Review by Daniel for Exciter - Long Live the Loud (1985) Review by Daniel for Exciter - Long Live the Loud (1985)

Daniel Daniel / April 13, 2019 / 0

Up until 1985, the global speed metal battalion had unquestionably been fronted by Canadian trio Exciter with their first couple of albums being the most popular releases for the subgenre over the two year period since they virtually created the sound. 1984’s “Violence & Force” album had been a commercial disappointment for the band though after they'd gotten off to a rollicking start with 1983’s well respected “Heavy Metal Maniac” record. The band had parted ways with Mike Varney’s Shrapnel Records & signed with UK label Megaforce Records but despite this positive change fans failed to connect as strongly with Exciter’s sophomore effort. Personally, I didn’t think there was a lot between the two albums but the cleaner production job on “Violence & Force” probably didn’t suit Exciter as nicely.

Well Exciter’s UK distributor Music For Nations would step up to become the primary label behind 1985’s “Long Live The Loud” record with the band flying to London to record at Britannia Row Studios in February 1985. And the label would also provide Exciter with a name producer in Englishman Guy Bidmead who had made a name for himself engineering more accessible & classic mid-70’s albums like the artsy rock of Brian Eno’s “Another Green World”, the symphonic prog rock of Camel’s “Moonmadness” & the roots reggae of Bunny Wailer’s “Blackheart Man” & Bob Marley & the Wailers “Exodus”. Not exactly a metal heritage there but it’s certainly an impressive resume nonetheless. And Guy clearly possessed a good understanding of Exciter’s sound because the resulting production is not only well suited to the dirtier, grimier style of high velocity metal that Exciter had built their reputation on but also possesses good clarity & definition for all of the instruments. It’s interesting that bass player Allan Johnson’s sound is as close to Lemmy Killmeister’s jangly steam train as we’ve heard from him to date & when you combine this with a performance that seems to have been cut from exactly the same mould as Motorhead’s classic material it gives the listener the distinct feeling that this is almost a tribute album. I mean Motorhead have always been a huge influence on Exciter along with Black Sabbath & Judas Priest but perhaps never quite so obviously as we hear on “Long Live The Loud”. The Sabbath influence is still quite noticeable though. Especially on the ten-minute epic closing track “Wake Up Screaming” which doesn’t try to hide its source of inspiration. The Priest influence is possibly a little more subtle this time as its overwhelmed by the fast-paced Motorhead one.

That’s not to say that this is a total speed-fest however, because just like the first two Exciter records, “Long Live The Loud” includes just as much traditional heavy metal as it does speed metal. The slower paced tracks are a key ingredient in what makes Exciter albums maintain my interest. There’s nothing terribly sophisticated about the faster numbers. They’re just fun drinking anthems. So it’s important to break them up with a variety of alternate material like the more than decent “Born To Die” which was clearly a take on Brian Johnson-era AC/DC. It’s worth noting that many people seem to suggest that there’s a strong power metal component to “Long Live The Loud” with references to Manowar being a common observation but this isn’t accurate at all. I feel that those people are simply being swayed by the Manowar plagiarism that adorns the cover & the epic nature of the intro track. There’s really no other reference to power metal included here.

The musicianship on display maintains the improvement we noticed on “Violence & Force” with Dan Beehler’s rock-solid drumming once again seeming to have found its niche. It’s worth mentioning that Dan’s vocals have never sounded quite this incisive either. As was the case on the earlier Exciter albums, his shrieking high-pitched delivery flirts with the concept of going completely out of control but never quite takes the final leap but I think this is his best performance to date. He seems more comfortable in his own skin.

When you examine the tracklisting holistically there are no real blemishes to mention here. Both “Heavy Metal Maniac” & “Violence & Force” included a couple of obvious filler tracks but this time Exciter have managed to overcome that issue & it results in their most consistent release to date. In fact, I’d even suggest that this might have been the most consistent speed metal release that was available on the market at the time & I consider it to be a step up for the band despite the tracklisting often appearing to be a succession of tributes to Exciter’s influences. But this has always been a characteristic of their sound & I’ve long since accepted it now. These days I just look to bang my head to their records with a knowing grin on my face & try not to overthink things. After all, speed metal isn’t intended for in-depth analysis. It’s meant for short-term enjoyment in the spirit of youthful silliness & reminds one of a simpler time when all we needed to worry about was looking cool & having a laugh.

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