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Coronary - Demo Award winner

Coronary
Demo
by Max Elias at 23 June 2019, 12:31 AM

At first, when I put on ‘Firewings’, I thought I was listening to ‘Freewheel Burning’. The intro riffs are very similar, not that that’s a bad thing. And of course with anything in that speed metal style, the drumming is pretty standardized across bands—aggressive, straight-ahead, and full of crashing fills. The guitar work is impressive for a demo, intense and melodic, and very clearly produced. The verse riff is pretty much a reworked ‘Freewheel Burning’, but JUDAS PRIEST are my favorite NWOBHM/classic metal band, so I’m fine with that. The vocals sound more like Dio than they do Halford though, although of course not reaching the mind-bending heights of either of them. His voice just has a timbre that reminds me of Dio’s.

‘Bullet Train’ is high-octane, infectiously catchy—in a headbanging way, not a cheesy way—80s speed metal. Once again, everything is crisp and audible, without any one instrument getting in the way of another. The interaction of lead with the chorus about halfway through is a classic call-and-response moment, and the twin-guitar harmony lead after he sings ‘you know what I’m talkin’ about’ is pure shred-happy magic. The fun doesn’t stop there; the main solo is bombastic and has a lot in common with the more of bands like Heathen, who although being firmly in the thrash camp, often featured surprisingly melodic, classically-influenced guitar acrobatics. And even though it isn’t Ronnie James Dio singing, it’s fairly close, and they didn’t even need a hologram!

The last song (only three songs, which is disappointing, because this is great stuff) is called ‘Mestengo’, which I assume means something in Finnish. The guitar tone here is perfect—full-bodied, with an edge to it, but it straddles the line between crunchy and too gain-y. Less fast than previous tracks, CORONARY shows that they are an still rock just as hard at more laid-back tempos. From the vocals it seems like a ballad, but no one told the guitarist or drummer that, as big classic metal riffs are all the rage here. A fairly short, but well-placed, solo precedes the shift into a consistent palm-muted break. As is the fashion, there is no dramatic fanfare to close the song, just a barrage of sound one minute, and silence the next.

This demo isn’t the freshest take on the genre, but it is undeniably fun to listen to. And if you are going to play NWOBHM, this is the way to do it. There are two ways to succeed playing metal in 2019, because so much has been done already. You can either innovate and do something unexpected, or play an established style so well that no one can object to rehashing old ideas. This belongs in the second category. I can clearly see the influences of Maiden, Dio, Priest, etc., but the riffs are good, melodies are present, and the vocals are the way I like them—range is important, but not as much as power, which is why a lot of speed metal vocalists sound hollow.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Firewings
2. Bullet Train
3. Mestengo
Lineup:
Olli Kärki - Lead Vocals
Aku Kytölä - Guitar/backing Vocals
Jukka Holm - Guitar
Jarkko Aaltonen - Bass
Pate Vuorio - Drums/Backing Vocals
Record Label: Independent
     


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