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Review: Exciter - Heavy Metal Maniac
Heavy Metal Maniac

Label: Shrapnel
Year released: 1983
Duration: 37:59
Tracks: 9
Genre: Thrash Metal


Review online: March 31, 2018
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4.34/5 (86.9%) (29 Votes)

Heavy Metal Maniac is the debut album from legendary Canadian Speed/Thrash band Exciter, one of the cornerstone groups from the Great White North along with the likes of Razor, Anvil and Infernäl Mäjesty. Exciter burst on to the scene, burned white hot for a relatively brief time and faded in and out of the picture over the next couple of decades (and are active with the original lineup again as of this review), but not before releasing three classic albums. Heavy Metal Maniac is essentially a demo the band recorded in their soundman's basement that was brimming with pent-up aggression at not moving forward as fast as they'd hoped (according to quotes from guitarist John Ricci on the band's website). Shrapnel Records' Mike Varney got his hands on a copy, liked what he heard and released it basically "as is", accounting for the raw energy and dubious sound. There are some clumsy edits and the whole thing has a cluttered sound with the instruments and vocals falling over each other. What can't be denied is the amazing energy on tracks like "Heavy Metal Maniac", "Rising of the Dead" and "Cry of the Banshee." Some of the writing isn't as engaging, but these songs show what the band was capable of. John Ricci and Allan Johnson burned up their respective fret boards and drummer/vocalist Dan Beehler pounds the hell out of both his drums and his vocal chords. He uses more of a mid-range bark and only hits the insane high notes that would become his trademark on later albums a few times, notably "Cry of the Banshee" (natch). Even though the production has a dated sound, it is obvious through the murk that Exciter was ready to bring the goods, and bring them they did.

More about Exciter...
Review: Death Machine (reviewed by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein)
Review: Death Machine (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Long Live the Loud (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: New Testament (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Thrash Speed Burn (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Violence & Force (reviewed by MetalMike)
Interview with John Ricci (guitar) on January 3, 2011 (Interviewed by MetalMike)
Interview with drummer and vocalist Dan Beehler and bassist Allan Johnson on December 20, 2014 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with guitarist John Ricci on November 13, 2017 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with guitarist Daniel Dekay on August 4, 2022 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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