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Review: Exciter - Death Machine
Death Machine

Label: Massacre Records
Year released: 2010
Duration: 40:49
Tracks: 9
Genre: Speed/Thrash

Rating: 3.75/5

Review online: November 23, 2010
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Death Machine

Rated 3.94/5 (78.79%) (33 Votes)

Back when Thrash was known as "Speed" Metal, Canada's Exciter released three ass-kicking albums, Heavy Metal Maniac, Violence and Force and my personal favorite, Long Live the Loud. Relying as much on raw aggression, speed and volume as talent (surely Dan Beehler's singing qualifies as some of the earliest "extreme" vocals), these albums provided the blueprints for many bands to follow. By their fourth album, Unveiling the Wicked, the magic was gone and the lineup changes began. Exciter has recorded, with various original members, several albums over the years, none capturing the metal public's attention. Well, guitarist John Ricci, the lone original member of the band remaining, is back with a new album, Death Machine, and I think he's on to something.

I review a lot of albums that try, with varying degrees of success, to recapture the sounds of the 80s. It apparently took someone who was actually there to do it right. Death Machine would fit easily in the band's canon between Violence and Force and Long Live the Loud, combining the thrashy riffing of the former with some of the melodic sounds of the latter. It is loud, fast and feels as if the songs are going to spin out of control at any moment. Ricci and crew sound like they are genuinely having fun while giving it all they can, almost as if they were a young band again and the clock is ticking on some very limited studio time. The riffs are mean and in your face and the solos are screaming, high pitched aural assaults. Singer Kenny "Metal Mouth" Winter has a David Wayne quality to his voice that really intensifies the 80s feel. Tracks like "Death Machine," the slow, crushing "Power and Domination" and the closer "Skull Breaker," with its added two-minute guitar solo at the end, are highlights. Not every song is a winner, however, and the album starts sounding repetitive after a while, but at 40 minutes, that's not too hard to overlook.

Exciter was never the most accessible of bands, even back in their heyday, and Death Machine isn't going to change that. But if you enjoy old school, 80s "Speed" Metal (a.k.a. Thrash) done right, you need to check out Death Machine. It isn't the greatest album ever released but it captures the sound and feel of the good old days very well.

Other related information on the site
Review: Death Machine (reviewed by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein)
Review: Heavy Metal Maniac (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 drummer and vocalist Dan Beehler and bassist Allan Johnson on December 20, 2014 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with guitarist Daniel Dekay on August 4, 2022 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with guitarist John Ricci on November 13, 2017 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with John Ricci (guitar) on January 3, 2011 (Interviewed by MetalMike)
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