Unlike my previous long winded rants that read like overstuffed versions of “War & Peace”, this is less a review of Canadian speed metal band EXCITER’s new album “Death Machine” and more of a tribute to the band itself. You see, unbeknownst to some, EXCITER is a pioneer and founding father of the speed metal sub-genre movement, as well as being influential in the North American thrash movement in the early 1980’s. It’s a salute to their pioneering spirit, their ability to break new creative ground and help forge new sonic paths, their tenacity, longevity and focus on staying true. This is a tribute to their pummeling musical legacy. This is EXCITER.
Exciter got their early start way back in 1978 originally as the band Hell Razor. Hailing from Ottawa, Ontario Canada they came barrelassing out of the woodwork laying down a new brand of sonic mayhem the likes of which the world had barely seen. “Having sold nearly 2.3 million units in the USA and racked up total sales of 10 million units worldwide they are widely considered to be one of the first speed metal bands on the planet and a seminal influence in thrash.”
Sure they’ve had more members over the years than you can count on Hindu god Durga’s many hands (14 to be exact, but who’s counting?... band members, not arms). And they circulated through the band faster than the revolving door at Macy’s the week before Christmas. But to the band’s credit, they can brag that they’ve toured with everyone from fellow Canuck metal heads Anvil to RATM to Flotsam and Jetsam to Motorhead to Manowar to Anthrax to Accept to Megadeth to Mercyful Fate to Steel Attack and played every Eurometalfest from the Tradate Iron Fest in Italy to Bang Your Head!!! in Balingen and Keep It True VI in Lauda-Königshofen, Germany to Metalcamp in Tolmin, Slovenia and the Atarfe Vega Rock Festival in Granada, Spain plus a few more stops in between on their home turf and south of the border. Not many bands can say that, especially in one breath.
Exciter has cranked out no less than 11 albums with somewhat varying approaches and feels between 1983 and 2010 as well as a live album, a compilation album and an EP and have been on no less than 7 labels including Megaforce and Shrapnel. In that time, they’ve “garnered numerous positive reviews from many Euro fanzines”. At one point in their long career, they even worked with Motörhead producer Guy Bidmead.
The new album? ELECTRIC!... with all the intensity you’d expect from a first class speed/thrash record. It delivers nine head bashing tracks of pure unadulterated mayhem. Veteran Exciter Producer Manfred Leidecker was behind the helm once again and steered the band through their trademark grinding rhythms at a crackling pace that bespeaks the band's name as “one of the most classic speed metal bands ever”. Lyrically the theme of the album addresses “sadistic unforgiving torture and the demented individuals who deliver such horrific pain and suffering onto others.” OK!... anybody up for a rousing game of Rumoli?
Of note, the title track DEATH MACHINE pays homage to and momentarily smacks of Judas Priest’s “Rapid Fire” and POWER AND DOMINATION has a driving, knuckle dragging beast of a head banging Accept feel to it. If shrill, screaming, guttural Orc-like vocals, great musicianship, obsessive bloodied chainsaw guitar tones, tight pummeling instrumentation run amok at a breakneck, racehorse pace riddled with rip snare solos galore is what flicks your Bic, then you’ve come to the right place. Exciter isn’t really breaking any new ground here musically, but what they do within the framework of their sound they do well. Any speed metal fan worthy of their stripes should have more than one Exciter album in his or her collection, including this one.
EXCITER (currently)is transplanted Brooklyn, New York native Kenny "Metal Mouth" Winter on vocals, mastermind and founding member John Ricci on guitars, Robert "Clammy" Cohen on bass and Richard "Rik" Charron on drums.