Coroner, Acid Death, Released Anger, Rex Mundi
Gagarin 205, Athens, Greece
It’s been fifteen years since the mighty Coroner from Switzerland decided to disband, considering themselves done with what they had to give. It’s also been nineteen long years since their first and only performance in Greece, when they came as a support band to Germany’s Rage. Thankfully things were turned that way, so they decided to be reformed and a series of gigs started this year, with a result to finally see them here too, in both the big cities of our country. Words are very poor to describe what our eyes saw and what our eyes heard, because mainly we lived these two gigs with all our senses and the final outcome were people unable to say anything to the one close to them, as the omnipotence of the Swiss force was undeniable and even the ones who weren’t familiar with their material and came to honour a great band of the past, managed to already become fans of them for the rest of their lives.
Rex Mundi opened the show in Gagarin a little after half past seven, and for the next 35 minutes they presented material complex in playing but flexable in listening, as long as one has open mind and trained ears. This time I saw them with their original singer Nikos which lives in the island of Crete and is not available for all gigs the band does. Heavy riffs, great rhythm section and progressive tuned vocal melodies, accompanied by great solos where needed, with the band giving all they had. The sound engineer truly fucked them up, as the guitar sound was very thick and their compositions couldn’t be forwarded to the crowd the way they should. Despite the fact that the fans didn’t understand the cover of ”Beyond Within” by Nevermore because of the aforementioned sound, the band showed that on stage, the songs sound much better, especially tracks like ”Demise Machine”. Hopefully the next time they will have a much better sound, but still they’ve done their piece and they can claim rightfully that they were a part of that big night.
Released Anger is what we simply call old school thrash metal. There can be no further explanation or definition about that, right? Starting enragingly, they left the stage almost 40 minutes after they entered it, around a quarter to eight. The recipe in the genre is as pointful as it can get: relentless riffs, insane solos, speedy bass lines and double-bass frenzy, with a singer so close to Mille Petrozza of Kreator sounding-wise, that it makes things even better. They were giving the idea that they could be playing for about two hours without getting tired and the fact that they caused people to mosh and move around throughout their performance, showed that the mission was accomplished. Highlight of their presence was surely the new track ”Selfish Bastard” where the place was set on fire and was the first time for me to see it live. Though they have played with many great bands, I think that was their peak and most important moment in their history. It’s different to play with Coroner after all. Until the next time, they should keep this gig as a guide for the future.
Acid Death was always a legendary and contradictory band for the Greek fans. Just like Coroner, they had always been different and challenging to their sound, and their three official releases, the EP ”Balance Of Power” (back in ’92) and their two godly albums ”Random’s Manifest” and ”Pieces Of Mankind” in 1998 and 2000 are stuff that everyone loving the word progress, must own. Their sound was unbelievable, and the band couldn’t sound tighter than this. I have seen both Savvas on bass and vocals and Kostas on drums with their other band Kinetic, three times. But this time, they were so enraged that it was like seeing them perform for the first time. Among other stuff, they played ”Flattening Of Emotions” by Death as a homage to the great Chuck Schuldiner and the fans just couldn’t keep than headbanging. Their two new songs show that their upcoming album ”Eidolon” might easily be the best in their career. Savvas apologized for a wound in his back. If you play like that as a wounded man, what would you do in pure shape? I’m very happy I finally saw them and I really wish to see them again as soon as their new album is released. The ones getting their 2011 promo, free distributed, already smile eagerly.
Coroner are aliens. Period. I can’t explain what I saw otherwise. You are missing for a decade and a half. You come to a country that awaits you from when you were still active. And you start with an unreleased song from the ”Coroner” compilation back in ’95, ”Golden Cashmere Sleeper, part 1”. We should have known… We should have been prepared properly for that. We shouldn’t take for granted that we would just see or hear you but FEEL you in the true sense of the word. From the first second the sound has filled the place. Tommy Vetterli’s guitar sounds like three guitarists play together, Marky Edelmann’s beatings could devastate the whole club and Ron Broder’s basslines fill perfectly the parts when he’s not singing (or should i say spitting better) some of the best lyrics written in life. Songs like ”Internal Conflicts” prove that in the best way and the once astonished fans -especially the ones unfamiliar with the first song- suddenly wake up and move around the place. But we never will touch you Coroner, because you are unreachable.
Trying to get our bearings seems useless when straightly and mercilessly, ”Serpent Moves” can show us how a great song in a cd turns into colossal in a gig. The best solo of all times belongs to mr. Vetterli and is included in this song, and I don’t know if I have to be happy or if I have to realize I’m barely awake, because everything seems like a dream. And it’s only the third song. They’re moving, they’re changing. And just on time, the diehards enjoy one of their trademark tracks, ”Masked Jackal” from ”Punishment For Decadence”, their first video clip ever. With a heavy sound on the guitar that leads to the ”Grin” era, even the old stuff sounds challenging and a large mosh pit is created. The band members already show happy and they thank the people for their support. The joy in their faces is clear and they have become one with the fans. So, what follows flows like clear water, with the accuracy of a Swiss clock. Which means that the band doesn’t lose a simple second and the fans don’t lose a single headbanging from that point and on.
A journey to ”No More Color”, the first Coroner album I once encountered, brings back great memories and ”D.O.A” shows how insane and progressive a thrash song can be. On the other hand, ”Status: Still Thinking” shows how simple and majestic a song can be, without need to be under categories and genres. Why do you hate us? Why are you so perfect that we can’t believe it? As soon as it’s about to end, the gigantic riff of ”Metamorphosis” turns the place into a room of epileptic headbanging and the highlight of Tommy’s skills is the games he does with his guitar on that track. We won’t be alive, that’s certain… Fortunately, ”The Lethargic Age” brings us back to reality as long as that’s possible. Because when ”Semtex Revolution” is presented, once again heads go along with the complex riff by Tommy and we’re back to the situation where we don’t know how to act. Coroner definitely serve the musical revolution in a different way, hopefully this time the people will get the message and not leave it pass by.
The great interlude ”Gliding Above While Being Below” (also on the self-titled compilation, officialy unreleased on a studio album) brings us back to Earth for a while and it’s great to see Coroner without words, they seem the same fantastic. But there is not much room for thought as ”Divine Step (Conspectu Mortis)” blows the place up for certain. Songs we grew up with and listening to them with ease, sound like we still didn’t get their status, so many years after their release. How can we explain that they sound new to us and that Coroner drive us back to ’96 in their last tour like not even a day passed since then? What is sin? And who is God? Another trip to ”No More Color” with ”No Need To Be Human” where Coroner prove their alien origin as we said before. As for the fans… Identity’s lost, no need for expression. Just hollow gazes and jaws dropped as an hour has passed by.
Describing all these, it’s needless to even think of stating what happened when they played ”Grin (Nails Hurt)”. A red light covering the place, the band, the fans, and incomprehensive screams follow eight minutes of power exhibition by Coroner. Nails invade our brains, they make them unable to do anything. We don’t understand when Coroner leave the place and return back to play ”Purple Haze” by the greatest guitarist ever, Jimi Hendrix. He would surely be proud to see them playing like that. But they show us without hesitation that business is always business and ”Reborn Through Hate” is the last nail in the coffin of our sanity. Crowd surfings, mosh pits, embraces to close persons and even running with people on shoulders is what the menu includes on the last song of the night. Coroner dominated Athens and promised they would do anything to live this again. My neck is on fire and all I have to do is try and realize what happened because the next day I would see this in Thessaloniki too.
Report: Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras.
Photos: Manos Spanos.