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Live Reviews : Coroner, Contrive, Killrazer and Hellbringer @ The Hi-Fi, Melbourne 05/06/2014

By on June 10, 2014

Nobody would have believed that in the opening years of the 21st Century that thrash demigods Coroner had not, to date, toured Australia. However a date with destiny was marked, and at last, long-awaiting fans would have the chance to experience their unique sound in the live setting.  On June 5 2014, I was privileged enough to witness the Melbourne leg of the tour at the sonically excellent Hi-Fi in Melbourne.


Coroner Australian Tour 2014

I must apologise, for due to circumstances beyond my control, I was unable to witness local support acts Killrazer, Hellbringer and Contrive. I have let the side down.  Not only do local supports need backing, but they deserve it too.  Australia’s home grown metal acts are world class and things are only getting better.  I can, however, tell you that each of these three bands is worth investigating. Fans of tight, guillotine-execution blackened thrash metal will absolutely dig Hellbringer. They are set to tour Denmark and Germany throughout July, and it is not hard to see how they are commanding international attention with their blistering sound.

Killrazer’s sound rollicks, rolls and at times chugs along like a coal train bound for port; its cargo at the ready to destroy our one and only home that little bit more.  Then of course there is Contrive, whom I am deeply disappointed to have not seen this night. Rather famously, on the drums with Contrive is none other than the voice of heavy metal in Australia: one Andrew Haug.  If you have not experienced their seminal album The Internal Dialogue, you are as criminally remiss as I (for not arriving earlier).

Arriving just prior to a brief sound check, the Hi-Fi atmosphere could have provided enough charge to supply what is the busiest light rail corridor on the planet (no need for any more coal then!). Packed, but not over-full, just the way I likes it. With my limited eyesight I could even spot the odd Coroner Tshirt that looked old and faded enough to suggest that it was not picked fresh as an August osteospermum from the merch stall.

For those who are new to this established and very well seasoned force in thrash metal, Coroner hail from the land of snow, Saint Bernards, tax havens, elegantly made designer time pieces and no fun at all: Switzerland. Their sound can best be described as “off-beat Sepultura-like”, though obviously there is more to it than that. Coroner employ elements of progressive and even jazz so as to enrich their sound. Interestingly, the band is a three-piece, which is virtually unheard of within the realm of thrash metal. It is a shame that new material is unlikely in the future.

Coroner set off proceedings in undeniably authoritative fashion; opening with “Golden Cashmere Sleeper (part 1). Resisting the urge to mosh without observation (a very tall task indeed), it was abundantly clear that all three members comprise a truly watertight unit. I was particularly taken aback by the proficiency of Marky Ebelmann’s work behind the kit.

“Internal Conflicts”, one of the finest moments from 1993’s Grin record, followed. The front row beckoned, however the executive decision was made to mosh and observe in plenty of space off to the stage’s periphery.  A packed house is always a pleasure to behold. Bassist/vocalist Ron Royce holding the audience in his hand like silly putty; resistance proving ultimately futile with Coroner belting out all the classics, such as “Status: Still Thinking” and the title track to Grin “(Nails Hurt)”.

A three-song encore, capped off emphatically with the highly volatile “Die By My Hand”, set the capacity crowd wild through the Swiss Alps, with the left hand side being especially enthusiastic in showing well deserved appreciation. It is difficult to believe that this tour marks Coroner’s first to our shores, and one suspects it might be the last. The set flew by in a flash, which, of course, can only mean one thing.  This is a live force to be reckoned with, hence if you are set to see Coroner live in your city, be prepared for the onslaught.