DB HOF NO. 77
The making of Coroner’s “No more Color”
The story of the creation of Coroner’s No More Color is one absent of any of the hardship, debauchery and/or numerous lineup changes that have plagued many of the albums previously anointed official badass status in our esteemed Hall. This isn’t the story of a band having a killer piece of metal history emerge from a well of chaos and uncertainty. It’s simply the tale of three dudes from Zurich with a deep admiration for thrash metal, an open ear for other styles and genres of music, a penchant for being able to combine their many musical loves, and a love of doing just that. There may be an undercurrent of perseverance to Coroner’s story, one brought about by the trials and tribulations involved in attempting to make a name for one’s band in the pre-Internet age, especially when hailing from a country with as (then, anyway) limited a metallic pedigree as Switzerland, but that’s about all the drama 1989’s No More Color can muster. You might be able to kick-start a rousing messageboard debate about whether or not No More Color—or its predecessor, Punishment for Decadence—is the Hall of Fame-worthy work, but that’s not really the stuff battle royales are made of. It’s all very reserved; very Swiss, if you will.
The band originally caused a small stir as a result of their networking prowess three years earlier. Basically, while roadie-ing for Celtic Frost on their “Tragic Serenades” tour, the Coroner dudes would talk up anyone who would listen about their Death Cult demo (on which Tom Warrior did guest vocals). Coming off the underground success of Punishment for Decadence, the trio of Markus “Marquis Marky” Edelmann, Ron “Ron Royce” Broder and Tommy “Tommy T. Baron” Vetterli retired to their Zurich home base to painstakingly pour over the minutiae that would eventually comprise the forward-thinking No More Color. The sinister shuffle of “Die by My Hand,” the classically inspired precision of “D.O.A.,” the scalar runs and Middle East-meets-Haight-Ashbury groove present on “Mistress of Deception,” the eerie epic-ness of “Last Entertainment” and the angular post-punk rumble of “Read My Scars” were amongst the album’s many highlights. The output was a collective work that retained the unhinged nature of thrash, but refined it with appropriate smatterings of dissonant chords, flashy guitar shred, baroque melodic layers and a progressive, far-reaching psych-jazz undercurrent that confused and alienated those who enjoyed their metal raw, rare and bloody, while clicking with those already searching for more from their thrash to the tune of tens of thousands of copies sold.
After two more albums, the trio split up without much fanfare in 1996. However, Coroner have since caved to the demand of both the fans who rabidly and originally worshipped their output and those posthumous discoverers who can hear the steps they were making in advancing thrash metal 20+ years ago. This year, Coroner will reconvene to perform at France’s Hellfest, the U.K.’s Bloodstock Open Air Festival and the Maryland Deathfest. As the world prepares to celebrate the return of one of thrash metal’s quirkiest innovators, Decibel’s Hall of Fame celebrates the band’s crowning achievement with our latest induction.
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