Friday, March 06, 2009

Review: Exciter

Label: Magnetic Air

Released: January 20, 2009

I didn't pay close attention to Exciter back in the 80s, but looking back, I've wondered why they weren't considered at least in that second tier of speedmetal bands with the likes of Overkill, Testament, etc. They were early adopters of that happy marriage between speed and heaviness...and yet they're so often forgotten. Why?

The answer can be found on their 1986 self-titled album (now re-issued again on Magnetic Air). After flirting with thrash success over the course of four albums, the band decided to change course a bit with Chuck Beehler focusing on drums and Rob Malnati taking over vocal duties. In addition to this personnel shake up, they also took much of the speed (and therefore the excitement) out of their music. Malnati at times fancies himself a cross between metal giants Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford. He isn't as terrible a singer in his own right as he seems in comparison to these two, but his voice just can't carry the load he attempts to put upon it. To boot, the underlying music doesn't help the cause either. At its best, it's derivative Judas Priest pandering. At its worst, well...let's not even go there.

Exciter is now being issued for the fifth time (two of those on Megaforce as OTT), yet isn't essential listening for anyone. For those who missed Exciter the first time around, there are four albums that beg the question, "Why are they forgotten?" Unfortunately, this is the album that answers that question.

Satriani: 4/10
Zappa: 5/10
Dylan: 3/10
Aretha: 3/10
Overall: 3/10

If you're curious about my rating categories, read the description.

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Blogger Metal Mark said...

Actually this was 1988, Unveiling the wicked was 1986. Exciter's debut "Heavy metal maniac" came out in '83 and along with "Kill 'em all" and "Show no mercy" it was an important early thrash album that definitely had some influence on the growing scene. The next two albums were good too. By 1985 they actually had bands like Grim Reaper and Laaz Rockit opening for them. I think Exciter's failure to achieve the same access of other thrash acts was the result of several factors. They were on four different record labels over the course of their first five releaes. It's difficult to be stable or get much label support in that situation. I also think that being from Canada they didn't tour the states as much or get the kind of exposure here as a number of American bands. The thrash market was certainly larger here. Also unlike Slayer and Metallica the music did not progress that much. Those first three albums are good, but all pretty much the same style. Whereas Metallica and Slayer progressed over each of their first three albums. I think Exciter much like Venom and Raven were passed up by bands that they influenced because they did not try hard enough to move ahead. As for this album I think it was a desperate move to become more accessible, but the window of opportunity had already close for them.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Not much else I can add to Mark, but I will say of all the Exciter reissues they could've fought to get out there, this one shouldn't have been it

10:03 PM  

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