CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS CORONER JAM?
Individuality is sacred and everything, but I am way fascinated by records that are loved by bajillions. Some are uninspired cop-outs stripped of any challenge to the ear (Metallica’s black album) and others are awesome enough to find a big audience despite their adventurousness (Tool’s Ænima). Others split the difference (Def Leppard’s Hysteria). One face-fucking album that belongs in that second category is the understated, fickle fourth Coroner album, Mental Vortex. Its identity is a bit nebulous — not least of all due to a great but oddball cover of “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” — but, like a slightly foreign language, Vortex thrills the ear once you’ve become fluent in its idioms. The shit jams!
And hey, even if the album fails to go beyond footnote status in the history of metal, there are individual jamz on Mental Vortex that hang with any of your favorites. “Metamorphosis” rides a low-imagination verse riff into a staggeringly beautiful chorus; the solo passage in “Pale Sister” ensures that I’ll never need boner pills; and, well, “Sirens” is PERFECTION thanks to its poignant chorus lyric, masterful solo passage, and collection of no fewer than nine winning riffs. It’s not just a jam, it’s an educational experience on how to craft the perfect metal song. Every band should pirate its ever-climbing tension. And how the intro’s second act (right before vocals enter) presages the aforementioned magical chorus in “Metamorphosis.” An MI class could be taught around its intra- and inter-riff dynamics. I swear if this song talked to me in a bar, I’d roofie it. No remorse.
Pack your shit and get to the first Coroner shows in 16 years this summer at Maryland Deathfest, Hellfest, Bloodstock and a few others.