I admit it actually took me a really long time to listen to what Coroner
's last two records had to offer - I've loved the first three Coroner
records ever since I got into thrash metal as a genre (hell, RIP was even one of the first dozen or so I listened to outside of the Big Four), but I always heard that the last two records were never on par with the earlier records. Which i've come to sort of disagree with, because Mental Vortex
is not only one of Coroner
's best records, but still one of the finest thrash metal records you'll find, period.
continues from where No More Color
left off, and what the final song on that record first approached, this record brings into full force. This is still technical, progressively minded thrash, but overall the biggest difference is that on this record, Coroner
worked on the atmosphere more than on previous records, and on using the bass and drums to create more of a groove than on the previous records. (not in the Pantera
way either) It is a somewhat simpler album than previous works, but Coroner
pull it off with the same quality and character that defined the band throughout their entire career, resulting in an album that still manages to be one of the finest thrash records of the genre's final days.
In terms of consistency, this rivals pretty much any other Coroner
record you can name. These songs are pretty impressively written throughout and very meticulously put together; in terms of overall arrangement and structure, the songs flow together very well on here, and none of the songs are poorly written at all. The riffwork is still as impressive in quality as you should expect from Coroner
; they're incredibly well written and highly memorable throughout. The drums and bass create an impressive backing on here; while they don't stand out as much as on an album like No More Color
, they do their job incredibly well throughout. (the drumming, in particular has a more 'swing'-alike sense of rhythm that fits the nature of the songs perfectly)
In addition, the useage of atmospheric sections, particularly in songs like "Son of Lilith
" and the chorus to "Semtex Revolution", among others, is also impressive. They're implemented superbly into these songs without coming off as out of place or poorly segued into. The majority of these songs are more mid-paced than previous Coroner
records, but it works impressively well. The aforementioned "Son of Lilith
", "Divine Step", "Metamorphosis
", and "Pale Sister
" are among the absolute best songs in Coroner
's entire discography, and the rest isn't far behind. Even The Beatles cover at the end of the record is twisted into something that fits into the overall tone and vibe of the rest of the album, something that's also pretty impressive.
The musicianship is absolutely superb. Coroner
were always one of thrash's most talented bands, and Mental Vortex
continues that tradition perfectly. Tommy Vetterli continues to prove why he's one of metal's finest guitarists, and as mention, the rhythm section does a great job at their task throughout. The production is also absolutely fantastic on this record, with every instrument coming off clear in the mix, and overall comes off as very polished without being sterile.
There's not much else to say: Mental Vortex
is an excellent record. It doesn't quite dethrone RIP and No More Color
as my favourite LP from this band, but it is undoubtedly a worth part of any metal fan's collection, period. Highly recommended.