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CORONER
CORONER
Grin
(Noise Records / BMG)
57:48min

Now that Noise is re-issuing old CORONER stuff (the first three albums have just been re-issued via Century Media for some strange reason - Frank), it is a good moment to revisit this album. So let's hit play. The didgeridoo and tribal drums could be a fine introduction to another of CORONER's magnificent Speed / Thrash albums of the past, but by this time it was in fact opening the doors to a new and noticeably different stage in the band's history. 'Lethargic Age', that follows the intro, does bear some CORONER trademark elements, but it is very far away from what the fans might expect. A monotone, mid-paced piece unlike anything prior. Even the great solo by Tommy T. Baron, as technical as ever, cannot disguise the obvious alteration in musical direction, that predecessor "Mental Vortex" only vaguely pointed to. The next song confirms the change... hypnotic, repetitive musical patterns, the likes which would be better suited for some shamanic trance or whatever. And once again you have an absolutely amazing solo in the middle reminding us this is no less than CORONER dabbling on alternative musical paths, for whatever reason. Still, as the song progresses, you find yourself scratching your head in befuddlement. The next song begins with some clear guitars and children playing... for a while I am reminded of Quorthon's first solo album, that sounded a bit like this and also left me in a bit of a state of shock around the same time as this one (when the world was young). By the end of this song it is more than obvious that the CORONER I've always loved to the point of tattooing their triple skull on my shoulder are gone. And indeed, they did fold right after this album. The industrial song that follows hints at a band trying to move with the times, to find a new, widened audience. And as it was so often the case with beloved bands that were among the best at what they did, jumping into a different pond proved to be unwise. Respectable yes, if done from a change in heart as far as musical taste was concerned (this was seldom the case, usually these bands were after more money), but unwise all the same. 'Grin' has some very good musical moments, it has some prog influences, it has the members of CORONER playing, so it does have a lot going for it. But it's boring, experimental, and light years from the previous albums, which are stellar Metal pieces. I guess they were being influenced by VOIVOD's 'Nothingface' as well as the Groove / Industrial bands that were popular at this time. Not as copycats though... I believe they were trying hard to do something their own; the final few tracks in particular show evidence to this I believe. Still, I'd recommend it only for the fans as the historical swansong of an amazing band, or else to people into alternative stuff outside the spectrum of the technical Thrash Metal CORONER previously did. Find out more at www.facebook.com/coronerband, www.noiserecords.net

Ricardo Campos

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