CORONER — Grin (review)

CORONER — Grin album cover Album · 1993 · Groove Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
"Grin" is the 5th full-length studio album by Swiss thrash metal act Coroner. The album was released through Noise Records in September 1993. It´s the successor to "Mental Vortex" from 1991. "Grin" is generally an album which divide the waters, because Coroner changed their musical direction quite a bit on this album. The signs were already there on "Mental Vortex (1991)" though, as that album introduced a more cold and clinical sound, as opposed to the more organic sounding first three albums.

"Grin" further explores the colder and more clinical sounding thrash metal style of the predecessor, but adds a repetitive industrial element and generally features less focus on technical thrash metal playing and a little more focus on groove (although Coroner are of course as well playing as ever, and there are still quite a few technical details to be found on the album). "Grin" features a bleak atmosphere, and the Tom Morris produced, Morrisound Studios recorded production, suits the material perfectly. The sound is a bit dry, but it´s both powerful and detailed.

The album opens with the short intro "Dream Path" and then "The Lethargic Age", which to my ears is a pretty bad choice for a first track. "The Lethargic Age" is one of the least powerful and least interesting songs on the album, but once "Internal Conflicts" kicks in, things begin to look a little brighter. The rest of the tracks on the album are a bit up and down in quality and catchiness, but "Grin" is generally a good quality release by Coroner. Other than "Internal Conflicts", I´d mention tracks like "Serpent Moves" and "Paralized, Mesmerized" as some of the standout tracks on the album. The tracks are generally pretty long, most of them ranging from 6 to 8 minutes of playing time, but the new repetitive element of the band´s sound makes this necessary.

As always the musicianship is on a high level. Marky Edelmann is a skilled drummer and he plays some pretty interesting rhythms on the album. Lead vocalist/bassist Ron Broder occasionally sounds a bit more restrained when singing on "Grin", than his more raw vocals on the preceding releases, but his vocals are more powerful on some tracks than on others. Guitarist Tommy Vetterli plays some creative thrash/heavy metal riffs and some absolutely brilliant guitar solos.

So upon conclusion "Grin" isn´t as different sounding from the preceding part of the band´s discography as many fans make it out to be. The overall atmosphere is a bit darker/bleaker and there is an emphasis on groove here not heard on previous releases, but at the end of the day this is still unmistakably the sound of Coroner. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.
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