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Pounding Metal - A Tribute to Exciter Award winner

Pounding Metal
A Tribute to Exciter
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 15 September 2017, 2:41 PM

This was quite the unique album for me to review because I've, somehow, managed to become a thirty four year old Metalhead without ever hearing, or even heard mention, of the band EXCITER, a Canadian trio who apparently may have invented thrash metal.  In addition, with the exception of RAM, I've also never heard of any of the bands that are bringing EXCITER's songs to life. As I have not heard EXCITER's music before, I really have no basis to compare these covers to the original songs.That being said, this is a great compilation disc filled with twelve tracks of eviscerating Thrash. Upon hearing these other bands play, I definitely feel as if I have been missing out on a lot of thrash metal history.  EXCITER's debut came out one month before METALLICA's "Kill "Em All" but obviously doesn't get mentioned in the same light.  This is a shame because, based upon this album, I have to say I enjoy each of these songs more than any songs on METALLICA's debut album.

Opening track, "Cry of the Banshee" is a thrash assault with furious riffs, drumming that never misses a step, and very energetic vocals.  The song is peppered with short but sweet leads and there is a punk rock feel to it, a sort of reckless abandon that works with the chaotic lyrics. RAM's cover, "Beyond the Gates of Doom," is as furious as anything the BIG FOUR ever did and the vocals that constantly switch between a sinister snarl and a high pitched yell keep things exciting. VISIGOTH's "Rising of the Dead" cover sounds like more traditional heavy metal than all out thrash but it rocks pretty well, especially the excellent usage of snare drums.  The melodic middle section with the standout bass is a highlight as well. There isn’t any band on here that does a bad job, nor are there any bad songs, but the highlight for me is GATEKEEPER’s cover of “Victims of Sacrifice.”  This song confirmed that I was going to check out both EXCITER and GATEKEEPR.  The lyrics have that corny early 80’s occult lyrics backed by a heavy, almost doom like, riff that is very sinister.  Things quickly speed up and we are introduced to some groove.  The instrumentation is great and the vocals are a great balance between rough and clean falsetto vocals.  It’s always hard to recommend compilation albums or cover albums.  In this day and age, where music is so readily available from various sources, it just seems it would be better (and easier) to go directly to the source and check out actual albums from the real artists.  However, much like myself, I'm sure there are metal fans out there who need to go back to thrash school and this tribute album is as good a place as any to start—and you might even discover several new bands you enjoy.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Cry of the Banshee (Attacker)
2. Violence and Force (Evil Invaders)
3. Long Live The Loud (Crystal Viper)
4. Death Revenge (Ironsword)
5. Evil Sinner (Ranger)
6. Beyond The Gates of Doom (Ram)
7. Black Witch (Masters of Disguise)
8. Saxons of the Fire (Savage Masters)
9. Stand Up And Fight (October 31)
10. Rise of The Dead (Visigoth)
11. Victims of Sacrifice (Gatekeeper)
12. Feel The Knife (Vulture)
Various Artists (Tributes)
Record Label: Skol Records


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