 — and eventually to their farewell tour consequent to their self-titled album. In March 2005, talks of a reunion were in the works, but later retracted. The main reason was that neither Marky, Ron, nor Tommy had the time it would require to do this properly, and also that neither of them liked to "reheat things, except spaghetti sauce". Musically, Coroner evolved from a speed metal band with gothic and classical overtones like Celtic Frost and Bathory into a technical-based band. Coroner's first album, R.I.P., was based on neo-classical lines and was technical and classically influenced. * While somewhat less focused and mature than its successors, Coroner's first full-length album remains essential listening not only for the group's fans, but for all who like their metal to go down fast, slippery and blistering. Coroner virtually reinvented the boundaries of late-Eighties speed metal on R.I.P., with Tommy T. Baron's fluid riffs and leads soaring above the jazz-influenced bedrock of Ron Royce and Marky Marquis' rhythm section. Despite lackluster production values, the album is rich and varied in textures, making excellent use of keyboards and acoustic guitars to create a mood of genuine dread that few bands can match. The kickoff track, "Reborn Through Hate," was an instant fan favorite and a concert mainstay throughout Coroner's career. R.I.P.'s lyrics occasionally leave something to be desired (especially a lyric sheet!), but Marky Marquis would address this flaw on later releases. Without question, this is one of the strongest debut albums any band has ever unleashed--and things would only get better from here. Extra Info: - "Totentanz" by A.M. Siegrist. - "Spiral Dream" by T.G. Warrior. The second album, Punishment For Decadence, saw a progression into a more complex sound with a unison of bass and guitar. Tempo changes interspersed mid-paced sections and the odd slow passage between the faster passages started to emerge. Lyrically, Coroner began to write about themes such as politics and personal introspection. * Released in 1988, Punishment For Decadence found Coroner tightening their musical style, alternating their trademark volleys of speed with a slower, high-impact method of songwriting. The acoustic guitar and keyboard trimmings that graced R.I.P. were largely cast aside for this release, resulting in an album that is less atmospheric, but more focused in its concise delivery. Marky Marquis' lyrics are much improved on this effort, deftly touching on such subjects as broken relationships ("Absorbed"; "Shadow of a Lost Dream"), deceitful politicians ("Masked Jackal"), and addiction ("Skeleton on Your Shoulder"). "Arc-Lite" is an instrumental masterpiece, three minutes and twenty seconds of jaw-dropping musicianship that helped stake Coroner's claim as the most technically proficient band in all of metal. Punishment For Decadence not only dodged the sophomore jinx that befalls so many young metal bands, but for those intelligent enough to be listening, it raised the standard of quality for the entire underground metal scene. Extra Info: - An alternate cover, similar to those on the more recent Coroner albums exists for this album... Apparently the cover art was changed by Noise Records without the consent of the band. - "Purple Haze" was originally the B-Side of the "Masked Jackal" single. The production of their third album, No More Color, by Pete Hinton and the band, was an improvement. Moreover, Coroner's music became more technical on No More Color as the guitar work was characterized by intricate modes and arpeggios, solo work that was chromatically colorful, as well as the de rigueur crunchy chords and speed runs; the drumming went beyond the 4/4 time of Coroner's two previous albums to incorporate odd time signatures which became their trademark. The bass player is also worth a mention as having an advanced three-finger technique which enables him to double the rhythm line as well as perform intricate riffs. Prime examples of this are the opener Die by My Hand with its vicious riffing and the harmonic minor inspired riff in the middle of Mistress of Deception. There is a dark mood on this album that could be classified as death metal yet spans many influences from other metal genres. The closer Last Entertainment is a prescient take on TV. * Coroner's third album in as many years continued the band's rapid evolution in style and offered some much-needed improvement in production values. While hardly their best-produced recording, No More Color has a cleaner, crisper sound quality than its predecessors and contains what was easily the group's finest songwriting up to that point. In their continual quest for perfection, the band further honed their craft, bulking up their sound while continuing to experiment with unusual time signatures and jazz-like chord progressions. It's interesting to note that unlike so many bands who attempt to streamline their songwriting, Coroner is one of the few groups to greatly benefit from the process. "Read My Scars" is an excellent example of this. A textbook lesson in dynamics, the song exhibits breakneck tempo changes and swirling instrumental passages within the confines of a relatively simple (but highly memorable) main riff. As journalist Steffan Chirazi noted at the time, "Coroner display a healthy ability to grab hold of parts that don't really make too much sense as separates and turn them into superb, rolling compositions. This band has every right to be as big as Slayer." Sadly, that level of success would never happen. But Coroner would continue to develop their work and quietly take their place as one of the world's most innovative and underrated bands. Extra Info: All lyrics by Marquis Marky except "Why It Hurts" by Martin Ain (Celtic Frost). The fourth album Mental Vortex improved over No More Color. Continuing with the previous album's technical formula, the speed metal formula was re-integrated into Coroner's sound on this album but with a tone that made it sound not at all like R.I.P. or Punishment for Decadence. There were slower songs but none of the songs on Mental Vortex stayed the same speed for very long. The songs on Mental Vortex ranged from four to eight minutes. Overall, the tone was a shift from the thrash-tech of No More Color which showed them gravitating towards their opus Grin. * The first Coroner album for the Nineties represented a turning point--if not in terms of commercial success, then certainly in the artistic sense. Having fully proven their mettle as outstanding technical musicians, Coroner now presented their audience with a collection of leaner, more riff-oriented compositions. The songs on Mental Vortex manage to retain all the best elements of the band's previous work while also making their music more accessible to a potential larger audience. No small accomplishment, and it's a testament to Coroner's creative prowess that fans not only embraced this progression, but many still consider Vortex to be the best album of the group's career. Unquestionably, the disc features Royce, Baron and Marky at their tightest, a seasoned 3-piece unit functioning as one. The results are striking, not only due to the songs' relative simplicity, but because of the clean, polished sound quality the album boasted. Finally, a Coroner album had received the production and engineering it deserved! With the combined strength of seven original works, plus a bombastic rendition of the Beatles' "I Want You (She's So Heavy)", Mental Vortex proved to be Coroner's finest hour thus far. For fans, the only spot of darkness was to worry if the band could ever top this release. Two years later, the answer to this question would amaze us all... Extra Info: - The 'emergency room' intro on "Divine Step" is from the horror film "Reanimator." - The JFK recording at the end of "Semtex Revolution" was taken from the movie "Moonstruck." - Another sampling was taken from the film "Hellbound: Hellraiser II." Grin saw a much more industrial sound and was a natural progression from Mental Vortex but was different from most of their previous material. It involved a much more reflective guitar riff and underlying bass line. It was slower and more refined in its metal sensibility. Brooding guitar over Royce's bass produced an almost hypnotic trance-like sound on some tracks. * Grin, the last Coroner album of all-new material to be released, was simultaneously the culmination and transformation of everything the band's first four albums had achieved. Fearlessly experimental, challenging, and "heavy" in a way that goes beyond mere sound, Grin has stood the test of time to emerge as Coroner's ultimate statement. It is a recording of astounding musical power, the conjuring of a ferocious, intangible force that the musicians have created and are battling to control. Even the album's more sedate passages ("Dream Path"; "Theme for Silence") seem afflicted with an underlying anger and tension. The music is like a living thing, snaking outward in a patient search to discover itself before moving in for the kill. When a positively vicious-sounding Ron Royce snarls "Nails in my brain, NAILS HURT!" his statement comes off as something more than just another fussy metaller declaring his vague angst; it leaves one with the feeling that the vocalist has tapped into that dark, primal side of himself that all of us possess... and do our best to keep buried. Taken as a unified statement, the songs on Grin would seem to be about just that--the struggle of mankind with his primitive instincts, trying to make sense of the artificial and often brutal society he has fashioned for himself. This is of course a universal concern, one that affects even those not consciously aware of it, and the importance of this can't be overlooked in relation to Grin's impact on the listener. Many of the best albums in rock history are those that take us on an emotional journey while examining the human condition: Dark Side of the Moon, Tommy, OK Computer. Grin is just such an album. That it has never received its due from the music establishment or a wider audience is truly an injustice. But then, for many, confronting what lies within is simply too much to bear. Extra Info: The voice at the beginning of "Internal Conflicts" is sampled from the movie "Aliens", and is the voice of Bill Paxton. Their eponymous album, Coroner, was a greatest hits compilation which also contained some unreleased material. * A bittersweet offering for fans, Coroner's self-titled final album contains selections from the band's five previous releases, interspersed with new material. Despite the fact that the band had already called it quits, Coroner vetoed their record company's idea of a strictly "greatest hits" package to fulfill their recording contract and opted instead to reconvene in the studio one last time. Actually assembled during a series of sessions (sometimes with outside musicians), Coroner offers fans a glimpse into the future that might have been. And considering that the band members were acting out of contractual obligation as much as anything else, the new tracks on the album are especially impressive. Further extending their use of sampled sound effects, "Benway's World" (a nod to William Burroughs' infamous Doctor) and "Snow Crystal" provide eerie atmospherics to the proceedings, not unlike what the band achieved with R.I.P.'s more pedestrian acoustic guitar and keyboard passages. "Gliding Above While Being Below" is an excellent showcase for the six-string skills of Tommy Vetterli (heretofore known as Tommy Baron), as it displays his keen ability to mix melodic pickings with metallic chord progressions. The remainder of the new material combines the sharp production values of Mental Vortex with the snarling compositional style the group employed to such great effect on Grin, but exercised with a more restrained, cerebral feel. It's an exciting and familiar sound: Coroner exploring at the edges of their art, groping for the next stage of their evolution. Let's hope that someday the band will reunite to discover just what that next stage is. Extra Info: The samples from "Gliding Above while Being Below" are from the film "Altered States", circa 1980. Songwriters: Tracks 1, 5, 6, 9, 10, and 13 written by Vetterli, Broder, and Edelmann. Tracks 2, 3, 4, 11, and 15 written by Vetterli and Edelmann. Tracks 7 and 12 written by Vetterli. Track 8 written by Delgado and Gorl. Track 14 written by Lennon and McCartney. Track 16 written by Hendrix. Recording Dates: Track 10 recorded in March '87 Track 13 recorded in May '88 Track 9 recorded in June '89 Tracks 6 and 14 recorded in June '91 Tracks 4 and 8 recorded in April '93 Tracks 2, 3, 7, 11, 12 and 15 recorded in January '95 Tracks 1 and 5 recorded in February '92 Track 16 recorded in September '93 Re-released Tracks: Tracks 4, 6, 9, 10, 13, and 14 have been previously released on earlier Coroner LP's and are represented on this album with the following changes: Track 4 : Shortened from the original version. Track 6 : The original version has a voice intro that is left out here. Track 9 : No difference. Track 10 : The end of the song has been altered. Track 13 : There is a new voice intro at the beginning of the song. Track 14 : No difference. Other musicians: The drums on tracks 2, 3, and 11 were played by Peter Haas. The bass on track 12 was played by Chris Vetterli. Discography: Demos: * Death Cult (1986) * R.I.P. demo (1987) * Punishment for Decadence (1988) Studio albums: * R.I.P. (1987) * Punishment for Decadence (1988) * No More Color (1989) * Mental Vortex (1991) * Grin (1993) Compilations: * Coroner (1995) * The Unknown Unreleased Tracks 1985-95 (1996 (this tape was sold at the end of the Coroner "farewell tour" in Europe). Singles: * "Die By My Hand" (1989) * "Purple Haze" (1989) * "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" (1991) Miscellanea: * Doomsday News III - Thrashing East Live (1990, split) Videos: * No More Color Tour '90 - Live in East Berlin (1990, VHS) * Masked Jackal Music Video Band members: Last known line-up: * Ron Broder – bass, vocals * Marky Edelmann – drums (Apollyon Sun) * Tommy Vetterli – guitars (ex-Kreator, Clockwork) Former: * Oliver Amberg – guitars (ex-Celtic Frost)

Coroner Metal Albums

R.I.P. Thumbnail Image

2003 reissue of the band’s 1987 debut on Noise Records, which set a benchmark for creative thrash and metal talent. 13 tracks.

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