EXCITER - Thrash Speed Burn
Throwback review!!! Release date February 2/2008 (Massacre Records)
Review originally published in Bravewords & Bloody Knuckles (BW&BK) Issue #112
Seems that Exciter is doomed to never attain the same ear-splitting sound they achieved on their magnificent Heavy Metal Maniac debut some 26 years ago. Thrash Speed Burn continues the trend, the all important rhythm guitar buried too far down in a muddied mix. Luckily though, come solo time, John Ricci's guitar is moved front and centre. The veteran once again proves that he is one of the very best soloists in metal, his six-string quakes being truly blistering and head-shakingly over-the-top.
From a songwriting perspective there are many classic Exciter rippers present, harried punkified speed at its best. However, there are equal numbers of standard cuts as well, relying too heavily on hackneyed metal themes and team shout backing vocals. New lead throat Kenny Winter proves to be a slight improvement over the Halfordian yelp of Jacques Belanger, but doesn't meet the hysterical banshee howl of original vocalist Dan Bheeler.
So, some mixed messages sent here, but the bottom line is that the metal world is a better place with these Canuck legends still churning out new gobs of metal mayhem. Some song editing making this an EP would have resulted in a barn burner though.
Update: Damn right the metal world is a better place with an active Exciter in it! Too bad Ricci is absent from the current incarnation though, casting a large shadow on what should have been an extended celebration of the reconvening of the original Exciter.
That said, re-listening to Thrash Speed Burn now, I gotta say that I was a tad hard on the lads. There are more strong tracks than weak ones here and it is definitely head-crushingly heavy ... but truth be told, I was never really sold on Winter's vocals within the ranks. Overall, I'd push the mark up slightly in retrospect. (7.5)