EXCITER
"Thrash Speed Burn"

(Blistering)

01. Massacre Mountain
02. Thrash Speed Burn
03. In Mortal Fear
04. Crucifixion
05. Demon's Gate
06. Hangman
07. Evil Omen
08. Betrayal
09. The Punisher
10. Rot The Devil King

RATING: 7/10

Canada's EXCITER are speed metal legends, hands down, and '80s albums like "Violence and Force" and "Heavy Metal Maniac" helped define the genre. It has been eight years and now comes "Thrash Speed Burn", a white-hot thrasher with guitarist John Ricci proudly carrying the torch. Drummer/vocalist Dan Beehler is not along for the ride these days, but really now, get over it. "Thrash Speed Burn" is an album with two distinct "sides" though, keeping it from becoming a blockbuster; it is a good disc nonetheless.

The album's first five songs are absolute face-slashers; openers "Massacre Mountain" and the title track especially will take you back to the kind of METALLICA breakneck riff fusillades that made "Kill 'Em All" such a molten blast of thrash. John Ricci's riffs and soul lacerating solos are heard far too infrequently in today's scene and vocalist Kenny Winter sports a banshee wail dripping with malevolent attitude. The songs speed down the tracks and when those backing-shouted choruses hit the vision is one of a thousand leather 'n' spiked warriors pumping fists in unison. It does not get much hotter than this. Make sure to wear your seatbelt.

Side "two," if you will, loses some of the momentum established by those first five marauders. That is not to say that songs like "Betrayal" and "Evil Omen" are poor efforts; they just approach middling and do not possess the same fire breathing intensity. The sweat will continuing running down your face, but the adrenaline surge you felt during the first assault will have slowed to a steady stream instead of the geyser that had been gushing into air, drenching everyone in sight. As such, what might have been an 8 and or 8.5 score is reduced to a 7, still a very respectable rating for an album with more than a few speed metal anthems from the godfathers of Canadian metal.

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