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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Exciter - 1984 Violence And Force
Exciter - 1984 Violence And Force

ARTIST: Exciter
ALBUM: Violence And Force
LABEL: Music For Nations (UK), Megaforce (USA), Banzai (Canada)
SERIAL: MFN-17, MRI 569, BRC1903
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 1999, SPV, SPV 076-18452 CD, 2004, Megaforce, MEGA1994


LINEUP: Dan Beehler - vocals, drums * John Ricci - guitars * Allan Johnson - bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Oblivion * 02 Violence & Force * 03 Scream In The Night * 04 Pounding Metal * 05 Evil Sinner * 06 Destructor * 07 Sword Of Darkness * 08 Delivering To The Master * 09 Saxons Of The Fire * 10 War Is Hell


A few years ago I reviewed Exciter's 'Death Machine' which was one of the best metal releases of 2010 and was a great comeback for the Canadian veterans. The band dates all the way back to 1979 when they were known as Hell Razor, before hearing Judas Priest's 'Stained Class' ostensibly and changing their name. As is well known the band were snapped up by the Shrapnel label for one of their 'U.S. Metal' compilations and impressed so much they were awarded a record deal. Their debut 'Heavy Metal Maniac' was on par with anything else released in 1983, meaning Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax etc and pointed at bigger and better things for Exciter. It's an album that hasn't aged in terms of heaviness one jot. A year later and the band was signed by the famous Megaforce label and Rods drummer Carl Canedy was bought in to capture Exciter's innovative brand of ferocious metal. What resulted is an album considered to be the bands best by some, a savage attack which sadly did not lead to greater things for the Ottawa natives.

The Songs
You could hurl every exaggerated description at this album and most of them would apply. Sitting somewhere between thrash and NWOBHM, Exciter's sound was as heavy as the Metallica's of the world, if not as refined. This album had a better production than the debut, reflected in the all out speed metal of the title track. This is mayhem of the highest order, as is the whole album. It's amazing how well this holds up thirty years later. 'Scream In The Night 'continues the thrash, Ricci's riffs technically advanced and a good foil for Beehler's screeching vocals. 'Pounding Metal' is indeed that, the emphasis on the drums, thundering along with surely one of the more definitive choruses in metal history. This is the utter definition of heavy metal itself and these guys were making bands like Priest itself sound like hard rock by comparison. It's more of the same with 'Destructor' and 'Swords Of Darkness', but the six minute 'Delivering To The Master' has an epic quality with big tortured riffs and a slower, grinding pace. 'Saxons Of The Fire' says it all in the title, more crazed thrash with shades of Steve Harris in the bass work. The definitive track for me is the somewhat disturbing 'War is Hell', a song with some of the ugliest riffs and distorted imagery ever captured in metal history. What makes it so effective is the atmosphere it conjures of war really being hell. The sense of hopelessness and misery is overwhelming and if you think I'm joking give it a listen.

In Summary
There was a lot of hope for Exciter after this album and it seemed they were on the brink of breaking the big time, touring alongside Motorhead and Mercyful Fate. The wheels started falling off when Ricci left after 1985's 'Long Live The Loud' however and the classic lineup was decimated. What killed their progress dead was 1986's 'Unveiling The Wicked' though, an album which was more hard rock than thrash, with melodic hooks and passages. This did to them what happened to Raven and Savatage for example. I guess that's what happens when you go from songs like 'I Am The Beast' to 'I Hate School Rules..' The band has continued in various shapes and forms since, but to hear Exciter at their legendary best this will always be the place to start.

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#1 | reyno-roxx on January 28 2013 08:56:10
I remember seeing Exciter battle some horrific sound demons at the show they played at the Royal Standard in Walthamstow back in 84. In the crowd, handing out flyers for their upcoming gig at the old Marquee were Metallica....
#2 | englandashes on January 28 2013 21:52:52
In the early days in the UK, Music For Nations released/distributed lot of good stuff, like Mercyful Fate, Anthrax, Virgin Steele, Loudness, the trouble was with limited funds I never got round to buying this Exciter one, always loved the cover and logo. Although I did buy Unveiling The Wicked, with a dreadful cover art, I sold it some time ago, but thank you for DZ for reminding me of the song 'I Hate School Rules' which appeared on the album, still in two minds was I right to sell it, or should I have kept it just for that tune, not to say it was any good, just reminds me of a classic time, when metal was fun.
#3 | Eric on January 28 2013 22:31:16
Methinks that cover with the black hand coming through the door wouldn't go over that well these days. Just sayin'...
#4 | david on January 29 2013 10:42:39
Dave, i went to that gig with Bernard. In fact i remember the first time i meet you. It was a Wrathchild gig at the Clarendon, Hammersmith and you and Steve where selling copies of White Lighting fanzine.
#5 | reyno-roxx on January 29 2013 18:08:06
Eric, I agree. It caused a few problems at the time, I understand.

David, Wrathchild at the Clarendon! Remember it well. What a great gig that was!
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