Exciter- Death Machine

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, December 5, 2010

For a band that has been around for over three decades, Canada’s Exciter has gone under many people’s radars. The speed/thrash metal group released some killer albums in the early/mid 80’s but never quite reached the same level of recognition as others that formed around the same time. However, the band has kept going and still puts out new albums on a regular basis. Guitarist John Ricci is the only original member, but along with vocalist Kenny Winter and a new bassist and drummer he has kept Exciter going strong. Their newest full length Death Machine came out a little over a month ago, and while it doesn’t deviate from the band’s established formula it still has some decent riffs and stand out vocals.

If you’ve heard any of the band’s previous albums or are at least familiar with the speed/thrash metal genre, you will realize that the songs on Death Machine follow the standard genre patterns. What this means is that you’ve got plenty of fast paced riffs that have a rough edge to them and some slow moments every once in awhile. There are some cool solos throughout the course of the album and you can tell that the instrumentalists work well together, but by the end the riffs have begun to blend together and it’s a little hard to tell them apart. While some might argue that this is the nature of the genre, I would say that some of Exciter’s earlier efforts had more variation and stood out on a song to song basis. This doesn’t quite happen on Death Machine, and although it may be a decent album don’t expect more than a couple of tracks to really stick with you.

The instrumentals may not grab listeners that much, but Kenny Winter definitely will. Winter has a high pitched shriek that is reminiscent of Udo at times, and there aren’t many singers out there that can hit these pitches without losing energy. Admittedly this style of singing is going to be an acquired taste for those who aren’t too familiar with it, but if you’re like me you’ll be very happy to discover another thrash/speed metal vocalist that actually has a lot of range and doesn’t just stick with the same sound for an entire album. It makes a difference, and may keep some people coming back to Death Machine that wouldn’t have otherwise.

Exciter’s newest effort certainly isn’t bad, but it doesn’t live up to the standards that the band established so many years ago. Kenny Winter is a killer vocalist though, and if the group continues to utilize his high pitched vocal attack and finds ways to make their instrumentals more distinguishable than they could still put out another classic. But at this point they’re back in the middle of the pack and that isn’t quite going to help them stand out.


Full Disclosure: Review copy provided by Massacre Records

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