Exciter - _Blood of Tyrants_
(Osmose Productions, 2000)
by: Matthias Noll (
Quite some time before the Metallica shockwave shattered the earth, Canadian metallers Exciter had their classic debut out (_Heavy Metal Maniac_) and together with Venom reigned on the extreme Metal throne. For their first three records they maintained their quality level before the typical line-up roulette started, and the band disappeared after some shitty records. With only one member from the original line-up, and I think it's a bit ironic that it's John Ricci (the original guitarist who was the first to leave), the Canadians have reformed in the late '80s and this is their second record after the reunion. The reborn Exciter have chosen to follow the path of one of their main influences, Judas Priest (one of whose song titles was used for the band's name) much closer than ever before. Gone are the screechy but unique vocals of original drummer/vocalist Dan Beehler and new singer Jacques Belanger, who prefers the high pitch, sounds like Rob Halford's lost brother, with an impressive and powerful vocal range almost identical to the original's performance on Priest songs like "Painkiller" or "Freewheel Burning". Lyrics and songtitles also seem to be taken from ravishing Rob's textbook of what to sing about if you're more metal than metallic metal. Only by inches do Exciter miss the highest mark of metal-cheese on cliche laden tracks like "Rule With an Iron Fist" or "Weapons of Mass Destruction". Think "Faster than a laser bullet, louder than an atom bomb" and you're on the right track. Musically, the old Exciter style is still intact and recognizable, so this is not a total change of direction to direct some of the power metal bucks into Ricci's presumably small wallet. Speedy and powerful, nowhere near intricate riffing, a few breaks and simple song structures, a slower crunching number now and then, and John Ricci's noisy leads. Despite my criticism, I do have the impression that even with the 20% of originality Exciter have to offer nowadays, they are far more sincere and honest than most of the mullet and leather wearing bulk of European power metal revivalists. In comparison to the moustache metal from bands like Sinner or Primal Fear, they sound dirty, rough, unpolished, dedicated and definitely show some muscle even with their mostly unoriginal approach. If Priest's _Painkiller_ record has a top slot on your best album ever list, then you might want to check this record out instead of new or old output from bands like Pegazus, Stormhammer, etc., etc., etc..
(article published 12/8/2000)
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