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Exciter - "Exciter (reissue)" (CD)

Exciter - "Exciter (reissue)" CD cover image

"Exciter (reissue)" track listing:

1. Scream Bloody Murder
2. Back In The Light
3. Ready To Rock
4. O.T.T.
5. I Wanna Be King
6. Enemy Lines
7. Dying To Live
8. Playin' With Fire
9. Eyes In The Sky
10. Termination

Reviewed by on December 6, 2010

"It's largely by-the-numbers metal in the Priest mold, which isn't terrible — but hardly packs the punch of the band's earliest material."

On their self-titled 1988 album (sometimes referred to as "O.T.T." after one of its songs), speed/thrash pioneers Exciter were in the midst of an experimental period, in which they experimented with more melodic songs. A new singer, Rob Malnati was brought on board, and the warp-speed guitars were slowed considerably. The effect was essentially to turn away from their early "Kill 'Em All"-esque sound, and toward something that's undeniably reminiscent of Judas Priest — a little too reminiscent when heard all these years later.

Malnati's shrieks on the opener, "Scream Bloody Murder" are vintage Halford, with a dose of vintage '80s metal misogyny ("scream bloody murder as my love enters you"). It's a kind of dark, evil take on Priest's "Eat Me Alive."

The speedy "Back In The Light" also has a Priest vibe, with Malnati offering up a vocal performance that's reminiscent of Halford's mid-range. The real star on this track — the best one on the album — is guitarist Brian McPhee, whose riffs and solos keep things interesting.

Unfortunately, the album is populated by far too many generic mid-tempo rockers like "Ready To Rock," "I Wanna Be King" and "Dying To Live." It's by-the-numbers '80s metal, with an opening solo and shout-and-respond choruses. The band does far better on the speedier tunes, including "Playin' With Fire," "O.T.T." and especially "Enemy Lines," which recall the rawness of Exciter's earlier material.

The 1995 re-release of the album (and a subsequent 2005 one) feature "Termination," a slow instrumental that, while a decent enough showcase for McPhee and drummer Dan Beehler, doesn't really add much at all to the proceedings.

Malnati would leave Exciter after this album, with Beehler returning to his post as lead vocalist. The band's been through countless changes since then, with only one original member in the current incarnation — and he doesn't play on this album!

Ultimately, other than the curiosity factor of hearing the first of quite a few new voices in Exciter, there's not much other than some solid musicianship to recommend this self-titled album. It's largely by-the-numbers metal in the Priest mold, which isn't terrible — but hardly packs the punch of the band's earliest material.

Highs: "Back In The Light," "Enemy Lines" and "Playin' With Fire."

Lows: A few too many generic mid-tempo rockers like "Ready To Rock."

Bottom line: Exciter's edges are mostly polished off on this 1988 self-titled disc.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)