Thrash Speed Burn
I’m not really sure what made me buy this LP. Was it the attractive title written in exactly the same style as their famous logo, or nostalgia for those times when EXCITER was at the forefront of then just upcoming Thrash / Speed invasion and could compete with SLAYER for the last slot on the bill, or maybe sheer respect for their legendary legacy and hope to see them regaining their past glory one day… I don’t know. But I’ve bought the record anyway and have never regretted it. “Thrash Speed Burn” is EXCITER the way it should have always been. When you hear raw aggressive power breaking out of every single groove of the spinning record, feel the heaviness of this music with all your entrails and are able to tell this guitar sound from the thousand of guitar sounds – well, you know what that means: EXCITER is back! It may sound funny for the band whose career began almost 30 years ago, but this album seems to have “make it or break it” stamp all over it. And I’m really happy to declare that John and friends really “made it” this time, regardless of what the sales figures may tell. Everything here is worked out to perfection, even such insignificant at the first glance thing as the order of songs: the album starts with heavy pounding, fast thrashing killer ‘Mountain Madness’, have close to perfect flow throughout all the album and ends with a bit more melodic than the rest, but just as heavy ‘Rot The Devil King’ which leaves you literally crying for more. Ehh, excuse me, have I just said “flow” about this music? No, it isn’t flowing really, it’s rather crushing ahead like some heavy tank going berserk. But right then enters Charles Fairfield, who produced and engineered this awesome album. Just like a skilled animal trainer, he didn’t try to tame his performers’ wild and savage nature, but rather managed to drive it in the right direction, having kept it under strict control all the time. According to John Ricci, “Thrash Speed Burn” is the band’s first album recorded with the digital production, although despite it’s digital origins this one, just like any other great EXCITER album, should be enjoyed in analogue, on good old vinyl. Especially as Massacre didn’t cheap out on it and pressed “Thrash Speed Burn” on high quality vinyl which sounds marvellously and is really hard to bend. Yeah, just like Metal veteran John Ricci himself! The man, who didn’t bend down under numerous blows of merciless fate and bad luck strikes, survived them all and up to this day is standing strong and faithful to his cause, forging Metal to be proud of. “Thrash Speed Burn” is not just another EXCITER masterpiece, it must be something more for John personally: the statement, the proof, the rehabilitation. Bravo, Mr.Ricci! My main (or should I say “only”?) complaint would be about ‘Evil Omen’, where the same lyrics repeat way too often. Someone may find it hypnotizing, but for me it’s just plain boring. Then John’s solos, which are very special entities as well. At first it may seem that man just can’t play the solo to save his life, but that’s wrong impression. The truth is his solos somehow are more about their sound and feelings in general rather than actual notes played. But what about another one, extremely delicate subject when it comes to EXCITER stuff – the vocals? It was evident that hopeless “New Testament” project was doomed to fail even for the lack of charismatic voice of Dan Beehler alone, so current EXCITER frontman Kenny Winter had not an easy task, or better said challenge in front of him. To his credit, he turned out to be wise enough not to try cloning Dan (hopeless adventure anyway) and his own voice with blood-freezing shrieks fitted the band’s style really well. What style? Well, if you can’t live without classifying and labeling everything left and right, here you are: it’s pure “Metal a-la EXCITER”, will that do? Ask for your share at: www.massacre-records.com.
• EXCITER - Heavy Metal Maniac (Edouard Vergriete)