Noise Records is again alive and kicking and has recently released a large part of its extensive catalogue with many now-classical bands/albums. One of those legendary bands that – on Celtic Frost’s Tom G. Warrior’s recommendation – was picked up by Noise at the time was Coroner. These founders of technical thrash/death metal obviously don’t need an introduction. With both the audience and fellow musicians, the Swiss trio is one of the most respected bands. Their brilliant tunes remain unmatched and decades later still have the same impact. I don’t know how or why, but Noise/BMG seems to have skipped Coroner in their reissuing campaign. Fortunately, Century Media has taken the initiative to at least make the first three albums of this legend available again, both on CD and on vinyl.
Thanks to Tom Warrior's involvement on the legendary second demo, 'Cult Of Death', and the fact that guitarist Tommy and drummer Marky travelled with Celtic Frost in the US as technicians, Coroner had already enjoyed a certain amount of publicity. Especially that demo showed a progressive, innovative and highly talented band, and the combination of extreme thrash/death metal and traditional heavy metal the way Coroner played it was unknown for that time. The band was not only noticed because of their unique sound and style, but also because of their technical skills, which even amazed many fellow musicians.
With such a strong and promising start, the success of the first LP, 'R.I.P.', which appeared in June 1987 was somewhat to be expected. The album hit like the proverbial bomb and ended high in the charts. More than thirty years later, the album is – in my opinion – still a classic example of technical thrash/death metal and the proof that technicality does not have to go at the expense of spontaneity and power; a problem that we often see with many technical bands nowadays, and to be honest, something which in my opinion was also the case on the last two Coroner albums. The first three albums, and especially 'R.I.P.', however, are the perfect combination of raw power and sophisticated technique and genius.
The second album 'Punishment For Decadence' was a logical sequel to the debut. 'R.I.P.' opened many doors for the band. A professional video clip was made for the song 'Masked Jackal' and the band got the chance to share the stage with Motörhead, which obviously gave them a lot of exposure. Coroner was now a well-established name in the scene and could count on loving responses from both the fans and the media. Especially with the media Coroner was seen as a technically perfect band. By the way, this reissue appears with the original cover artwork that was initially rejected by Noise at the time and only appeared on the original LP release.
The third album 'No More Color' was more or less a small masterpiece. Thanks to the involvement of the now-legendary producer Scott Burns, the album had a better sound and the whole came better into its own than before. Musically, the album was "typical" Coroner, but showed a slightly more simple approach, especially for Coroner-standards. The song structures were less complex and the emphasis was more on the riffs than on technique. In that respect 'No More Color' is one of the most catchy albums of the band.
Unfortunately this series doesn’t contain any extras and the track lists are identical to the original versions. I also don’t know what the booklets look like, because we only received the digital promo. As far as the sound goes, I honestly don’t hear that many differences with the originals, although these re-masters do sound somewhat polished. Fortunately that has not been at the expense of the rawness and the charm of the original recordings. All in all a great initiative from Century Media to bring an important piece of metal history under the attention again. Given the "lack" of extras and the fact that the original albums were also in a decent shape sound-wise, these reissue are especially interesting for those who do not own the original albums.