Exciter – Death Machine Review

Exciter // Death Machine
Rating: 3.5/5.0 —Old thrashers never die, just take more Geritol
Label: Massacre Records
Websites: hemidata.se/exciter/ | myspace.com/exciterofficial
Release Dates: Out now worldwide!

Stand UP for EXCITER!! Sorry, had to be done. Anywho, Exciter is a band with some serious metal history under their bullet belts. These Canadian metal troopers were there at the birth of thrash metal in the early 80s. In fact, their debut, Heavy Metal Maniacs could be considered the vanguard of said movement since it came out months before Metallica’s and Slayer’s debuts and Germany’s Destruction always cited that album as their inspiration for thrashing like maniacs. Subsequent albums like Violence and Force and Long Live the Loud were also hailed as Angry Metal Masterpieces of the 80s and I was a big fanboy. Sadly, good things never last and Exciter hit some rocky times on later platters and eventually disbanded, rebanded and disbanded yet again, releasing uneven material throughout. However, in 2008 they returned with a new line up (guitarist John Ricci being the only original member) and released the impressive Thrash Speed Burn and now the same line up returns to kick even more ass with Death Machine.

Like the previous album, Death Machine doesn’t fuck around as the berserk title track explodes with Ricci’s classic fuzzed, distorted and static-ridden guitar sound and the manic, hysterical vocal rants of Kenny “Metal Mouth” Winter. This guy sounds like he stepped on a nail AND got kicked in the Jimmy simultaneously and needless to say, his delivery ain’t subtle. This track has everything that made Exciter great once. A frenzied pace, chaotic and ugly guitar and screaming til Tuesday. This is a simple, addictive thrash song that will make you want to lift cars and throw beer bottles. Knowing what side their metal bread is buttered on, Exciter wisely keeps the foot on the throat and songs like “Dungeon Descendants,” “Hellfire,” “Slaughtered in Vain” and especially “Pray for Pain” really recapture the classic Exciter style and fury. Even when they opt to slow down for “Power and Domination” the rawness and heaviness of the delivery keeps the energy and momentum going fullbore (especially aided by the unhinged, testicle rupturing vocals at 2:36 onward).

All the songs here are very simple, direct and as far from progressive as it gets. This is lowbrow, neanderthal thrash metal and it’s mean, messy and battle ready. You may notice I haven’t compared the sound to any other bands as of yet. Well, that’s because Exciter always had a unique style and sound and this really doesn’t remind me of anyone except Exciter. I suppose the more manic tracks could be compared to 3 Inches of Blood due to Kenny’s lunatic screaming, but that would be a stretch and these guys are far better and way cooler. The production is raw and perfect for the music with the guitar tone being particularly spot on and biting. And let’s hear it for the most metal cover of 2010. So wrong, yet so metal.

The only potential stumbling block here may be the previously mentioned wacko vocals. Those that loved the classic Exciter albums will be used to odd vocals (original throat Dan Beehler frequently sounded like a pig being slaughtered) and will likely take it in stride as I did and enjoy the insanity. Others may feel Kenny is WAY over-the-top and too frantic. One thing is for shit sure, the guy can wail and shriek with the best of them.

There will always be a soft spot in my metal heart for these guys and it’s great to see them churn out a metal monster reminiscent of the good old days. If you like thrash or even pure heavy metal with plenty of aggression, this will really hit the mark. Stand UP for, ah fuck it, just check this out.

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