The Swiss trio of Coroner released their sophomore album, Punishment For Decadence, in 1988 on Noise Records. The original German pressing of the LP (catalog N0119-1) featured the cover presented on the left. In the United States, the “skeleton” cover was used on the LP (catalog FW 44269). As far as I know, all subsequent releases (including all CD releases) use the black skeleton cover. Evidently, Noise Records made this cover change soon after the original German release, without Coroner’s consent. (I like the skeleton cover better anyway.)
Punishment For Decadence is an album of pretty jaw-dropping technical thrash. One has to marvel at the precision and speed of the band. Tommy T. Baron provides the guitar wizardry that is the centerpiece of the album. Dude has some nimble fingers. Bassist Ron Royce keeps up with Baron note-for-note.
Royce also provides the vocals, and to be honest, he pretty much sucks. With his trollish yelps and thick accent the lyrics are all but indecipherable. Maybe it’s a good thing his vocals are buried deep in the mix.
There’s not a lot of variation on Punishment For Decadence, so I rarely find myself listening the album all the way through. I like to cherry pick a track here and there for inclusion on my iPod play list for the gym. Small doses yield the most impact! Pretty much any track gets the job done (like I said, not much variation). Particular faves include Absorbed, Skeleton On Your Shoulder, and Shadow Of A Lost Dream. And let’s not forget the album’s best-known cut, Masked Jackal! These neck-wreckers are some serious groin rattling thrashers! (CD versions add an out-of-place cover of Purple Haze.) My score: B+