Sunday, January 08, 2012

Bëehler-Messages to the Dead

HR Records

Once upon a time when I wore a younger man's clothes and wasn't so gray around the edges I happened upon a double tape of Exciter's first two albums. Given the "interesting" album art and the fact that it was priced rather reasonably for two albums I plucked down my hard earned cash and was given a crash course in Canadian speed/thrash. Obviously Exciter has had a pretty solid career and for the most part I've always found their later work to be enjoyable. So with that said I went into "Messages to the Dead" with high hopes. After all we have two members here of the classic Exciter line-up in Dan Beehler (Vocals/Drums) and Alan Johnson (Bass). They are joined by two guitarists in Sean Brophy and Scott Walsh. First things first. Brophy and Walsh are not John Ricci. Let us be perfectly clear on that. They are not bad. In fact they are pretty solid. But, John Ricci had his own style so for those expecting "Messages to the Dead" to sound like Exciter you might be disappointed. Sure, Dan Beehler sounds in top form and there in no denying those heavy bass riffs from Alan Johnson. But that doesn't make this Exciter. Instead this is classic thrash. In other words this is similar to bands like (early) Death Angel, Slayer, Lääz Rockit, (early) Exodus and other eighties thrash acts. Exciter fans will no doubt like this for what it is-crunchy thrash with the excellent vocals of Dan as icing on the cake. In fact one could even say this is a must-have for Exciter fans simply because it is two thirds of the classic Exciter line-up. Pound for pound this is an album that stacks up to classic thrash albums and really there wasn't a single song I couldn't get into. The only drawback I can see for now is that this is an import and thus rather pricey. I was fortunate enough to have a friend from overseas send me a new copy. While it has gone down in price on Amazon (as of this writing) it is still a bit steep in price. That said it is a worthwhile addition for Exciter fans and thrash freaks in general.


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