Many metalheads will at one time or another find their peers in a phase where throwing on anything other than 80s thrash is met with incoherent screaming and territorial ape-like behavior. When a friend is in such a state, it’s futile to try to remind him of the muscular heaviness of Entombed or the folkish traditional metal flair of Ancient Rites. It is however helpful to let your curmudgeonly metal brother rep the right bands if he’s going to be a thrash snob. When a five year old decides he is Batman, rather than beat him over the head with reality, tell the little guy that real heroes save the world by staining the deck. In fact, this is more of a peer parenting guide than a revisit of classic record. Punishment For Decadence is lodged in between 1987′s R.I.P. and 1989′s No More Color. Though the latter takes a more progressive turn, a trend that would continue into the 90s as the shrill whining of purists went unheeded, it’s still widely considered as flawless by thrashers. The more aggressive turn of Punishment was seen as a bit of a respite from the pointy-headed progressive mastery almost all other Coroner albums are known for. Now don’t call the tr00 police but me thinks this album is more enjoyable than its predecessor. Crack a cold one, check out a couple tracks, watch a music video and relive the memories.
“Masked Jackal” – One of the band’s more well-known songs. Of course that’s like being the most peaceful guy at an soccer firm street brawl. Through music videos and Live footage (Live in East Berlin is solid) one can gain a whole new appreciation of the head-spinning wizardry between bass and guitar. I also like that Coroner was able to dabble in sociopolitical lyrics with degenerating into hyperbolic, self-serving bull-hockey. Much respect given.
“Sudden Fall” – This song is nice little microcosm of why Coroner were tightest most technical thrash metal band of the 80s and, even in metal –an art form defined if by nothing else than by one-upsmanship –, still sounds impressive today. And it’s all still aggressive as hell, full of denim-loving thrash energy.
“The New Breed” – For me this has always combined the virtuosity of Florida tech death with the creepy thrash of Release From Agony-era Destruction. “The New Breed” is a good example reverb-laden vocals on top of fantastic riffing and blazing solos.
“Voyage To Eternity” – One of the most fantastic things about early Coroner is that the proto-thrash, motorhead-esque energy hadn’t yet departed and fret-crawling technically was still the cornerstone. They also perfected/originated much of the fills and scales that became Testament‘s MO. Coroner continue to be one of the most unheralded bands in metal history. Thanks however to da intranetz (Thanks, Uncle Al!) they seem to have a small but growling younger following and have gained enough momentum to reform for Wacken 2012. If you like thrash like Wackenians like thrash, make sure this band finds itself a spot on your battle jacket.