|Genres||Technical thrash metal|
|Years active||1983–1996, 2010–present|
|Associated acts||Kreator, Celtic Frost, Apollyon Sun|
|Past members||Oliver Amberg
Coroner is a Swiss technical thrash metal band from Zurich. They garnered relatively little attention outside of Europe. Formed in 1983, the band broke up in 1996, but decided to reform 14 years later. The band performed at multiple live venues and festivals around the world in 2011 and 2012, but have said that there will be no new material. Coroner's music combines elements of thrash, progressive rock, jazz, and industrial metal with suitably gruff vocals. With their increasingly complex style of progressive rock-infused thrash, they are often labeled as "the Rush of thrash metal" by music critics. Coroner's sound then progressed and the production became more refined, resulting in the more progressive No More Color, Mental Vortex and Grin albums.
Career and breakup
The Swiss thrash trio Coroner were originally road crew for Celtic Frost. They eventually cut their own songs, 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 to 1993, ending with a greatest hits collection, Coroner, in 1995. Lack of media exposure brought this band to disbanding in 1995 — and to their farewell tour consequent to their self-titled album in January and February 1996.
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 none of them liked to "reheat things, except spaghetti sauce." However, in June 2010, Coroner eventually decided to reunite and play at the next year's installments of Maryland Deathfest, Hellfest Summer Open Air and Bloodstock Open Air. The band was asked if they were planning to write a new album. Guitarist Tommy Vetterli replied, "you know, making a new album is kind of difficult... (Pause) Well, you never know. Maybe after four or five shows we'll get into it and say, 'Hey! Let's do an album!' Nobody knows what's going to happen. We don't have a master plan".
In April 2011, drummer Marky Edelmann was asked why Coroner decided to reunite after their 15 year break up. He replied, "It was a total trip; it was really like a time warp. It was totally strange. Sometimes you could play the songs automatically; it was still somehow programmed. It was really funny; your arms go left and right, and you don't know why. 'Oh, wow, that's why. I have to hit this cymbal right now.' [Laughs] So that was really quite a trip. It makes me feel like being [brought] back [in time] 15 years or more. And I missed playing drums, totally. That was also something I'm very happy about now — to just play drums." Marky also stated that a new Coroner album is not the cards right now, but he also stated that the band could reissue their back catalog.
In June 2011, Vetterli told RadioMetal.com that Coroner has been recording shows for a future live album and also plan to release a career spanning DVD in the future. Asked about new material, he mentioned that they might record one song or two. Tommy also stated that if Coroner makes a new album he will have to "try to convince" Marky and Ron and would not do it without them.
Evolution and style
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.
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.
No More Color was produced by Pete Hinton and the band. 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 unusual time signatures which became their trademark. Ron Royce's bass playing is also worth a mention as having an advanced three-finger technique which enables him to double the rhythm line as well as perform more 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 an altogether 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. The opening track "Die By My Hand" is a classic piece of prog come death metal. It is technical but also brutal.
Mental Vortex continued the evolution 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/technical of No More Color which showed them gravitating towards their opus Grin. The last track "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" is a cover of The Beatles song, and a video was shot of it.
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. The lead guitar still shone on all tracks.
The band appears on Brütal Legend with the song "Skeleton On Your Shoulder".
- "Die By My Hand" (1989)
- "Purple Haze" (1989)
- "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" (1991)
- Death Cult (1986)
- R.I.P. demo (1987)
- Punishment for Decadence (1988)
- Doomsday News - The New Generation of Heavy Metal (1988)
- Doomsday News III - Thrashing East Live (1990, split album)
- No More Color Tour '90 - Live in East Berlin (1990, VHS/Laserdisc)
- "Masked Jackal" (music video)
- "Last Entertainment" (music video)
- "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" (music video)
- Ron Broder (as Ron Royce) – bass, vocals (1985–1996, 2010–present)
- Tommy Vetterli (as Tommy T. Baron) – guitars (ex-Kreator, Clockwork) (1985–1996, 2010–present)
- Marky Edelmann (as Marquis Marky) – drums, lyrics (Apollyon Sun) (1983–1996, 2010–present)
- Pete Attinger – vocals (1983–1984)
- Oliver Amberg – guitars (ex-Celtic Frost) (1983–1985)
- Tommy Ritter – guitars (1983–1984)
- Phil Puzctai – bass (1983–1984)
- Wagner, Jeff (2010). Mean Deviation: Four Decades of Progressive Heavy Metal. Bazillion Points. pp. 129–133. ISBN 978-0-9796163-3-4.
- Encyclopaedia Metallum - Coroner. Retrieved on December 16, 2010.
- It's Official: Coroner To Reunite For Appearance At Next Year's Hellfest. Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved on June 30, 2010.
- Coroner biography at AMG. Allmusic. Retrieved on May 8, 2008.
- Coroner Guitarist On Possibility Of New Studio Album: 'You Never Know'. Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved on July 9, 2010.
- Coroner Drummer Says There Has Been No Talk Of Recording New Studio Album. Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved on April 21, 2011.
- Coroner To Release Retrospective DVD And Live Album. MetalUnderground.com. Retrieved on July 1, 2011.