New Testament (The End Records)
Canada's EXCITER was originally spawned in the early 80s and was one of the very first bands to take their cue from the fastest and rawest NWOBHM bands (VENOM, RAVEN, MOTORHEAD, IRON MAIDEN etc.) and mutate it into a sound that would only later be called "thrash metal." In fact, the first two EXCITER albums 'Heavy Metal Maniac' and "Violence and Force" are considered by many (myself included) to be key instigators of the first wave of thrash. EXCITER hit the scene about the same time as METALLICA and slightly before bands like ANTHRAX, MEGADETH and SLAYER so it is almost impossible to overstate the impact they had on metal heads of the day (again, myself included). This 'New Testament' of EXCITER is an album I was looking forward to hearing ever since news got out that it was in the works. The album's appeal is that the current lineup (featuring original member John Ricci) has rerecorded tracks from throughout EXCITER's two decade long career, including a handful of tunes from HHM and V&F. It is interesting to note, that in doing so the songs are not just re-hashed and regurgitated, instead EXCITER makes sure that they are infused with the personality of the new lineup. It would be almost impossible for any band, including EXCITER themselves, to redo these songs and have them be superior to the originals, but they come as close to doing so as could be expected. Admittedly Jacques Belanger's voice is considerably more versatile than original vocalist/drummer Dan Beehler's was, but I gotta say I miss that old one-dimensional screech. For oldschool fans, this album is a must. For fans of the re-incarnated neo-thrash metal movement, the album will prove a good history lesson.
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